Our Pedagogy & Programme
CHILDREN COME FIRST NO MATTER WHAT!
Children deserve to have a happy, meaningful and unforgettable childhood.
They have the right to have the best possible life and the best possible education.
We believe children should have the opportunity to experience and explore life. Self sufficient, independent children make lots of unforgettable childhood memories. This enables them to become confident, brave, independent and successful adults, in the future.
Our pedagogical approach is “inquiry & play based ” to:
Support the child to discover him/herself (to be him/herself)
Be independent and happy in his/her own skin
Offer real life experiences to live and learn
Be active, physically and cognitively, learning through thinking, implementing, doing, reflecting, and most importantly inquiring.
WHY this pedagogy?
Children need an environment/atmosphere to feel good and safe ,
Different, varied experiences to get to know themselves and shape who they are
Adults to support them in their development in all areas
Opportunities to grow to be kind, brave, and confident children for their future.
In this century, children often don't have the opportunity to live and learn from their families/relatives as they used to in the close-knit societies and/or nature of past generations. We are here to help parents create this sense of village community to compensate for the lack of nature and freedom in our children’s lives today. We believe that children who have a community such as ours, which creates a range of different experiences in a safe environment and positive atmosphere will naturally become more confident, capable, empathetic and engaged adults who are able to take care of their lives, as they wish.
We do this by considering and organizing everything ahead of time, before acting. All the arrangements are made by constantly researching what’s happening in the lives of the children and adults, also in the business life. We then analyze our findings and adapt them effectively and efficiently by ACTING NOW, before it is too late.
We have a great community of forward thinkers who have combined their talents together to make, for example, the arrangements below.
We have experienced, dedicated and qualified team members:
All of our teachers and team members are responsible for holding themselves accountable to our pedagogy / vision as a school and passionate about bringing that vision to life on a daily basis for our children. To be a happy real child, to become a happy , confident, self sufficient real adult.
We have nice, big schools that feel like homes:
We have warm, child-friendly buildings and spacious gardens. Each of our campuses have approximately 1000 square metres of garden space and Utopya has a 5000 square metres. These spaces have always been a great opportunity for our children to live a natural life that allows them to learn through real life play.
It has been a huge advantage lately, since returning back to school after the mandatory pandemic shutdowns. We have plenty of space for outdoor education with a good teacher to child ratio.
We have a Small Hands/Utopya Culture:
For us, as we mentioned above CHILDREN COME FIRST NO MATTER WHAT. Therefore, Small Hands / Ütopya have principles and policies in place that have been organized with the children in mind and that we feel responsible for implementing into the children’s life and education. We are determined to show up daily in ways that give our children life-long skills.
We are reliable in any and all unexpected situations:
For example, during the mandatory pandemic shutdown, apart from minor technological issues, we were able to quickly develop a Distance Education program that children were able to adapt to. Our school’s culture had already built a strong foundation for our children, one in which they already had the skills necessary, even during challenging times, to adapt due to having fostered consistency in awareness of their surroundings, structure of daily routines and independence in regards to self-feeding, hygienic care and taking responsibility for themselves and their friends. Therefore, we were able to maintain an atmosphere of comfort and confidence to continue fostering their development and joy of childhood. Our parents share and understand the culture we work to create, and worked hand in hand with us to maintain this together from home.
Please check our principles and policy headings that we give our parents who register in our Parents Booklet. Note: We have simply summarized the Content of our Parents Booklet. Please read further details here.
We have an excellent Curriculum and plan our lessons in detail:
Our programme is based on the British EYFS Curriculum with our own additions for Nature Education and Functional English as a Second Language.
Our teachers, using their bonds with the ever-changing children, prepare weekly programmes according to their needs that incorporate all areas of learning/development targets from our curriculum. To assure that we are teaching and adapting to each individual child, we also incorporate our “Focus Child” plan, where we take time to get an in-depth focus on each child with their very specific needs and to organize action plans to be implemented with parents, if necessary.
Our daily schedule prioritizes learning through play:
Outdoor play across all activities and for all areas of learning and development is a big part of our life. We believe “there is not bad weather, only bad clothing.” Our children are outside in most weather conditions except heavy rain, storms, or freezing cold. Due to the pandemic precautions, this year we will have “outdoor classrooms” until December (or until the weather no longer permits). We will only go inside in case of extreme weather conditions that do not allow us to be out during this period.
Please check our daily schedule.
We take pride in our strong relationships and communication with our Parents:
Please see the examples below.
Open door policy: Our parents can come anytime they feel the need to talk with their teachers, manager, and/or our founder. We also set up meetings when something needs to be discussed regarding the child.
Teachers / Parents Meetings: We have five scheduled one-on-one meetings throughout the year where parents are invited into the classrooms and given reports and/or updates on how their child is doing, where they’re at, and to discuss how we can best work together to support them.
All About My Child Meetings : Before school term starts in September we have an “All About My Child” meeting to get to know your child well before we meet them face to face.
Individual “Child Development” meetings: Teachers and Parents meet four times a year. The dates are given in the yearly calendar in the beginning of the year.
Emergency /or Feedback Meetings: When necessary, urgent meetings for sudden changes in a child’s morale, feelings or behaviour are scheduled and/or to communicate and share focus child observations.
Coffee Mornings: We have two coffee mornings.
One is a time to discuss education, pedagogy, parenting or anything else parents would like to discuss with our founder, Leman Çetin.
The other one, which takes place twice a year, is a time for parents to join their children’s classroom for an activity time with their child and their peers.
Link book: Our notebook of daily communication between teachers and parents. During Interactive Distance Education times, each child is given a link that parents and teachers communicate in daily online.
Gatherings: Lantern Festival, Purelli and Sports Festivals, Bayram Family Breakfasts, Christmas Show, Summer Show and Farewell Party
As a Small Hands family, we believe in our vision and seeing our children come to school happy every day tells us we’re moving in the right direction. The biggest gratification for us is hearing our parents say their children miss their teachers and their lives at school. We truly LOVE and feel honored to do what we do, and the children feel this love. Our biggest drive is to continue, even in the hardest situations in the world, to ensure our children feel loved and supported. It is our greatest joy when we feel this love returned.
SPECIAL INVITATION TO COME TO OUR SCHOOL
We invite you to visit us in our gardens, to come see your beautiful campuses and feel the atmosphere we have created. This is the first step in making a big difference in your child's life.