Pre-Prep Blog Archive

Why is the Sky Blue?

Monday, May 14, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

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!

Bringing Learning to Life

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

The Pre-Prep curriculum is ever-evolving as it responds to the children’s interests and developmental needs. However the curriculum is usually based around topic areas that are carefully planned to inspire the children’s imaginations as well as their creative and critical thinking skills. One of the most exciting ways staff achieve this is by planning trips out of school to give the children as many first-hand experiences as possible. Over the course of the year the children go on at least six trips to either provide a stimulus for their learning or provide consolidation of what has already been learned.

Since we came back for the summer term just a couple of weeks ago trips have already taken place and others are happening very soon. Year 1 were the first to go as they arrived in school dressed as fearsome pirates and travelled to Bristol for a swashbuckling adventure on board The Matthew. They sailed around the harbour, learned what life was like on a pirate ship and had great fun scaring the landlubbers! Reception also travelled to Bristol as part of their learning about Space and had the most magical time in the Planetarium (or Disco Ball as one child called it!). Year 2 are off to Longleat at the end of this week to enjoy a trip around the Safari Park as part of their learning about Africa; needless to say the children are VERY excited!

Let's Say No!

Monday, April 30, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

In preparation for Anti-Bullying Day on May 4, I shared the story of Goliath with the children in assembly this morning. Some very keen children enthusiastically volunteered to help dramatise the story and a very brave Miss Reed took on the part of Goliath. There was much cheering for David and the Israelites and some true panto ‘booing’ for Goliath. Goliath’s defeat was an Oscar-worthy performance but all agreed the ‘best man won!’ The children were also quick to comment on David’s bravery and likened it to St. George who we thought about in last week’s assembly.

I asked the children what we would call someone who acted like Goliath did today and was quickly given the answer ‘a bully’. I was pleased the child who gave this answer also qualified it by saying, “because Goliath teased the people every day and not just once.” I told the children that Friday is Anti-Bullying Day when lots of people in lots of countries make an extra effort to help children learn how to deal with bullies.

In Pre-Prep we teach the children to firstly tell the person who has hurt them, either physically or verbally, to ‘stop’ in a loud, firm voice and if the behaviour doesn’t stop they should then tell someone who can help them.

We also thought about the old saying, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me’ and decided it was not really true. We even suggested ‘words’ can hurt more than ‘sticks’ because we can’t put a plaster on our feelings. I showed the children two visual examples of what happens to our feelings when they get hurt. Firstly we looked an apple that looked lovely and shiny on the outside but was all bruised on the inside because it had been ‘dropped’ lots of times. Secondly we looked at a fresh piece of paper, crumpled it up and then smoothed it out again. The children noticed there were still ‘crumple’ marks and we said this was like our feelings inside and that it can take a long time and a lot of hard work to make the ‘crumple’ marks disappear.

Finally we sang a song we have learned all about bullying and what to do if it happens to them:

“Let’s say no and walk away

Tell a friend ‘cos that’s ok

Let’s say no and walk away

We’ll be stronger every day”

We decided every day should be Anti-Bullying Day and have promised to work hard to only use kind words towards our friends so as not to cause ‘bruises’ or ‘crumples’ that can take a long time to heal.

How Will the Story End?

Monday, April 23, 2018 by Claire Luckhurst

I love the summer term not only because of the promise of warmer weather but also because we get to see all we have accomplished at the end of the academic year. As all parents will know, we often don’t appreciate how much our children are growing as we grow along with them; it is only when we take a moment to press ‘pause’ and step back we realise just how much they have achieved. This is the same for teachers.We start the academic year in September with a new class who we need to get to know before we can start guiding their journeys in the right direction. Fortunately, with such small class sizes, it’s not long before relationships become natural and familiar and the journeys are underway, moving at speed and before we know it another year has passed by. It is then we reflect over the year and marvel at just how much the children have changed both physically and emotionally as well as in their academic abilities. I have never failed to feel hugely rewarded by every child’s journey and rather proud of having played a small part in their development.

On the flip side, summer term is also tinged with some sadness as we enjoy the company of our Year 2 children for their final weeks in Pre-Prep. This particular year group are especially fondly thought of as among them are those who were the first members of Nursery 1 which opened in February 2014. They have therefore been a part of our family for over 4 years, during which time we have developed strong relationships, not only with them but with their families too and have been privileged to have watched them grow from tiny 2 year olds to super 7 year olds. I know we will all make the very most of their company over the coming weeks and enjoy all the exciting things this term has in store. The sun shining will just be an added bonus!

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!

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