Our Pre-Prep takes children from the Montessori setting and introduces them, over a period of two years (Years Two and Three), to a more conventional school setting. This is done with consideration of all the educational experiences they have had in the Early Years’ setting, where independent learning and a child-centred approach have been paramount. The teachers in both the Early Years and Pre-Prep settings work together to ensure that the transition is a joyful and positive experience for the children.
The Pre-Prep children are in the same building as the Early Years, making the transition from one setting to the next as seamless as possible. The children are already familiar with the staff as there are many occasions, both formal and informal, when both settings join together; e.g. at assemblies, lunch, extra-curricular clubs and after school activities, concerts and sports occasions.
Our aim in the Pre-Prep is to nurture the child’s character and to motivate them to try new tasks and experiences with confidence. We build on the strengths identified in the Early Years and develop new found interests and emerging skills. We foster links with the younger children in the Main School in readiness for the transition to Year Four. For example, joint Games sessions take place for the Years Three and Four children and morning playtimes include all the children from Years Three to Eight, allowing friendships to develop across the age groups.
From Year Two, the children are taught by an increasing number of specialist teachers from the Main School. Music, French, Computing, Rural Studies and DT teachers take the children for weekly lessons, and we use the superb facilities of the Main School for many of these.
With the needs of families closely taken into consideration, we offer clubs and an extended day, with activities provided by the Pre Prep and Early Years staff who already know the children. This thread of continuity is an important aspect of our ethos. Bearing in mind that many Pre-Prep children have older siblings already in the Main School, we offer after-school clubs both to help families and to accustom Pre-Prep children to the longer Main School day.
Jan Bain, Head of Pre-Prep