A unique International Primary School in The Hague

Early Years (EY) and Early Years 1 (EY1)

In Early Years we understand the importance of giving your child the best possible start in their learning journey. That starts with children feeling happy and secure which is why at ISH we first focus on providing a warm, happy and welcoming environment for every child.

Our highly skilled and passionate Early Years teaching staff support children to follow their curiosity and imagination through open-ended play experiences in a unique, purpose-built learning environment.

We know that when children make their own decisions and follow their own interests, their confidence grows and the richest learning experiences happen.

Our core beliefs in Early Years at ISH are:

  • We believe children are capable learners
  • We foster an enabling environment
  • We focus on collaborative relationships

 The principles of our approach to learning continues into Early Years 1 (age 5-6) in a year that sees them transition gently into the IPC curriculum.

Find out how we can support your child

Find out more about Learning Support in our Primary school

Supporting children to develop all their languages

What is translanguaging? 

Find out how translanguaging is applied in our school

The Early Years Programme (Age 4 to 5 years)

Our programme is inspired by the student-centered, Reggio Emilia and Montessori approaches, which utilises self-directed and experiential learning, where children learn by doing. As Maria Montessori said “Play is the work of the child”, in other words children learn and grow through play.


Children as capable learners

We believe passionately that young children are strong, capable and resilient. Children are naturally curious and want to experiment, explore and make sense of the world around them. We value previous experiences and the understanding that children bring to the learning process and encourage them to make connections and build on those experiences.

Children come to school with some knowledge, skills and understanding already in place, for example children may come into school with knowledge of print and books such as how to hold a book the right way round, how to turn the pages and tell the story.
Through our interactions with children both individually and in groups, we are able to identify where they are in their understanding and then plan learning opportunities to develop these skills further.  We emphasise the growth of children's inquiry, creativity, curiosity and imagination, while the development of basic skills is also carefully nurtured.

An Enabling Environment
At ISH we are fortunate to have a purpose-built setting, designed to stimulate the children’s curiosity every day. The teaching staff plan for and support rich learning opportunities through play - preparing the space, placing the equipment, responding to the needs and interests of the children in their care every day.

There are four classrooms for your child(ren) to explore, with a shared central space as well as a fantastic outdoor area and a fully fitted indoor EY gym. Each classroom supports an area of learning, for example, the Arctic Room supports mathematical development and block play. Throughout the day, children are able to ‘free flow’, which means that they can move freely through the whole EY setting and make choices and decisions about the places and spaces in which they will learn.
Movement is essential for a small child as it provides a crucial building block for brain development, on which all future learning builds and the indoor / outdoor access all day long really supports that essential physical development.
The ‘free flow’ approach also encourages children to be independent, accessing the resources and materials that they need, choosing things that interest them and connecting with their new friends. 


An example of daily schedule in The Early Years

Every day is different in ISH Early Years but to give you an idea of what your child might experience from when they arrive in the morning until they go home in the afternoon, click on the image here.

What does a day in ISH Early Years look like?

Follow their journey

Early Years One Programme (Age 5 to 6 years)

As children progress to EY1, they continue to have access to free-flow, both within their classroom and across the EY1 setting. Alongside this, they begin the curriculum content of the Primary Years, easing into the IPC units and beyond, at a pace that works for them.


Admissions Procedure

What do I need to apply to ISH?

An easy step-by-step guide to make your application as quick as possible.


Before officially applying you can submit an enquiry to find out if ISH is the place for your family without committing.

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Our Admissions Portal

Apply now and begin your family's journey with ISH


CIS Commendation

"The Early Years team provides a wide range of opportunities in and out of the classroom to enhance intellectual, artistic and athletic skills in a safe, friendly and healthy environment."