Talking is a vital skill when you are learning how to read and write, so you can be sure to find lots of conversation when you visit our Pre-Prep. Role-play and drama are used to tease ideas and story plans from the boys as they develop their creative writing skills and grow as independent writers. Using the Read, Write, Inc scheme of learning, the boys make swift and steady progress, and it is a joy to see their excitement as they discover their new skills.
Inspiration for creative output is often sought outdoors. ‘Poem and story making’ is a hugely popular and important Forest School activity.
The Pre-Prep reading scheme is of our own creation, devised specifically to draw boys into the magic of books, and reading. Titles are carefully selected and a wide range of styles presented, including many non-fiction works which often capture a boy's interest more readily than fiction. Discussion is an essential part of learning to read, and we encourage our emerging readers to use predictive and reasoning skills while chatting about the pictures and storylines in their books.
French begins in Reception by being integrated into the daily routine, for example taking the register in French or reading a story in French. All boys receive a French teaching from a specialist subject teacher starting in Reception. A French immersion day each year introduces the boys to the delights of French food, culture and wider use of the language. Extension work is arranged for any native French speakers.
In the Pre-Prep, the bountiful resources on our doorstep are used extensively as the boys focus initially on their local environment, establishing an awareness of where we live in this world through first-hand observation. Orienteering skills are introduced as the boys learn to create and interpret maps.
The boys study people and events of the past, ranging from the immediacy of their own grandparents to historical figures as diverse as Lord Nelson, Guy Fawkes, Neil Armstrong and Thomas Edison. Questioning and research are actively encouraged and topics are deliberately boy oriented: the study of castles, the history of transport, pirates, ships, and the American Indians are immediately popular and easily accessible. Lessons are very visual and supported wherever possible with a field trip. In this way, the boys begin to grasp the concept of chronology and to discern the similarities and differences between ways of life in the past.
Teaching makes full use of explorative learning and scientific investigation. Our Forest School and emphasis on outdoor learning are especially key in helping the boys to develop a sensory awareness of the natural world around them, of its processes and phenomena.