High Elms Manor School

High Elms Lane, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD25 0JX
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Welcome to High Elms Manor School. Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. We aim to give your child the best possible start to his or her future education and adult life.

The children follow a carefully structured programme of education based on the Montessori method. Our approach creates a safe, happy and caring environment in which each child learns and develops at their optimum pace through a variety of activities. Children allowed to learn at their own pace perform better both academically and socially.

Mrs Sheila O’Neill is the Principal of High Elms Manor School, she is a qualified and experienced state teacher. She has a diploma in Fine Arts and has been teaching since 1962.

All the staff responsible for the children are qualified teachers and/or Montessori teachers assisted by qualified personnel. Specialist teachers are engaged for extra curriculum subjects. Welfare helpers assist at the school.

We have policies for ‘equal opportunities’ and ‘children with special needs’.


Principal of High Elms Manor

Within the nursery we have divided age groups into separate areas known as;

The Nest
– Seedlings (1 and 2 years)
A loving and sociable environment is provided using a key worker system. With plenty of language and physical stimulation and the child’s development is enriched, i.e., songs, books, mirrors, mobiles, pull up gym bars. Our policy is to follow the needs of the child.

The Nest Infant Community – Saplings (2 and 3 years)
Specific materials are provided to aid the development of this age group, e.g. eye-hand-control, movement, language. The main aim is to encourage the child to become independent through interaction with the environment: i.e. washing activities, dressing oneself and toilet training.

Little Elms – (3,4 and 5 years)
For the younger children an informal programme is maintained where the child chooses his/her own activities. The child is encouraged to be independent and help prepare and tidy the environment. There are opportunities for creative and imaginative play.


In Little Elms, the child is first made familiar with the environment and shown how to care for it. Gradually he/she is introduced to the Montessori material as he/she is judged ready.

At each session there is an opportunity for storytelling and to join in with singing, rhymes, finger plays or keeping time to music with assorted percussion instruments.

Small groups of children are taken for project work, handwork, cooking, gardening, woodwork, practical life exercises such as dressing and undressing, polishing etc., and demonstrations of the Montessori equipment.

The aim is to introduce basic skills and ensure a sound beginning to literacy and numeracy.


Why choose Montessori?

• Chidren are safe, secure, happy and content
• encouraged towards gradual independence
• learning early social skills and manners
• learning to feed themselves, wash their hands, brush their teeth and dress themselves etc.
• developing co-ordination and motor skills
• encouraged to make choices and put away their chosen activities
• introduced to the Montessori room during their second year to prepare for the next stage


The infant community


The infant community is called 'The Nest' and the learning environment is designed to meet the developmental needs of the 1,2 and 3 year old children. Each child is allocated a Keyworker and that Practioner provides a caring and nurturing response to each childs needs, both physical and psychological.

Even before birth, babies are testing out their limbs, their reflexes and gross motor skills. From 12 months, this joyous exploration of the body’s power progresses from kicking and stretching to being able to use the little fingers as pincers to pick up all kinds of interesting objects.

Control of the hands and feet, self-support of the head, hand-eye coordination and the miracle of crawling all come into play in the first year of life.

 Montessori philosophy is to make sure that in all this activity babies are not being restrained either by their clothing or by furnishings like cribs or playpens. Soft, cotton clothing that enables free range of the limbs is best.

The environment is carefully organised so that the baby is able to move about in its designated areas. Simple wooden toys, mobiles and safe household objects can all honour babies’ needs to reach out for what delights them.

High Elms Manor enjoys a beautiful rural setting within easy reach of major travel links. This combination of tranquility and accessibility makes High Elms Manor one of the best Country House venues in Hertfordshire.

Events take place at High Elms Manor throughout the year.

As a grade 2 listed Georgian residence with 21 acres of park and woodland we are an excellent choice for all kinds of events for exclusive functions, events, parties, business meetings, conferences, Christmas Markets, Wedding Fairs, Art Exhibitions, Craft Fairs wakes and has previously even been used as a film location.

Whatever the occasion you will discover this wonderful Manor House offers a range of possibilities.  We can accommodate your wishes to create your perfect special day.!

There is ample free secure parking and good access to public transport, the M1, A41 and M25.









Nursery Gallery