Subjects studied in the Pre-Prep

"Pupils, from the EYFS onwards, learn to reflect upon and review their work so that they can improve their learning." ISI Inspection 2017

Reception pupils playing togetherEvery encounter and interaction is a learning opportunity. Although we offer a variety of subjects they are in many ways linked. The age of our children means that they have an insatiable appetite to learn, participate, develop and apply their skills.

The breadth of our curriculum allows us to 'tap' into the interests of the children and scaffold their learning. Within Pre-Prep we lay the foundation for life-long learning and the development of skills that will support each individual in being able to make informed choices throughout their lives.

As part of our broad curriculum Drama is embedded into our daily life.

We support the children by listening to them read every day, focusing on the development of their reading skills and encouraging them to be fluent readers who see reading as the "gateway" to their learning. 

We give the children access to a variety of stimulating and appropriate language activities that will help develop their imagination and writing skills.

In short, our curriculum ignites and inspires the imagination of every child. Please see our subject pages below for additional information.


Pre-Prep pupil reading book

We aim to give children a firm grounding in English. Our pupils have opportunities to share their ideas, learning to listen carefully and communicate confidently and effectively with others.

English is about being an effective communicator and throughout Pre-Prep the children are challenged and inspired to engage with rich texts and topics which build upon a progressive ladder of skills. Phonics is taught from Reception onwards and children are supported and encouraged to enjoy books and engage with a variety of texts.


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Maths activities in Pre-Prep are happening all the time.

We channel our children's life experiences into their learning of Mathematics which can take place indoors or outdoors. Maths is very hands-on; it is problem solving, asking questions and learning that there can be more than one answer to a problem.

A good mathematician has confidence in their ability and we nurture this through interactive learning.


Year 1 learn about forces Pre prep girl writing heather butler author visit

Our Pre-Prep science lessons are exciting introductions to the world around us and how it works. We are always asking questions about how, why, where and when things happen. We want to find out what will happen if we do something or change something in one way or another.

We set up fair tests, do practical experiments in the Pre-Prep and in the College grounds. We go on excursions and try things out for ourselves. We make models, draw and write about what we find out.
We do cooking too, which is often delicious but is sometimes very smelly! We grow all kinds of plants inside and outside and we have developed a small pond area in our playground which has fish, snails, water beetles and tadpoles living in it at certain times of the year.

Information and Communication Technology

Ict fireworks

Children live in a computer literate world and ICT is delivered as an integral part of learning as well as a separate subject. We make excellent use of our state-of-the-art computer lab which has 20 computers, colour laser printer, scanner and an interactive white board.

We have a variety of educational software as well as the conventional packages for writing, drawing and maths. The pupils also use the Internet under supervision.

They also have the opportunity to use the computers throughout the week either for group or individual work and their output is used to enhance their displays.

Supported by regular tuition, children learn to recognise the computer as a useful tool within their learning.


Year 1 Fairytale Castle Day Pirate Girl Pre-Prep pupils on World War II Day

The Pre-Prep brings history alive through expeditions to places such as the Royal Air Force museum, where we became evacuees for the day, and Castle Hedingham, where we travelled back in time to 1327 and lived the life of a character from the castle.

An Old Stortfordian described life at the College in the "olden days" and in the College library a magical trunk contains many letters and treasures of a former pupil of the 1920s giving children of the 21st century a very tangible link with their past.

Visitors to school have brought their experiences to share with us. A grandpa who was an evacuee told us amazing tales and answered many questions.


Yr 1 learn about flags of the world 624 6775

Our extensive grounds provide an excellent opportunity for Pre-Prep children to start to explore their local environment.

We build on the children's previous experiences, extending their understanding of geographical vocabulary and geographical features through practical work, discussion and observation. As the children progress through the Pre-Prep they learn to interpret and make simple maps and plans, build models of geographical features, learn to use a compass and an atlas.

They compare our locality, daily life, flora, fauna, climate, landscape and land use with other areas of the world.

The children are aided and abetted by a selection of bears. The intrepid bears accompany the children and staff on holiday and to weekend destinations, both locally and around the world!

In recent months the lucky bears have been skydiving in New Zealand, sat quietly three metres away from a roaring lion in South Africa, seen grizzly cousins in Yellowstone National Park, been on a bike in Brazil, enjoyed the rides at Disneyland and been skiing in the Alps.


Pre-Prep pupil smiling Pre-Prep Harvest Festival

In Pre-Prep we strive to achieve a positive, caring ethos. We have a daily Assembly where we sing together, listen to stories from the Bible and other sources, and pray for ourselves and for the needs of others. Every Wednesday, the College Chaplain, "Mr M" and occasionally "Guy" his grumpy puppet assistant do a Wow! assembly involving stunts and games to illustrate a biblical story.

These community occasions are valued by us all, as times of reflection and spiritual growth. The children enjoy showing their concern for others in many ways and by supporting a variety of good causes. The religious and social teaching within the Pre-Prep aims to increase the children's self esteem and citizenship.

Pre-Prep pupils holding oranges for Christingle Pre prep christingle slide

We celebrate Harvest, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, special events and successes in ways that build a sense of community and purpose. RE and PSHE are examples of how we support our pupils as we lay the foundation on which they can build their future.

Art, Design and Technology

Pre-Prep pupils helping each other Pre-Prep pupils making Christmas paper chains

Throughout the Pre-Prep, children are given opportunities to develop their creative, aesthetic, practical and imaginative skills by exploring and experimenting with a variety of materials and tools.

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Pupils’ creative work is celebrated with our wall displays in the classes and throughout the Pre-Prep building.


Pre-Prep pupils in music concert Pre-Prep pupil playing drums

In the Pre-Prep, we start from nursery rhymes and songs to discover rhythm, pitch and dynamics before beginning to compose and read music from exploratory, as well as standard, score. 

During music lessons, pupils sing, dance, compose and accompany each other using musical instruments from our very good collection of percussion. We listen to and appreciate music from all around the world as well as from different ages.

There are plenty of opportunities to perform musical work in the daily assemblies, concerts and as part of our periodic full scale Pre-Prep productions. 

In Year 1 children begin to read music and learn the recorder. They continue this in Year 2 and are invited to take part in small group violin and cello lessons with our music specialists who share their expertise and love of music.

As part of the whole College family of schools, there are numerous occasions for our very young musicians to learn from, and be inspired by, Prep and Senior School.

Physical Education

Pre-Prep pupil throwing bag on sports dayIW200522100124BSC

We recognise that Physical Education is about physical, mental and social development as our pupils learn to develop the skills to work independently and as part of a team.  Physical Education is taught by specialist teachers who encourage and support all children to participate fully.

Within the Pre-Prep the children experience athletics, introductory gymnastics and learn the skills that lead to 'traditional' games.

Pre-Prep pupil jumping on Sports Day

In addition, all children have a weekly swimming lesson with a specialist teacher. Initially, where appropriate, the children will use our 'learner pool' before progressing to use the main pool. Their learning leads them towards our annual Year Two swimming gala where they share their skills, compete in a healthy secure environment and use their developing physical competence.
Physical Education is seen as an area that allows the children to demonstrate their team and leadership skills as they become confident in their abilities.