Pre-Prep Blog Archive

The Magic of a Nursery Nativity

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by Claire Luckhurst

My blog this week is in tribute to our wonderful Nursery who warmed our hearts last Friday with their beautiful Nativity performance, ‘Christmas Counts’. I am pretty sure there was not a dry eye left in the house as the children told the nativity story through song and dance in front of over one hundred family members and friends. The staging was beautifully set and lit, the costumes adorable and the children themselves so confident and happy. I never fail to be amazed by what our amazing staff manage to achieve with such little people whose age range is just 2 to 4 years.

Many, many congratulations to all involved; they have definitely set the Nativity bar high!

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

Friday, December 1, 2017 by Claire Luckhurst

It’s 5pm on Friday 1 December. The children have all gone home, the sun has set and all should be quiet within the Pre-Prep walls as the weekend approaches and another week is over. In reality there is a hive of activity taking place as the Pre-Prep elves are busily creating a festive wonderland to herald the arrival of Christmas for the last two weeks of term. Christmas music is blaring, lights are being untangled and several people are doing battle to complete the puzzles of hanging decorations and piecing together the Christmas tree. There is also a wonderful array of glitter, sequins, cotton wool, glue and coloured tin foil lining the shelves ready for busy little hands to create the pictures, models, decorations and ornaments that will adorn the tables, walls and trees of their homes this yuletide.

In addition to this we will also be rehearsing in earnest for our forthcoming Nativity play. The stage is in place and the costumes have arrived from the depths of our costume store which have both heightened the excited anticipation for the children. To say we are going to be busy is probably quite an understatement!

I extend a huge THANK YOU to the staff who manage to dig deep and somehow find the energy, after what has already been quite a long term, to ensure a Pre-Prep Christmas is a truly magical time for the children.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Presents for Santa?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Claire Luckhurst

In my RS lessons with Year 2 this half term we have been thinking about ‘Celebrations’. We spent the first few weeks learning about the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. The children loved listening to the story about the miracle of the oil and especially loved playing the Dreidel game with chocolate coins!

This week we started thinking about Advent and its importance in preparing the minds and hearts of Christians for the wonderful celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day. We looked at images of the Advent Crown and learned the significance of the candles as well as looking at a real Advent candle and Advent calendar. The children reflected on how their excitement grew with each opening of a door on the calendar or burning away of a number on the candle and with Nativity rehearsals just around the corner (for which they all have speaking parts) the first signs of that excitement are already bubbling away.

We also talked about whether Advent calendars should have a picture of Father Christmas on or pictures of the Nativity. After much discussion the children decided perhaps it should have a bit of both because “Father Christmas helps us celebrate Jesus’ birthday”. This led to thinking about the giving of presents to each other on someone else’s’ birthday as we don’t do this usually. I was delighted that the children understood it is symbolic of how the Magi brought gifts for baby Jesus and would be what Jesus would want us to do because “it is kind”. One child then commented, “I know Father Christmas makes Jesus happy by bringing all the children presents but who gives Father Christmas a present?” As you can imagine, after the children had internalised this thought and realised perhaps Father Christmas doesn’t get any presents, there were soon many declarations of what they might give him this year. However I then told the children that the children’s happiness is probably the only present he really wants, just as Jesus wanted everyone to be happy, kind and generous towards each other.

(Advanced apologies to all Year 2 parents if you have since been badgered to add another present to the ever growing Christmas list!)

Grandparents’ Rule!

Monday, November 20, 2017 by Claire Luckhurst

I thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon when we opened our Pre-Prep doors to over 70 Grandparents and grand-friends who came to help us celebrate that most magical relationship that exists between grandparents and their grandchildren. I think the excitement that shone out of the children’s eyes as their special guests arrived could easily rival the excitement of Christmas morning and was perfectly balanced with the pride that beamed from the eyes of our guests. The children took great delight in leading their grandparents on a tour of Pre-Prep which included toasting marshmallows in the woods, snuggling up for stories in our Log Cabin library, playing games in classrooms, enjoying the creativity that paint and glitter brings and being shown every single part of our wonderful environment (not a drawer or cupboard escaped the attention of our most fastidious tour leaders!). The afternoon concluded with a very well-deserved cup of tea and a special assembly where we were treated to some special readings and an appropriately themed song.

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!

(Below are some carefully selected quotes from grandchildren that were published on the programme and definitely raised a knowing smile!)

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like. "I had a swing made from a tyre; it hung from a tree in our front garden. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."
The little girl was wide-eyed, taking all this in. At last she said, "I wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colours yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what colour it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to learn some of these colours yourself!"

When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure." “Look in your underwear, Grandad", he advised, "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."

The Dip!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Claire Luckhurst

I have so enjoyed our assemblies this term where we have been sowing the seeds of anything being possible with the right mindset. The children in Reception and KS1 now regularly talk about the brain being like a muscle that we need to exercise by working hard to help it grow and try their very best to be a ‘Work-it-out-Wiz’ when faced with a problem before declaring, ‘It’s too hard’ and giving up.

Recently we have thought how even ‘Work-it-out-Wizzes’ can feel frustrated as sometimes no matter how hard we work, things are still difficult. To better help the children understand that this is a natural feeling that everyone shares, we watched an animation about a monster who found themselves in ‘the dip’.

The ‘dip’ is the place you find yourself after beginning a new learning adventure with much enthusiasm and excitement (a bit like walking up a hill); it can be hard work to get there and sometimes when you get to the top you have to walk down into the valley before climbing the next hill. The dip is when you find yourself temporarily stuck in the valley having run out of energy and enthusiasm to start the next climb.

Many children related to the monster’s experiences by offering examples such as getting stuck on a certain level of a computer game and having to keep restarting it, trying to build a complicated Lego structure but it keep falling apart and learning to ride a bike without stabilisers.

However we also learned that to get out of ‘the dip’ we need to reflect on what has gone wrong and puzzle out a way to put it right. Sometimes this might just involve repeated practice of the skill we are trying to master and sometimes it might be trying a new method to achieve the goal or asking someone else for some help. The good news was there is always a way out of the dip and all the reflecting will make our brains grow even bigger.

It has been so rewarding to see how the visual images and characters we have used, along with adding phrases such as ‘the dip’ into our vocabulary, has had such an impact on the children’s understanding. It is by giving the children the language and experiences to communicate their feelings that they will be more empowered to make sense of them and so move their learning forward.

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