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. Our small classes allow for plenty of individual attention and there are teaching assistants on hand 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. Prep 6 pupils take part in the annual Maths Association Primary Challenge.
Science is brought alive through plenty of hands-on experiences, group work and discussions. Careful planning ensures that all of the 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.
The aim of History teaching throughout the Prep School is to bring it alive and make it meaningful for the girls. Role-play, handling artefacts, discussions and links to other curriculum areas help to stimulate the girls’ interest and knowledge. Regular trips to local historical sites and events are also used to reinforce and enhance the work done in school, and all girls take part in at least one workshop at the Royal Cornwall Museum each year.
The girls are given a sense of their place in the world through Geography lessons, assemblies, guest speakers and field trips. Annual residential trips from Prep Three upwards provide wonderful opportunities to extend learning. Our house teddy bears – Benson, Hedley, Trevosa and Tremayne – travel the world with pupils, providing a stimulating and fun way to share geographical knowledge and experience. We have a strong link with a school in rural Uganda which helps develop the girls’ understanding of other cultures.
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 is through discussion, handling of artefacts and hands-on experiences and we encourage parents to come in and share their knowledge and beliefs.
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 and the violin in Prep 3. 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 is 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. Wherever possible we become involved in local community art projects.
The ever growing impact and importance of ICT in the lives of our pupils is something of which we are very aware, and we aim to give the girls the basic skills and confidence to embrace the technology of the future. We have our own Prep School ICT room, computers in the classrooms and also use the more extensive senior school facilities. Classes have weekly ICT lessons. In addition to this, ICT is often included in lessons for other curriculum areas. As well as developing ICT skills, 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.
Our outstanding pastoral care reflects the importance that PHSE 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.