Pre-Prep Blog Archive

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Time to Say Goodbye

Published on: Monday, July 2, 2018

It seems fitting to dedicate this week’s blog to those who will be leaving our Pre-Prep family at the end of this week.

My first farewell is to our Year 2 children.The longest serving members of the group have been with us for five years whilst one child has only been with us for one term.It is within this year group we also find the very first members of Pelican Nursery 1 which opened its doors for the first time in February 2014.However regardless of the length of time they have been a member of our community they have all contributed to it in their own unique way.There are children who have been great leaders in inspiring ideas both inside and outside the classroom, children who have shone on the sports field or in the Arts, children who have been hugely helpful to staff with their helpfulness and children who have been great role models for kindness and in their consideration of others.The last few weeks have seen them immersed in rehearsals for the summer show and I cannot fault their commitment to working as a team to make it an incredible performance.Leading the summer show is an honour bestowed upon Year 2 each year as it is in many ways the finale and culmination of their time in Pre-Prep.They all have speaking parts and their time on stage is significantly greater than anyone else’s.This brings a great lesson in responsibility for them as they know the success of the show lies in their hands and will depend on how well they work together.I have been most impressed with the swiftness at which they learned lines, the natural acting talent that lies within many of them and of their confidence in contributing their own ideas for stage direction and choreography.I have no doubt they will make us all proud on Thursday morning.

The end of this week will also mark the end of a journey for many Pre-Prep families and so my second farewell is to them.I have had the pleasure of seeing some of these children grow from ‘bumps’ into the confident, happy children they are today which really is one of the best things about my ‘job’.The relationships we build with the families of the children are so important and I feel proud we do this well.I would like to thank all the families who have come to the end of their Pre-Prep journey for the loyalty, support and friendship they have shown to us over the duration of their child’s time with us.

We also say ‘farewell’ to Miss Reed and Miss Hole.Miss Reed joined the Pre-Prep staff team at the start of summer term 2017 as maternity cover for Mrs Gray.She taught a Reception class for the first term and has taught a Year 2 class for the past 3 terms.She is a brilliant teacher whose company we have enjoyed and whose experience and creativity we have both admired and benefitted from.We will miss her but wish her all good wishes as she begins her new adventures whatever they end up being!Miss Hole completed a student placement in Reception during Michaelmas term 2017 and impressed us so much we asked her to stay and support ratios in Nursery 1 for 2 days a week.We have no doubt she will be a shining light in education in the future and thank her for all she has done.

To each and every one of those to whom we are saying farewell they will each have played a part in our history and will be remembered fondly for all they have contributed which has inevitably helped us grow to be the strong, vibrant and happy place we are today.We hope they won’t be strangers and will come back now and then to let us know about their new adventures.

Magical Moments

Published on: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It is exactly at this point in the year (every year) when you see Pre-Prep staff do celebratory fist-pumps in the air and dances of joy as the children they have been guiding since September suddenly soar with their learning.It is as if the additional dose of vitamin D provided by the sunlight during this summer term help all the ‘wires’ of learning from across the year to connect, clicking everything into place and resulting in the ‘lightbulb’ moments.

I am definitely among those who have ‘fist-pumped’ recently as I have witnessed children writing or heard them read and been left ‘agog’ at how, all of a sudden, they have achieved the next level and, in some cases, beyond.I have also recently spent a significant amount of time analysing data from both formative and summative assessments from across the current academic year to inform the children’s journeys going forward and have been so delighted to see just how far some children have progressed this year.In particular, I enjoy seeing results that show children who may find some of the more formal aspects of learning a challenge having made equivalent progress to their peers who perhaps find these aspects of learning slightly easier.This is the reason I am passionate about building on the principle embedded into the Early Years Curriculum to view every child as unique. It is so important to remember that children working towards age-related expectations may still have made the same amount of progress as those who may be working beyond age-related expectations and, in some cases, may have made even more progress from their initial starting points.This is especially true of some of our ‘summer-born children’ who can be up to 11 months younger than some of their peers.When put into context it is possible that some children were beginning to walk on the day another member of the class was just being born! Similarly it is a delight to see children who are excelling continue to make rapid progress in line with their learning rate.It is so important to remember formative education is not a ‘game’ but a period of time in which children need room to grow, explore and blossom according to what is developmentally right for them.Therefore our ‘fist-pumps’ are celebrating something individual for each child; there may be a big margin in what is being celebrated for each fist-pump but the individual successes hold equal weight.

I think working with children is perhaps is a high-ranking choice of career for job-satisfaction!

Oh To Be Young Again!

Published on: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A comment often bandied about the Pre-Prep staff room, as we watch the children playing on the field is, ‘if only we could remember those carefree days of childhood.” It is such a shame we forget what life was like before life’s experiences moulded us into the people we are today with all the trials and tribulations that form part of our everyday lives. This is why childhood is such a special and magical time which needs to be cherished until every last drop of it has been squeezed out. This is also the reason why when a parent despairs that their child has no sense of urgency I just think ‘lucky child’ and secretly hope the said child continues to not develop such a sense for a while longer.

Last week, when walking through the Year 3 and 4 Rose Garden, I witnessed a wonderful sight that made my heart sing as a Year 4 child left one of the classrooms and cartwheeled her way across the grassed area to deliver a message to a teacher in the opposite room. She did not know that I had seen her, and neither did I want her to know, because in that moment she had simply enjoyed being a child free from any pressures or worries and happy in her own little world. I hope she continues to cartwheel her way through childhood and hopefully into adult life too; I would love to join her but sadly never mastered the art of cartwheels!

Wiz, Wham, Alakazam!

Published on: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

There was immense excitement in assembly this morning as the highly anticipated details of this year’s summer show spectacular were revealed. Over the past few weeks I have dropped a few hints about the story and we have started learning some of the songs, but the most exciting thing is finding out what part you will be playing. This year the story is one of wizards and team work so has appealed greatly to all our Harry Potter fans!

‘Wiz, Wham, Alakazam’ has a captivating and amusing script and illuminates numerous PSHEE topics such as the importance of listening to each other, that everyone has a part to play when working as a team and it’s not always the loudest voice that has the most authority. It also draws out the Fundamental British Values of the rule of law, individual liberty, democracy, respect and tolerance which are so important to nurture in our children.

I can’t wait to get stuck into the production; I am possibly even more excited than the children!

Why is the Sky Blue?

Published on: Monday, May 14, 2018

Things have got off to a ‘whizz-bang’ start in Pre-Prep this week as we join Prep in celebrating all things science! I was never a huge fan of science as a child in school but as a teacher of young children it is one of my favourite things to teach, as seeing discoveries through their eyes and being drawn into their excitement is quite infectious!

The benefits of learning about science for young children are enormous. Firstly, it involves a lot of talking and listening to others and helps develop patience as science results aren’t always instantaneous. Science also helps build the skills of perseverance and problem-solving; children have to think about what could happen and create a hypothesis in their mind. The next step is to try out their idea and they quickly learn that not everything works the first time. Sometimes it all goes wrong and you have to question what went wrong and put it right before starting all over again. Science also develops the skills of researching; it can encourage children to be healthily sceptical about what they are told and to form their own opinion rather than take what they are told for granted. These might seem quite ‘big’ skills but are evident even in Nursery when a child is trying to work out how to get a ball to roll down a length of pipe and land in a desired location or when a child in Year 1 is working out how to make a ball of plasticine float by changing its shape.

To celebrate the week our assembly this morning focused on some amazing famous scientists who all asked lots of questions to puzzle things out. We read a really beautiful picture book story called, ‘On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein’ by Jennifer Berne, which inspired us all to remember, “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” This was followed up with the first of many experiments we are planning to show the children this week which we hope will leave them excited, inspired and filled with a good dose of awe and wonder about the world around them. We hope too, they will ask lots of questions and realise we can all be scientists!

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