Welcome to Little Downsend
We blend an innovative outlook with a warm, caring, family-oriented feel. We care for children from the ages of two to six in our schools in Ashtead, Epsom, and Leatherhead.
Each Little Downsend is led by Vanessa Conlan, who instills the same nurture, innovation, love of life, dynamic energy and high standards in each school, supported by experienced and passionate teachers.
The Little Downsend generation is an inspiration to us all, taking their responsibility to make the world a more sustainable place very seriously. We work in tandem with our children to give them a global perspective, appreciating their place in the world, and providing the impetus to make change for the better.
Each Little Downsend has environmental goals, each achieving RHS Garden Awards for growing their own fruit and vegetables. The Eco-committee is active, vocal and imaginative. Recently during Earth Week, children were encouraged to reflect on environmental challenges and to think of ways to make change and solutions to environmental problems. Bug hotels, wildflower planting, energy conservation, a focus on single use plastics, worm hotels, bird feeders and scavenger hunting – the ideas are endless and enthusiastically implemented!
Alongside this collective approach, we encourage children to have perspective, to think about the bigger picture to find solutions to their own problems. We find this approach develops resilience, flexibility and the ability to cope with change.
Our little people really are a joy to be around. Working with their unique backgrounds, talents and strengths, we put in place a structured and deliberate programme of events, activities, assemblies, visits and online sessions to give children a wide and varied appreciation of diversity and multi-culturalism and a high level of emotional intelligence.
Alongside this, our focus on wellbeing, through initiatives such as Global Be Well Day, an event we celebrate with our global network of Cognita schools, ensures children are able to be mindful and appreciate the importance of resilience for a happy and fulfilled life.
We work with children to develop exceptional communication skills and the confidence to talk to a wide range of people to make their point and to be heard.
There is a natural curiosity that comes with being a 2 – 6 year old, so we work with every ounce of creative energy that our children bring to school. We encourage a questioning mindset, giving children a voice to debate the problems they encounter. We expect them to work together on problems, finding unique solutions as a team. Our recent Thinking Big week encouraged each age group to tackle a sustainability challenge, creating eco-cars for the future, building their own robots and using junk and loose parts to think creatively about how they’d plan, build and make their creations. The week ended with Get Messy day, a chance to let loose and let the creativity run free!
Being part of a global schools group gives us unrivalled access to the latest Ed-Tech developments. During the pandemic, we were commended on the strength of online teaching for even our youngest pupils, using Seesaw and Google Meets to deliver a programme of activities throughout the day. Our little people are true digital natives, so we nurture this safely and in an age-appropriate way, through gamified learning apps, encouraging children to feedback work to teachers using a variety of presentation formats. We are currently developing a partnership with Lego and have taken part in the First Lego League Challenge, through the Institute of Engineering. All Little Downsend children learn to code, using beebots or programmable robots, as well as having access to their own iPad and best-in-class ed-tech apps. In March 2022, Little Downsend was delighted to be invited by Microsoft to join the Incubator Pathway of the Showcase Schools Programme. Read more here.
Our results are outstanding. In a truly remarkable year, we are delighted that our children achieved such remarkable results. In both 2019-20 and 2020-21, our Reception children met or exceeded their Early Learning Goals at rates significantly higher than the National or Surrey averages.
We are proud that in 2021, 25% of children in Reception at Little Downsend exceeded the Early Learning Goal for writing, against a national average of 11%. Click to learn more.
From the age of two, all Little Downsend children benefit from our dedicated, expert specialist teaching. Every week, our children welcome professionals in French, Dance, Forest School, Music, and Sports, immersing themselves in the passion and enthusiasm of the teacher. All Reception and Year One children have swimming lessons in our 25m pool at the main school.
Whether you’re at Little Downsend in Leatherhead, Ashtead or Epsom, each have truly outstanding facilities. Although they each possess their own special character, our focus on ensuring that Downsend children have well-equipped, light, airy classrooms, brimming with interactive activities, all designed for child-centred learning does not waver from one to the next.
Our outdoor spaces are where we surpass ourselves, designed specifically for the needs of children aged 2 to 6, offering soft surfaced areas, zoned play, undercover seating for those inevitable rain showers, quiet spots for relaxing, and a garden for growing our own fruits and vegetables. Each Little Downsend is on the road to earning their Level 5 RHS School Garden Award.