The first four years of school are spent in the warm and welcoming environment of the Pre-Prep, which is housed in an Edwardian house near to the Prep department. The best of both worlds, the children at Pre-Prep have their own play area, with swings and climbing frames, located just outside their classrooms, but still can enjoy all that the fabulous 90 acre site offers. With ‘Minibeast hunts’ in the forest school, nature walks in the woods or a production of Robin Hood in the Wild Gardens, Pre-Prep children come to love the wonderful outdoor space, and develop an appreciation of the natural world around them.
Within the classroom, our younger children are introduced to a broad and balanced curriculum, always taking into account the age and experience of the child. From early days in Reception to flying the Pre-Prep nest at the end of Year 3, children are supported and encouraged to build a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. We feel our pupils are valued as individuals and encouraged; they are stretched, not stressed, by their tasks, which are carefully designed and structured to help them meet their potential.
Our expert teaching staff are supported by a strong team of teaching assistants, and all are highly experienced with the very specific learning needs of children at the beginning of their school lives.
Many join us from the Montessori Nursery that is run separately from the school, but within the school grounds adjacent to Pre-Prep, but children also join Reception from nurseries across the region. Reception is typically a two form entry, with small numbers in each form. Supported by a Reception teacher and a teaching assistant, happy and purposeful children learn to love coming to school and thrive in this attentive and secure environment.
Starting in the very early days of Reception, there is a clear emphasis on the importance of manners, respect, kindness and thoughtfulness. The highly prized ‘Best Effort Cup’ is awarded to one member of every form each week in Pre-Prep, and can be awarded not just for academic or sporting achievement, but for perhaps demonstrating consideration, kindness or thoughtfulness to those around them.
Whilst small classes are a feature throughout the school, we maintain the important balance between having a class that is small enough for all to enjoy consistent attention and support, and ensuring that classes are big enough to support a range of friendships and spark interesting discussions in lesson time.
Pupils are expected to try all activities, taking risks within our safe and secure setting, relishing the success of firstly being “stuck” and then the joy of discovering something new. Preparation for the Prep department, particularly in Year 3, is carried out not only by shared teachers and facilities, but also through a style of teaching that encourages curiosity and independence across the whole curriculum. Problem solving and exploration of ideas allows children to have confidence in their own ability and also within their peer group so that group work and team building develops as a matter of course.
Overall the whole school prepares for a Senior School education but the Pre-Prep offers an exciting and stimulating preparation for Prep – developing firm foundations in both the academic and emotional well-being of each child.