Pre-Prep, which includes Year 1 and Year 2, is housed in a purpose built, modern, light and spacious building with two classes per year group.
Opened in 2018, the building has retractable walls between teaching rooms, which enable collaborative interaction between classes and interactive spaces in lesson time. We have a dedicated Pre-Prep library and computer suite, and each classroom has access to outdoor learning spaces with resources that challenge, stimulate, and develop children’s academic and creative thinking alongside physical skills. Outside there is a secure wraparound area, with canopies covering areas, ensuring access outside is available in all weathers, together with a separate playground with climbing frames.
In Pre-Prep, we believe that ‘school’ should be so much more than academic lessons in a classroom. We are hugely proud of our co-curricular provision. All our children experience a breadth of opportunities and are encouraged to make the most of their talents and abilities. Children are valued as individuals and provided with a stimulating and caring learning environment, where each and every one of them can flourish. Within Pre-Prep, we provide challenges that stimulate and develop your child in all areas of their learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. We see ourselves very much as a team and want you working with us, in partnership, to support your child’s education and social development.
We know all our children in Pre-Prep extremely well: what makes them tick, where their strengths lie, where they need support. We mould their educational experience to bring light into their eyes and to enable them to aim high and be all that they can be. We believe variety is key to making school fascinating. Give children lots of different ways to experience learning and they will thrive and be hungry to learn more. Our smaller class sizes mean we have more time to teach, discuss and support. It also means we are light on our feet and able to plan and implement changes and ideas promptly.
Making school a happy place requires several things, one of the most important of which are the adults present. We have an experienced, energised and talented team who welcome the children with broad smiles. Our children know that their teachers notice them and feel reassured and safe. Children are unique and we understand that children enjoy different aspects of school life. There is plenty of time built into the school day to play independently, to get outdoors, and to do Art, Performing Arts and Sport. Outdoor learning also appeals to and suits many children. Children have sport three times a week, as well as Forest School and Beach School.
During Pre-Prep, the children follow the National Curriculum closely in class. Each class has a qualified Pre-Prep teacher, along with a class assistant for support. Priority is given to the core subjects of Mathematics, English, and Science within the curriculum. We also offer a broad range of foundation subjects, which run alongside and complement these key areas. Art, Design Technology, Humanities and ICT are taught by class teachers, with Modern Foreign Languages (French), Music, Performing Arts, Sport, Forest and Beach School, all taught by subject-specialist staff.
Our curriculum is rich, engaging, exciting and challenging. The curriculum is taught in half termly topics, such as ‘Turrets and Tiaras’, ‘Reach for the Stars’ and ‘Blooming Marvellous’. We believe that children learn best through first hand experiences and give them plenty of opportunities to learn in this way. The children are encouraged to discover, question and relish their learning in order to gain a deeper understanding.
Learning continually takes place through investigations; we find these extend organisational and social skills, as well as academic knowledge. The day-to-day curriculum is enriched through trips, visitors and whole-school events such as Languages Day and Intrepidus Week, where pupils take part in themed activities that provide inspiration and encourage collaboration
As well as Forest School, we also run an organised Beach School programme of study which further enhances learning outside of the classroom walls. Beach School is designed with the participants in mind, to bring out their best, build their self-esteem and self-confidence and ultimately, to make learning in the outdoors a motivational experience. Every Friday afternoon, a different class visits Lepe Beach, where the children learn about the natural world around them and develop their practical, emotional and intellectual skills and the really great thing about it is that it takes place at the seaside. Meanwhile, our popular after school clubs run until 4.15pm daily, with a wide range of activities available, including Spanish, country dancing, gardening, ballet, acro, yoga, ukulele and Farm Club, to name but a few.
There can be no underestimating the importance of English in the Pre-Prep years, teaching the core literacy skills that will remain with our children for life. We have a whole-school climate that fosters self-expression, feeds children’s imaginations, and instils in them confidence, a natural motive for writing and a lasting love of reading, through whole-school frameworks that are based on strong evidence based research. Lessons are dynamic, active, and varied, with an English curriculum brought to life through exciting and engaging literature and immersive experience days, using both our 22 acres of beautiful rural countryside for hands on learning opportunities and access to a wide range of resources both in school and from outside agencies.
In Pre-Prep, Science is taught discretely with children learning practical scientific methods, processes and skills, and also as part of our continuous provision, where the children can independently explore and experiment. They learn to observe closely, using simple equipment, and they perform simple tests; learning how to identify and classify and use their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions. The children gather and record their own data to help answer questions.
The roots of Mathematics grow and strengthen in the Pre-Prep, where there is an emphasis on securing the understanding of place value within numbers to 10, 20 and 100. Early mental and written methods are practised and learned for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, ready to be developed and refined further in Lower-Prep. Pupils explore fractions and establish initial concepts to be built upon and extended in Lower-Prep and beyond. Children learn through creative exploration and through manipulation of concrete materials and visual representations, alongside the abstract idea, to deepen understanding and establish strong foundations, within a mastery focused approach. Opportunities for making connections between mathematical ideas are fostered, patterns and relationships are explored and discussed, and children begin to solve problems in different contexts, applying their mathematical knowledge and skills and developing curiosity and resilience.
In Pre-Prep, we teach Discovery, our humanities programme, in a creative and cross curricular way, which actively engages the children. The children are encouraged to use a questioning approach and practical activities to deepen their understanding and skills.
The children develop an awareness of the past, understanding where the people and events they are studying fit within a chronological time frame. In Year 1, children study the lives of significant individuals and in Year 2, they study famous events in time. They are encouraged to look at similarities and differences compared to their own experience and family history.
A curiosity and fascination about the world around us is encouraged through creative curriculum themed lessons. The children deepen their understanding of the world, the UK and their locality. We look at the vocabulary related to human and physical features and begin to use geographical skills to study maps, atlases, and globes. The children study hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the North and South Poles and the Equator.
The children can explore stories from different faiths. They learn about the books, artefacts, celebrations and buildings, which are important to people of a variety of faiths. The children are actively involved in lessons through group activities, dramas and discussion. They learn to appreciate and understand the beliefs of others and how to demonstrate respect for each other including children in their class who may hold a different view from them.
Art and DT
Art is an especially important part of our curriculum in Pre-Prep, and the children have time to explore their creativity as well as develop a range or artistic skills during their lesson of Art each week. Art projects are closely related to their topic work. During Art lessons, children discuss the work of artists as well as gain experience in a range of media. Children explore drawing with different tools and develop their understanding of colour and composition in painting. They also investigate working in clay, paint, pastels, chalk and inks, and develop skills such as textile work, observational drawing and printing. Wherever possible, children are encouraged to take the initiative and develop projects in their own individual way. They are also actively involved in evaluating their progress and to be challenged. This approach gives our children the opportunity to achieve high standards whilst having much creative fun.
In DT, a progression of designing, making and evaluation skills are explored. The children take part in design tasks, joining materials such as card, wood, and fabric using different methods. They investigate simple mechanisms and solve design problems. Children are encouraged to evaluate their work and take part in peer assessment through discussion. They also take part in food preparation, following simple recipes and tasting activities linked to their topics.
Performing Arts is an important part of life at Stroud. It instils performance skills and confidence and provides many opportunities for creativity. We believe that singing is an important way in which to aid the development of pitch and rhythm, as well as the playing of various percussion instruments and listening to a wide variety of music. Every pupil takes part in the annual Nativity where their music, drama and dancing skills are on show. As part of the music curriculum, Year 2 also learn to play orchestral instruments – violin, trumpet and toot (a lightweight plastic flute) to learn how to play in time with others and to inspire their music making.
We offer weekly lessons in French and provide a wide variety of songs and activities to enthuse and excite children. The children in Pre-Prep can learn simple words and phrases using songs, games and stories. We also enable children to understand and use some routine language, such as greetings, reacting to foods offered, expressing emotions, talk about their families and their pets. We also explore sounds in French, through looking at individual words and listening to short stories.
In ICT we develop core skills, allowing children to work with multiple applications across devices. They learn about technology in the real world and how computers work. We have a strong focus on Online Safety, teaching at an age appropriate level. Children can explore coding as part of their ICT lessons. They develop their skills using a range of hands on programmable items and work online with both block and text based languages. ICT is embedded into the curriculum and used to enhance the children's learning in all subjects.