What do we teach in Prep School?
All of the lessons on our Prep School curriculum are carefully crafted and presented in accordance with each girl’s learning styles. We personalise the learning experience of every girl so each can understand and articulate her own specific goals. Explore the highlights of our Prep School curriculum below.
Our aims in teaching English are to develop a positive attitude towards reading, writing, speaking and listening. We use a lively and dynamic programme called Talk4Writing. This innovative approach generates a real buzz in lessons as our girls journey through different genres and writing styles; learning to vary purpose, how to target an audience and to experience the richness and diversity of children’s literature. We teach them to rise to the challenges set so that they can gain a sense of achievement. Our girls have an opportunity to display their English skills outside the classroom in competitions such as the BBC Radio Two 500 Words Competition and the GDST Doris Ellis Poetry Award.
A wide range of mathematical experiences, including problem-solving strategies for mental calculations and a variety of formal and informal written methods, underpins each lesson. We have adopted the Singapore Maths accelerated programme of study in order to develop deeper understanding, mathematical-language development and practical experience. the use of hands-on equipment, personalised supportive approach, and a firm knowledge of how to extend and challenge other girls forms the basis of our mathematics lessons.
Science and Computing Curriculum
Science is taught by a specialist in the Prep Upper School (years 3-6) in order to make the most of our superb laboratory. Links with our Senior School teachers for workshops and science weeks are a regular feature. One-to-one tablets, laptops and a computer centre are available and coding is taught throughout the school. Our girls benefit from an imaginative, creative and hands-on approach.
Our full-sized Computing Centre sits alongside our dedicated natural and physical sciences lab, innovative maths programme and art studios.
The Wider Curriculum
History, Geography and Religious Education are taught through rich and exciting learning experiences in which we aim to make interdisciplinary connections and to develop skills. Visits to places of worship, invited speakers and our renowned ‘Creative Days’ provide our girls with opportunities to dance, act, question, taste, make and dress up in order to launch a topic. Encouraging a ‘have a go’ attitude, personalising learning, and branching out into areas that stimulate our girls’ curiosity and interests are all intrinsic to the creative curiosity at SCPS.
In Year 5 we offer the girls a residential trip to Rippledown in Kent, near the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. Our girls take part in many activities, including shelter-making and a beach survey as well as a trip to a safari park. Rippledown is an ideal trip for this age group as it encourages the girls to develop their independence by exploring their surroundings. They also nurture a greater understanding of the environment and how they can play a part in conservation.
Art and Design and Technology, Drama and Music, each subject with its own teaching space, are vital to the rich provision we offer. All the girls have opportunities to participate in productions, concerts, class assemblies and visits to art exhibitions. Fostering collaboration, appreciation and confidence is key. We seek to ensure that many figures in music, art and drama are familiar to the girls so that they are aware of their cultural importance and their influence upon our lives. For the climax of their Prep School career, the Year 6 girls present a large-scale musical. Recent shows have included The Snow Queen, Olivia and Macbeth. These productions are always a highlight of the year and invariably receive outstanding reviews.
Our girls excel in the arts, particularly on account of the wide variety of activities in the performing and fine arts organised by the school. The school regularly stages musical and dramatic productions, to consistent acclaim. Clubs include art, water colour, choir, orchestra, ballet, drama, wind ensemble and musical theatre.
Drama is offered to all girls in Years 2 to 6. In addition, some take LAMDA acting examinations. In these sessions, our girls learn about all aspects of drama, including characterisation and voice technique. They then use these skills to present and perform a scene from a play for their examinations. This provides a singular opportunity for our girls to work at a more advanced performance level and enhances their enjoyment and love of acting. We also offer LAMDA examinations in musical theatre for girls who have individual singing tuition.
Physical Education is specialist-taught and encourages our girls to develop their skills through a variety of sports, including hockey, netball, athletics, gymnastics and swimming. Physical Education develops our girls’ physical competence and confidence. They learn how to plan, perform and evaluate actions, ideas and performances to improve their quality and effectiveness. All classes, from Reception upwards, have the opportunity to take part in swimming lessons.
All girls engage in class-based PSHCE lessons where interpersonal relationships are explored and concerns are discussed openly. The gain confidence through sharing their opinions, and are able to contribute actively. As they grow older, a carefully planned programme addresses all relevant social and health issues, with specific input from the School Nurse, as well as from outside agencies such as Transport for London. Additionally, we have regular career talks for the girls in the Upper School, led by parents and other visitors. Recent events have included focusing on careers in banking, marketing, law and digital technologies.
At SCPS we understand that the classroom is not the only place where learning can occur. For this reason, as part of the integrated curriculum, we make use of the unique cultural opportunities offered to us in London and the surrounding area. Our girls regularly visit museums, galleries, places of worship and local attractions to give them exciting hands-on, real-life experiences in new, stimulating locations. We also work closely with national and local organisations and businesses to enrich the curriculum further.