The Lower Prep years at Stroud are an incredibly exciting time, packed with opportunities. Our aim is to prepare our children for their next steps, equipping them with a broad range of skills and the self-confidence to take on new challenges, learn from mistakes and understand and celebrate who they are.
In the Lower Prep, we foster and develop a love of learning. Mistake making is an important part of this and children are given opportunities to contemplate and grapple through a dynamic and challenging curriculum. We provide experiences that cultivate curious learners who are excited by the opportunities Stroud has to offer. The nurturing environment of Lower Prep not only ensures children flourish academically but also supports our children’s emotional development; helping them to become more disposed to being reflective and resilient with the ability to recover from setbacks.
We offer excellent pastoral care and pride ourselves on the bespoke experience we provide for every child, both academically and pastorally. A close relationship is fostered between children and their form tutor, and our open-door policy ensures that parents are part of their child’s learning journey and are an important part of the Stroud family. Parent breakfasts, music concerts, sharing assemblies, summer picnics and sports days offer a myriad of chances for parents to enjoy the warmth of our Stroud community.
As children transition into the Lower Prep, we see a move to a more formal style of learning where our dynamic and challenging curriculum is designed to inspire young minds. We pride ourselves on providing a tailored and individual pathway for each of our children. The smaller class sizes allow us to really get to know our children and give them inspiring and challenging learning experiences that broaden their view of the world and themselves. The children receive specialist teaching in Music, French, PE, Dance, ICT, Design and Technology, Outdoor Education and Art in Year 5. We are so lucky to have a hugely dedicated team of teaching staff who really drive the department in academic excellence, always going the extra mile. As an innovative department, we are continually rethinking how we do things to improve the experiences for our children and prepare them for their journey onto our senior school, King Edwards.
Our extensive curriculum continues far beyond the classroom, where our beautiful grounds and extensive facilities give our children the opportunity to be free and independent. What we like to call our wild side. Our children take part in regular Outdoor Education sessions with our school ranger, and we always look for opportunities to take learning outside of the classroom. The day-to-day curriculum is enriched through trips, visitors, and whole school events, such as Languages Day and STEAM week, and in Year 4, children can experience the excitement of their first residential trip. We have a wealth of extra-curricular clubs and activities on offer and children are encouraged and given opportunities to perform regularly. We also have use of an outdoor swimming pool, riding area, tennis court and our amazing adventure playground, Highwood Heights and Music and Speech and Drama lessons are available from Year 3.
At Stroud 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. Our English curriculum is taught through a clear and systemic approach which is brought to life through exciting and engaging literature and immersive experience days. All English teaching staff are experts, through training, in the ability to provide precise instruction in writing, including grammar and spelling, whilst keeping lessons engaging and creative. Through our Public Speaking programme at Stroud all our children are gently stretched outside of their comfort zones in a safe and supportive environment which is scaffolded appropriately so that by the time they reach Lower Prep all children can carefully prepare a talk which is presented within their year groups, with the potential to reach our Public Speaking final which is presented in front of a larger more formal audience. At Stroud we teach them the power of informative and persuasive speaking to help raise bold, and expressive young leaders, entrepreneurs, and human beings who can speak out about their interests and views with confidence.
Science at Stroud is about developing enquiring minds and fostering a deep understanding of the importance of scientific disciplines. Throughout the year, Stroud scientists will enrich their learning through trips, visiting speakers and themed days aimed at broadening their scientific view and to inspire a love of the sciences. Our rich, practical curriculum utilises our fully equipped laboratory and the diverse outdoor environment stimulates and inspires.
In our Pre-Prep, our pupils develop strong and lasting foundations in Mathematics, practising and securing mental and written methods across the four operations to equip them for life. Pupils begin to calculate with fractions and to make connections to decimals and percentages. Our pupils continually practice and gradually learn by heart their timestables, becoming ever more efficient in their calculations and beginning to apply these to related facts involving multiples of 10, 100, 0.1 and beyond. Independence and maturity continue to grow along with our young learners, who explore concepts and ideas in a variety of different forms, from concrete, to pictorial, to abstract; our pupils use and draw upon a range of representations to help them establish a deeper and stronger understanding in Mathematics, one which encourages and develops connections between concepts, further solidifying ideas, knowledge and skills, through a curriculum rooted in the mastery approach. Our students are given opportunities to explore, tackle and solve a range of mathematical problems in different contexts, working collaboratively, engaging in discussion and thinking creatively. Through a positive, creative, exciting and supportive, yet challenging environment, they develop confidence in their own abilities, ready to begin the new challenges of Senior School and continue their learning journey as young mathematicians.
Our Geography curriculum covers a wide range of themed units including Rainforests, Extreme Earth, Settlements, Rivers and India. Geographical skills such as map work are developed and pupils are encouraged to ask questions, evaluate ideas and solve problems. We try to take our sessions outside the classroom where possible and field trips are planned to Winchester and Romsey, allowing children to study geographical themes within their local area.
We believe that Music is for everyone to enjoy. Pupils are encouraged to sing and play, listen and compose, and class music making is at the forefront of this. Linking into class topics where we can, pupils learn songs and percussion patterns in our weekly lessons, and everyone is encouraged to create and perform. We also believe that singing is an important part of improving pitch and rhythm and all classes sing regularly. From Year 3 onwards, pupils also can learn instruments or singing with visiting teachers, on a one-to-one basis. Individual and ensemble performance opportunities are plentiful, creating confident, assured musicians.
Art & Design and Technology
Pupils are introduced to specialist teaching in the Lower Prep. Pupils access the Design and Technology Workshop from Year 3, where they are introduced to the foundations of designing and making, exploring projects using textiles, woodworking, electronics, food technology and more. These foundation skills are crucial for developing understanding of how to handle tools and allow more complex projects later on.
Pupils access the Art, Craft and Design Studio from Year 5 where they focus on foundation drawing skills, then open up to a wide array of materials and experience, including watercolours, mixed media sculpture, ink painting, charcoal, observational drawing and more. We aim to provide all pupils with an excellent foundation skill, while allowing a wide exploration of materials to prepare them for further development in Upper-Prep.
Modern Foreign Languages
In Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) we expose our children to spoken and written language from a variety of authentic sources. We aim to promote confidence and develop fluency when speaking other languages. It is of utmost importance to us to encourage children’s curiosity about language and creativity in experimenting with it. In this regard, we foster an interest in language learning by introducing children to French in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all. Our MFL Curriculum supports a one hourly lesson from Years 3 - 5 where the skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in French are developed. Children are taught to listen attentively to spoken language and respond, joining in with songs, and games. As children progress throughout the school, they develop a deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation of foreign languages.
Dramatic opportunities are provided for pupils in Lower Prep through cross curricular learning as well as stand alone drama lessons. Pupils speaking and listening skills are fostered through a prepared talk competition each year. In addition, each year group prepares for a special dramatic performance annually which involves singing and acting in front of an audience.