Pre-Prep Blog Archive

Shamrocks, Soda Bread & Steamed Cabbage!

Monday, March 12, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

It seemed appropriate to dedicate this week’s blog to all the Irish members of our Pre-Prep community as we head towards St Patrick’s Day on March 17. The children very much enjoyed finding out about another Saint of the United Kingdom in assembly this morning; although they weren’t so keen on the idea of steamed cabbage! However we thoroughly enjoyed practising our Irish dancing while singing ‘The St. Patrick’s Day Song’ by The Speks. We have definitely started the week with a celebratory bang and feel-good ‘Irish’ factor!

In the same way we thought about how St. David is important to Wales and Welsh people a couple of weeks ago, the children are developing their awareness that although their families may not be Irish or Welsh it is still important to know about these special days which are celebrated within our communities.

I am sure the children will be humming the song all week and I won’t be surprised to see a few Irish ‘dance-offs’ in the playground either!

Superhero Mummies!

Monday, March 5, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

In a moment of ‘motherhood solidarity’, I decided to grasp the opportunity to remind all of the children in Pre-Prep that Mothering Sunday is very nearly upon us in the eternal hope they may ‘drop a few hints’ in the right direction at home!

We ‘stepped back in time’ to learn the origins of Mothering Sunday and learned about traditional gifts of Simnel cakes and flower posies blessed in churches. We also read a modern picture book story, ‘The Day I Lost My Superpowers’ by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo, in which a small child developed all manner of amazing powers (my favourite being making cakes disappear) but when disaster strikes and she loses them, resulting in a poorly knee, she discovers her mum also has amazing superpowers too; magic kisses that make everything better again.

The children all agreed their mummies have amazing superpowers too such as ‘making speedy breakfasts’, ‘waking me up quickly in the morning’, ‘making me feel happy when I am feeling sad’ and ‘making yummy food’. They also agreed that the best way to thank their mummies for all of these superpowers will be to make Mothering Sunday a special day for them by being extra kind, extra helpful and extra good. I shared with them the plan in my house for every request the children have on Sunday to begin with the word, ‘Daddy’ rather than ‘Mummy’ – perhaps you could give it a try in your house too!

I know we have some of the best ‘superhero mummies’ in Pre-Prep otherwise we wouldn’t have such brilliant children! Happy Mothering Sunday to you all!

Do the Little Things in Life

Monday, February 26, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

In assembly this week we thought about St David ahead of officially commemorating him on St David’s Day on Thursday 1 March. We learned that although not much is known about him, and that which is known is likely legend, we can all be inspired by the words he often said and some of the last he spoke in public, ‘Do the little things in life’. We decided this means that it is important to show love and care in small, everyday ways. We compared this to a penny; one on its own can’t buy you very much but lots of them altogether can make one feel quite rich. We thought about how St David wants us to be rich too, not in pennies but in love, gentleness and kindness. We may think that each time we do something that’s kind or helpful, it’s too small to be important or make a difference. But our small, loving, kind words or actions (like a smile or a hug) can grow and build into something bigger.

Our Values characters, ‘Tolerant Turtle’ and ‘Respect Rhino’ also helped us learn that although many of us are not Welsh and so perhaps won’t celebrate St David on Thursday with as much panache as those who are will, it’s important to celebrate our history whoever we are and wherever we come from.

So, to all of the Welsh members of our Pre-Prep family especially I wish you a very Happy St. David’s Day when it arrives on Thursday. (As the granddaughter of a very proud Welshman I shall wear my daffodil and try my very best to do ‘lots of little things’).

Performance Pride!

Monday, February 19, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

I am often asked what I most enjoy about my job and my answer can vary depending on the day of the week and time of the year. However one consistent element I always take great satisfaction from is in producing, directing and choreographing the Pre-Prep Nativities and Summer Shows. This is largely due to a love of song and dance stemming from childhood when I was part of youth choirs and theatre groups. I have already completed most of the planning for this year’s summer spectacular, although details will remain closely guarded for a while yet!

However, as much as I enjoy being fully involved with these productions, it was such a joy to have the privilege of being an audience member just before half term at each of the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 assemblies which they performed to both Pre-Prep and their families. I am always amazed by the standard our children achieve when performing and was delighted to see it no less impressive than that which we are used to. There is something quite special and intimate about these class assemblies, traditionally performed in the Lent term, which provides a lovely contrast to the big shows that take place in the Michaelmas and Summer term. They are usually connected to the children’s class learning and embellished with song, dance and some fine acting. It is also lovely to have them all performed within the same week as one can then clearly see the age and stage progression across the ‘school-age’ phases. The thing that really stood out for me was just how much the children love the opportunity to perform and how confident they are when doing so.

I am now looking forward to Nursery taking to the stage later this term as they perform their assembly on March 5; I have no doubt it will leave me with yet another big smile and immense feeling of pride!

How Big is the World?

Monday, February 5, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

Up to the age of 19, when I flew the family nest to go to University, my ‘world’ was the sum result of all that I had experienced within the rather small parameters of my hometown combined with a few flashes of what else was ‘out there’ glimpsed in teen magazines, read about in the novels I devoured from the library or saw on the television screen. I recall being quite confused the first time I saw the list of schools my fellow trainee teachers and I were assigned to for our teaching practices. My hometown offered a three stage schooling system: First School, Middle School and College; therefore, based on my experience, I assumed this was the standard system across the country. It was quite a revelation to find that this was indeed a much lesser used system of schooling and that the two stage system of Primary and Secondary were much more common. I vividly remember how my previous perception of my hometown being the centre of the universe diminished as my ‘world’ grew and the overwhelming feeling of disappointment that followed; it was a similar feeling to learning the truth about Father Christmas all over again!

Fast forward a couple of decades and I look at my own children (both under 10 years old) and I have no illusion that their world is in many ways already much bigger than mine was at 19 years old. I would like to say that this is because we have travelled vastly and they have had opportunities for the most awe-inspiring experiences. However this is not the case. So far, their travelling experiences have only taken them as far as France and we live in a small village on the Somerset levels……but the power of the internet has opened a huge door for them which has given them access straight into the world way beyond France and our village and a knowledge that surprises me on a daily basis. On the whole I am a fan of technology (although have no idea how it all works) and continue to be amazed by what can be achieved. It saddens me to read articles that claim knowledge is now ‘obsolete’ owing to being able to find out what you need to know at the touch of a button and that libraries are closing due to under use as people choose digital literature over paper copies; a library is still a special place for me and the sensory joy of a physical book, in my opinion, cannot be replaced. However when balanced with the many positive advances technology has enabled us to do I can resolve with myself some of the things it has extinguished in its path.


As much as technology amazes me it worries me in equal measure too. In my small hometown up to the age of 19 my parents / teachers job was largely to keep me ‘physically’ safe. Most of this education was courtesy of the very short cut-out animated cartoon public information films for children, Charley Says, which pretty much provided me with the basics of what I should / shouldn’t do if I wanted to stay out of trouble and served me well given my childhood was devoid of any remarkably terrifying moments. With digital doors exposing children to the world and all the peoples in it, my job as both a parent and a teacher seems significantly more challenging.

Tomorrow is Safer Internet Day and in assembly this morning we thought about how it is important to learn how to stay safe when using the internet. All children love technology and just as we teach them to know the Golden Rules for staying safe and happy in the real world it is perhaps even more important to teach them how they need to apply the same rules when in the virtual world too. The focus for tomorrow is ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect’ and so we thought about how we should communicate with people digitally and what to do if you receive something worrying or upsetting. It gave me great confidence to see that the vast majority of the children already knew the answers thanks to our comprehensive Computing Curriculum which has an ‘online safety’ unit running throughout as well as supportive parents who are doing a great job in safeguarding their children’s digital interactions at home.

Hopefully as we continue to teach our children about the incredible world they can step into via a digital door and equip them with the tools they need to keep both themselves and others safe and happy their worlds will be bigger, bolder and brighter as a result.

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