St. George's Pre-Prep Department
The Pre-Prep Department is home to children in years one and two. As our school has only recently (September 2011) opened, years one and two are currently combined into a single class, known as Willow Class. However once this class reaches 15 pupils, the year groups will be separated into two classes, each with their own teacher. Many studies show that a mixed age class has many benefits for the children - if you are in any doubt, have a look at the quote from Ofsted further down the page. We teach according to a child's stage (not age) of development, so a mixed age (or vertically grouped) class is not a problem.
Read about a typical day in Willow Class here.
The teaching in Pre-Prep is lively, stimulating and energetic with the children being active, hands-on learners. Children are encouraged from their very first day to become independent learners and to develop correct learning habits which will continue into their senior schools and adult life. This is what Ofsted said about teaching and learning (Sept 2012):
Teacher and adults in both phases are particularly skilled at encouraging tenacity, independence and excellent learning behaviour. They know just how long to talk when introducing activities to children and pupils, and then give them lots of opportunities to practice what they have learned or to use their knowledge to find out and solve problems for themselves. Yet they are always on hand, alert for the need to swiftly put right any misconceptions or to increase the challenge so that pupils can reach the highest expectations of which they are capable. Children and pupils have regular hands on and practical opportunities. Learning is usually active with teachers modelling concepts in lively and understandable ways. For example, pupils developed a strong understanding of the number concepts studied when they turned the assembly hall into a street with sequentially numbered houses where they had to help the police who were on a police investigation. They expertly carried out calculations to get the police from one house to another using addition, subtraction and inverse operations. They were then prepared expertly for recording these number operations without realising they had been doing challenging mathematics.
It is our belief that children must understand the relevance of what they are learning. (We all wonder, I suppose, why we had to learn simultaneous equations at school!) For this reason, we believe that our boys and girls should see their learning in the context of the wider community. We invite visitors into school and take the children to places of interest, which enables children to make the links between what they are learning and life outside the classroom. Children have visited an organic farm, a garden centre, a doctor's surgery, the local market, a Chinese restaurant, the lifeboat station, the beach and the railway station. Visitors to school include the vet, a doctor, RNLI representative, RSPB volunteer, the police, the fire brigade. As always the children are beautifully behaved when they are out and about and we always receive numerous compliments about their behaviour.
Pre-Prep children enjoy a weekly Forest School session one afternoon each week, which links imperceptibly to the aims and objectives of the term's topic. Therefore, far from being a 'long PE session', Forest School incorporates curricular areas such as estimation and measurement, art, language, story and poetry, history, geography and so on....... The lesser known benefits of Forest School include dramatic improvement of the EQ (emotional aspects) such as concentration, motivation, self confidence, teamwork, problem solving, etc. In this way there is a magical synergie and children suddenly make huge leaps in their learning - it's great to see this happening!
Also Pre-Prep children receive weekly French lessons from a French graduate, weekly recorder lessons from a peripatetic music teacher and can access all of the after school clubs and activities. This is certainly popular with our busy parents as it ensures that whilst parents may be working their children are happy and safe.
Mr Kettle the vet explains about carnivores.
Mr Owens RSPB representative explains about bird feathers.