In Reception, as with the PGHS Nursery, girls follow the Early Years Foundation Stage which sets out goals for learning. The seven areas are as follows:
Personal, social and emotional development
Communication and language
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
Reception provides a stimulating and secure learning environment. With excellent resources inside and outside to foster exploration, imagination and independence, the Early Years’ experience at PGHS sets a firm foundation for future learning. Pupils in Reception experience a mixture of learning through play and independent challenges, one-to-one tasks, small group focused activities and whole class teaching. They have free-flow access to their dedicated outdoor area as well as time with other pupils in the main playground, when links between year groups are developed.
Subject specialist teaching begins with our Reception pupils, which is produced in collaboration with the Drama and Music Departments. Drama takes place in one of our two School halls, providing pupils with opportunities to explore creativity and imaginative play on a larger scale. The girls are all involved in the Prep Christmas Musical Production, which is produced in collaboration with the Music Department. Reception have access to the fantastic resources in our Music Suite for their twice-weekly lessons, where they learn songs and develop their understanding of rhythm through experimenting with percussion. Pupils have three PE lessons a week, focusing on different skills. Over the year they learn dance, gymnastics and games, and the year culminates with the Prep Sports Day event in the Summer Term.
Pupils in Key Stage 1 begin to follow a more formal curriculum with discrete lessons for most subjects. Alongside the subject specialist teaching for Drama, Music and PE, they have lessons in Art, Design & Technology, French and Spanish.
From Year 1, pupils begin to have lessons from a subject specialist teacher in our dedicated Art Studio. Topics studied include Monet and Impressionism, Use of Colour, The Tudors, Kandinsky and Abstract Art. Pupils are able to use a wide range of techniques and materials, including collage, printing, painting, pastels and photographs.
Starting in Year 1, pupils are taught Design & Technology in the well-resourced workshop by a subject specialist teacher. These lessons are taught in half-class groups to allow a high staff to pupil ratio when using tools. Some of the topics covered in Key Stage 1 include Axle and Wheel Mechanisms, Masks and Plastic Forming, Wood and Plastic Puzzle Games and Moving Pictures.
Drama continues into Year 1, with pupils building on their confidence when presenting a role to an audience, and developing their speaking and listening skills. Pupils in Year 2 take on the leading roles in the Prep Christmas Production.
The key skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening continue to be developed through a bespoke scheme of work, which follows the National Curriculum requirements. Pupils are exposed to a range of stories, poetry and non-fiction from a range of cultures. Their phonics knowledge is consolidated and extended and they develop a good vocabulary for expressing themselves clearly orally and in writing. Alongside weekly visits to the School Library, a love of reading is strongly encouraged.
Pupils in Years 1 & 2 study both History and Geography in alternating topics. In history, they develop their understand of past and present through discussion, exploration of artefacts and research using non-fiction texts. Current topics include the history of toys, how houses have changed, famous historical figures, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Louise Braille and Mary Seacole, and events such as The Great Fire of London. Geographical studies include learning about our local area, different and contrasting cultures, and how to use maps, atlases and globes.
From Year 1, pupils have a dedicated Computing lesson with timetabled access to the School computers, alongside ongoing use of our banks of laptops and iPads. Topics include age-appropriate internet and digital safety, basic keyboard and mouse skills, word processing, creating an e-book, spreadsheets, coding and writing algorithms.
Pupils learn French and Spanish on a two-termly rotation. The topics include greetings, classroom instructions, numbers, colours, food, animals and parts of the body. The lessons are taught by subject specialists and are lively and interactive, using a range of media and songs to help consolidate their learning.
Pupils’ mathematics skills are built on using a range of resources and are tracked against the National Curriculum. Pupils develop their understanding of the key areas of Number, including place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and fractions; Measurement; Geometry, including properties of shapes and position and direction; and Statistics.
Pupils continue with their specialist Music lessons in the dedicated Music suite. They are also invited to join Prep Choir and Prep Violin Club, both of which are taken as extra-curricular activities. All pupils in the Prep Department perform in the Summer Concert.
Pupils continue to develop their skills in dance, gymnastics and games. Lessons take place in the Main School Hall and the playground and are taught by our specialist PE Department. In the Summer Term pupils compete individually and in teams in the annual Prep Sports Day.
The skills of Scientific Enquiry are taught through a range of topics, including Ourselves, Properties of Materials, Animals, Light and Dark, Electricity and Forces.
A range of special events and outings are arranged to support teaching and learning. Pupils in the Prep Department enjoy visits from authors, storytellers, poets and illustrators alongside workshops to support drama and humanities topics. Parents are welcomed into School to talk about the customs and traditions associated with their beliefs or cultures. Recent school trips have included visits to the Museum of Childhood, The Tower of London, Gunpowder Mills, the RAF Museum and Whipsnade Zoo.