Pre-Prep Blog Archive
Published on: Monday, October 15, 2018
We have recently introduced a ‘Playtime Game of the Week’ in Pre-Prep which has been very well received by the children. Last week saw the introduction of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors Relay’ which proved really popular. It was so lovely to see children across the year groups joining in the fun together, supporting each other and giggling together.
Our children are lucky that they have a wonderful variety of equipment to enhance their playtimes and I am amazed on a daily basis at how innovative they are at incorporating it into their imaginary games. I often spend playtimes observing and wishing I could see the potential of a regular plastic hoop the way a child can; I can probably think of a handful of ways it could be used whereas the children’s ideas seem to be limitless.
Our children are also lucky to be joined twice a week by volunteers from Year 7 who give up their break times to support playtimes in Pre-Prep. I know this is something Year 7 look forward to every year, especially if they have come through Pre-Prep and recall the impact the Pelican Pals had on their play.
I sometimes wonder who enjoys playtimes more: the staff who are introducing some of their favourite playtime games; the Pelican Pals who enjoy the return to their infant days and enjoy using the equipment again or the children whose natural urge is to ‘play’ and in so doing are developing many areas of their learning in so many ways.
Published on: Monday, October 8, 2018
I love teaching Religious Studies and feel lucky that I am able to do so for both Years 1 and 2. The subject lends itself to great story-telling, some fascinating facts, interesting artefacts and (the best bit of all) developing questioning minds. The children are always encouraged to draw upon their own experiences to make the learning meaningful to them as well as to develop empathy and understanding of those who may have different beliefs and ideas. Although most of our curriculum focusses on Christianity, we also explore Judaism and also touch on Hinduism.
This half term Year 2 have been finding out about The Torah and have enjoyed learning about where it is kept, how it is treated and why it is so special to Jewish people. In Year 1 they learned about some of the beliefs and practices of Jewish people and so already have some knowledge about this religion. Currently we are reading some of the stories from the Torah (also found in The Old Testament) and thinking about what God wants people to learn from them. This week we began reading the story of ‘Joseph’ and explored the theme of ‘jealousy’. The lesson began (without explanation of why) with my allowing only the boys to sit on the chairs while the girls had to sit on the floor, which received some looks of ‘outrage’ from the girls although they were too polite to question my instruction. Their despondency was further exacerbated when the boy’s team won the ‘warm-up’ quiz!I asked the girls how they were feeling, to which they replied, “left out”, “sad”, and “cross”. I then let them in on the secret that I had hoped they would feel like this as when we roll all of those feelings into one we find that we are feeling ’jealous’ and I explained this was going to be the theme of today’s story from the Torah. (I am also pleased to report that when I asked if there might be any gentlemen in the room who may give up his chair for a lady, they all proved themselves worthy of the title. One boy, who didn’t need to give up his seat as there were more boys than girls, still did so for brotherly solidarity!)
A Fly on the Wall!
Published on: Monday, October 1, 2018
As Head of Pre-Prep I am fortunate to have opportunities each term to visit all the different classrooms and watch lessons / activities being delivered or facilitated. I literally get to be a ‘fly on the wall’ as I sit and watch all that is happening which is a real treat.When teaching the mind is focussed on the objectives of the lesson and ensuring the children are engaged and productive in their learning, whereas when one is able to be in the ‘audience’ a new perspective is gained.
Last week I observed a Reception maths lesson which turned out to be the highlight of my week.I was so impressed with how ‘at home’ the children were after only 3 weeks into term and how much they already knew!The focus of the lesson was ‘repeating patterns’ and the children were eager to share their previous learning and take it even further by engaging in the many activities on offer both inside and outside the classroom.The ‘edible’ repeating pattern activity involving strawberry laces and Cheerio’s was certainly a favourite!
I spent time watching the class teacher lead the main part of the lesson and was in awe of how she had grasped the attention of every child; they were literally ‘in the palm of her hand’ and some have not long turned 4 years of age!Her ability to make the learning relevant to the children’s experiences and interests was obviously borne out of experience and the same experience was reflected in the very calm, relaxed and secure environment she has created.
I watched the children as they eagerly set about choosing the activities they wanted to try whilst grasping their very own ‘learning sticks’ and was impressed with how they all remained focussed and on-task.It is not unusual at this stage in Reception to find the child who has become distracted along the way as he or she has given into the allure of the dinosaurs they have walked past, but credit must be given to the staff for ensuring the activities on offer were pitched so perfectly that they wanted to get ‘stuck-in’ straightaway.
I spent time with a few of the children asking them what they were doing and could not have been more proud when they confidently told me about the ‘repeating patterns’ they were making.I saw children problem-solve, share their learning with each other, ‘light up’ as they realised their achievements and be independent in how they approached tasks that did not have an adult working directly alongside them.
Reception (staff and children) have definitely made a ‘flying start’ to the new school year and should be really proud of all they are achieving!
Out of the Mouths of Babes!
Published on: Monday, September 17, 2018
A highlight for me and one of my colleagues last week came as we led our first Performance Club hobby of the year. The club has only attracted girls so far and our first ‘production’ at the end of this half term is going to be a ‘bite size’ version of Cinderella.The unveiling of this information was met with much excitement by the girls as they elaborately retold the many versions of the story they have seen and heard, embellishing their retelling with great detail and panache. A slightly awkward moment occurred when one child suddenly realised someone was going to have to pretend to be a boy, for the part of Prince Charming. Although no-one was initially keen, after chatting to them about how acting means you take on the part of all different sorts of people, one very mature girl happily agreed to take the part. However she also declared (much to the amusement of my colleague and me) that if we didn’t have enough people to fill all of the parts, “the teachers will just have to be the ugly sisters!” Oh how we chuckled!
I think I’m going to enjoy Performance Club!
A Flying Start!
Published on: Monday, September 10, 2018
I am so proud of how well our new Reception children have settled into ‘school life’ after only one week.I saw very few tears last week but lots of happy smiling faces as they discovered new things such as playtimes on the field, assemblies, collecting their own lunch from the servery and Early Morning Club to name but a few.Starting school is such a pivotal moment in the lives of both children and their parents; a milestone in which their journeys into full time education begins.
This year’s Reception class have all ‘graduated’ from our Pelican Nursery where some have been since they were 2 years old while others joined just at the start of last summer term.However as Nursery 2 is joined to Reception it empowers the children to make the transition with confidence.They are so happy to step into the new as the security of what they have come from is only just behind them and a good deal of what they experience is already so familiar.In this way they are not having to ‘start again’ but are able to simply build on what they already know.Some things will be a little different such as collecting their lunch from the servery rather than being served at their table, but this is seen as a sign of ‘growing up’ and the children relish this new expectation.This also means the children are also very well known to us and so we can really ‘hit the ground running’ in terms of supporting their development and progress across the curriculum.As the first seven years of life are paramount in laying the foundations of all future learning we really can capitalise on making the most of every moment.
I am under no illusion there will be a few ‘wobbles’ over the next few weeks as the children adjust to the stamina required for being at school full-time and adapt to the different routines of life in a Reception class compared to life in Nursery.However I have no doubt these will only be minor and they will all continue to ‘fly’ through their first year at school.