Literacy is given a very high priority in the Prep School. All classes receive daily English lessons and literacy skills are being constantly reinforced through other curriculum areas. We have a structured programme to teach the basic skills and back this up with regular informal tests and assessments, while imagination is fostered through a broad range of activities. Literacy is brought to life during our annual book fair, through theatre visits and workshops and during a wider range of trips and excursions. Public speaking is developed through regular individual, class and school performances and productions. All children from Prep Three upwards take part in choral speaking classes at the annual Cornwall Music Festival.
The importance of laying strong foundations in Mathematics is paramount and our aim is to give our pupils confidence and security in their skills. Girls are encouraged to develop their own mental mathematical strategies so that they are confident in this area and use these as essential tools for most mathematical tasks. Logical thinking, problem-solving skills and the ability to think in abstract ways are also a priority to enable girls to use their mathematics in the wider world. Our small classes allow for plenty of individual attention to give support and extension where required. Streaming in Prep 6 enables us to give the girls more personalised teaching before they move up to the Senior School.
Science is brought alive through plenty of hands-on experiences, group work and discussions. Careful planning ensures that all areas of the national curriculum for Science are visited, often several times, throughout a girl’s time in the Prep School. In Prep 6 many of the lessons take place in the Senior School labs, giving the girls opportunities to use facilities and resources beyond the reach of most stand-alone primary schools.
Humanities aims to inspire our girls’ curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Through History and Geography, girls develop their questioning, think critically, weigh evidence and develop a broad and balanced view of their world. We foster a curriculum based on skills and enquiry whereby girls research, present, design and make in order to answer and solve lots of question challenges. We make good use of our school site and local area to include out of classroom learning experiences, raising levels of motivation and engagement as we well as bringing learning to life.
The school has a Church of England foundation and as such our assemblies have a broadly Christian basis. However, we embrace other religions and, during our RE lessons, the children study a wide range of faiths. Teaching adopts an enquiry- based approach, beginning with the girls’ own life experience before moving into learning about and from religion. Through RE, we aim to develop a sense of awe, wonder and mystery and to nurture the girls’ own spiritual development.
Music plays a vital role in the Prep School, from our highly praised choir through to enthusiastic singing during assemblies! All classes have a timetabled music lesson and, in addition to this, the younger children also benefit from a weekly fun singing lesson. Many girls learn instruments at school through individual lessons provided by expert peripatetic staff. All girls are given the opportunity to learn the recorder in Prep 2. Performance is a vital aspect of music, so we provide plenty of opportunities for this – ranging from playing informally in assembly through to public concerts. We perform regularly in the Cathedral and at the annual Cornwall Music Festival. From Prep 3 upwards musicians are encouraged to join the Prep Orchestra and in Prep 6 some girls are also able to join the Senior Choir and Orchestra.
Art in the Prep School lends itself to a cross-curricular approach and as such is often used to enhance topic work. However, care is taken to ensure that a wide range of skills are developed and that the girls have the opportunity to work with many different mediums. Artwork is further stimulated through visits to local galleries and gardens, and by our Cornish scenery and of course beaches. We use the work of a wide range of artists to inspire discussion and practical work.
The ever growing impact and importance of technology in the lives of our pupils is something of which we are very aware, and we aim to give the girls the skills and confidence to embrace the technology of the future. Computer science is at the core of our Computing curriculum based on developing computational thinking, creativity and problem solving. We have our own Prep School IT room, computers in the classrooms and also use the more extensive senior school facilities. Classes have weekly Computing lessons although ICT is often included in lessons for other curriculum areas. The importance of safety in the online environment is also given priority and taught.
In the Prep School, French is taught from Prep 1-4, Spanish in Prep 5 and Latin in Prep 6. We aim to instil in pupils a positive attitude to language-learning and create a relaxed, informal atmosphere in which they will enjoy a wide range of activities. Role-play, singing, games and short plays are all used as a means to encourage the girls to communicate confidently in a foreign language. Older pupils begin to write simple words, phrases and sentences to record their work. For all pupils, Languages are taught by specialist teachers.
Our outstanding pastoral care reflects the importance that PHSEE is given in the Prep School. Issues and ideas are addressed across the curriculum, during assemblies, school council and through focused lessons. The House system provides a platform for teamwork, responsibility and empathy for others.
All girls are taught ‘Big Thinking’. This covers a broad range of topics encompassing Philosophy, Independent and Critical Thinking. These lessons complement our school-wide initiative, Future Ready. The lessons challenge the girls to question, debate and answer questions provided by themselves or the teacher. The skills taught and learnt in these lessons encourage the girls to be independent learners, who develop into motivated learners.