British-style nursery and preschool in Prague celebrates 10 years of tailor-made education

Florentinum British Nursery and Preschool has taken the specific needs of international children in Prague into account for a decade.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 18.04.2024 17:31:00 (updated on 18.04.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Expat families living in Czechia face a conundrum when it comes to schooling for their children. Should they opt for a Czech-language early years education preparing kids for the Czech school system, or should they focus on getting children ready for international schools, where teaching takes place in English?

Expats who don’t expect to stay in Czechia forever, such as those in the country for work, may find this decision especially tough. But a Prague nursery and preschool offers a solution in the form of bilingual early-years education tailored to the specific needs of every child.

Florentinum British Nursery and Preschool, which is celebrating its tenth birthday, combines British and Czech curricula so that children are ready to progress in Czech or international contexts. Set in the accessible, modern Florentinum center just a short walk from Florenc metro stop, it forms part of a thriving international community. A friendly early-years educational environment, steered by Klára Grunsberg, Head of Preschool, emphasizes open dialogue with parents, recognizing that a tailored education is beneficial for all.

British + Czech curricula = Expat opportunity

“There’s a huge difference between English-speaking preschool and a bilingual preschool using two different curricula,” Ms. Grunsberg explains. “The fact that we use the British and Czech curricula means pupils can go on to join international schools or Czech schools.”

Open all year with the option for summer holiday tuition, Florentinum’s adaptable educational model is popular among expats who have made Czechia their home, but who face uncertainty over their future plans. Its Czech learning element provides a solid local grounding, while British-style education creates options for families who may later move to other countries around the world.

“The British curriculum is very adaptable to the Czech curriculum. It’s a convenient combination. At the same time, the British curriculum is popular among expat parents in Prague, because if they travel worldwide, they know they’ll find British-style schools everywhere,” Ms. Grunsberg points out.

Ms. Grunsberg describes how staff have an open dialogue with parents about educational plans. A grounding in both English and Czech allows Florentinum pupils’ education to be tailored from the age of five onwards: “Five is the age when you’re already starting to teach them to read and write. It’s the breaking point for what comes next,” Ms. Grunsberg explains.

“We ask parents how they see their child’s future; whether they plan to send them to a Czech or an international school. If they want to continue in the Czech system, we don’t force the children to do specific English readings that would prepare them for British schools. We teach them the necessary Czech materials instead,” she adds.

These decisions take place in the context of bilingual learning fostering strong language capabilities at the best possible age. “Comenius (ed. a 17th-century Moravian philosopher and pedagogue considered the “Father of Modern Education”) said that you learn languages best until the age of six; a child’s brain is like a sponge at this age,” Ms. Grunsberg says. “We don’t worry about teaching grammar at this point; we teach children to communicate effectively.” 

Each class is led by both a native English and native Czech teacher. Florentinum’s ability to prepare children for their next educational chapter is also aided by strong connections resulting from its 10-year history. Having led early years education for over two decades, Ms. Grunsberg is a familiar face within the Prague school community, bringing extensive knowledge of how to smooth the transition from preschool to primary school.

An inclusive, safe environment

As a certified nursery and preschool, Florentinum’s staff have medical training, along with regular training for educational professionals covering situations such as fire, evacuation, various security procedures and more, ensuring the safety of pupils at all times. Ms. Grunsberg herself is an expert in education for children with special needs. Florentinum’s decade-long success is characterized by an inclusivity and adaptability which expats may struggle to find in many Czech schools.

“Many expats coming to Prague feel that if their child has special needs, there is nothing here for them. We, on the other hand, are flexible for these children, continuously seeking to adjust to accommodate them,” she explains.

“For example, Czech preschools will only use the Czech language, and this can be really difficult for an autistic child who doesn’t have Czech as their native tongue,” she continues. “We think about each child specifically, making an individual program allowing them to continue in education.”

The physical environment is designed to help each individual child enjoy a successful start to education. Four spacious rooms containing multimedia, books, films, music and other learning materials provide everything needed for developing young minds. Cozy “reading cells” for private learning, a sand-and-water table developing creativity, and an introduction to art, singing, dance and play provide a well-rounded educational setting.

The school’s L-shaped garden, meanwhile, provides a safe space for physical education activities outdoors, protected from the sun by tall trees. An outdoor play area features a roof for shade and large skylights to provide copious natural daylight, creating the perfect environment for games and the development of motor skills.

Florentinum is subject to comprehensive security procedures including surveillance monitoring, an intercom and security guard. All doors feature anti-slamming protection, wall edges and corners feature soft covers, mirrors and glassware are unbreakable with blunt edges, and all toys are officially certified for use by children.

Expat education for all

A large majority of the pupils at Florentinum nursery and preschool come from expat families. Major communities include children from Britain, America, the EU, and India. Recent years have seen an increase in children from Ukraine, Russia and Israel, as families fleeing war seek to establish a new life and great education for their child in Prague.

According to Ms. Grunsberg, “apart from children coming from Russia or Ukraine, most of our pupils go on to international schools.” The language similarities shared by those Slavic nationalities with Czech enable more Ukrainian and Russian children to enter the Czech school system.

Testimonials from international families go to show how, as Florentinum celebrates 10 years of education, its recipe works as well as ever. Elizabeth Anderson says “the whole family was positively affected” by her daughter joining the school, while the Morris family cite the school’s use of “the latest technology in a really smart way”. The Oshiro family say that despite their son’s nervousness when moving from Japan, “a month after we enrolled him in Florentinum, he enthusiastically participated in all the activities and programs that the school offered.”

Expat families keen to find out more can arrange a tour at Florentinum by contacting Ms. Grunsberg directly, with parking available on site. A virtual tour is available for those who can’t make it in person. By visiting the nursery and preschool, they’ll discover more about how expertise in early years education and a Czech-British approach create the flexibility, adaptability and care that expat children in Czechia need.

This article was written in cooperation with Florentinum British Nursery & Preschool. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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