Prep I benefits from outstanding teaching

Nursery and Prep I enjoy the Forest School.

Prep I at St Augustine’s Priory is an excellent place for any girl to begin her academic career.  It benefits from outstanding teaching, weekly outdoor lessons in our extensive grounds and a rich and stimulating curriculum.

The pupils in Prep I are currently making exceptional progress in Literacy. Daily phonics, individual reading sessions and opportunities for writing ensure that they develop excellent literacy skills. They are all now writing their own sentences independently. This term some of their writing opportunities have included writing letters, stories and also a non-fiction book. We are really enjoying seeing them growing as independent readers and writers and choosing to read and write in school more and more.

Prep I provision is Outstanding (ISI Inspection Report). Girls make exceptional progress because they benefit from excellent teaching delivered by the Head of Pre-Preps and Preps and from the most highly qualified level of teaching assistants. They learn in a stimulating, inspirational environment enabling the strongest possible start.

In addition, specialist teachers take Prep I each week for PE, Music, Ballet and ‘Little Languages’ lessons so that they experience a rich and stimulating curriculum. Prep I benefit from weekly Forest School sessions which take place outside in our extensive grounds so that children can gain a deeper understanding of our world in a natural learning environment.

At the Forest School the students take care of the living things they see, including plants, trees, the willow structures, birds and mini-beasts and they never pick the flowers. The children have the opportunity for creative play are given the freedom to explore different ways of being, feeling, behaving and interacting because they have the physical, mental and emotional space to be active. They worked together co-operatively, collaborating and sharing ideas.

This week at Forest School, the Nursery and Prep I gathered in the meadow with the theme this week of ‘The Gruffalo’, based on the award-winning book by Julia Donaldson. The students gathered in the Forest School base where they re-capped the Forest School rules. Miss Keane talked to the girls and boys about how to be safe around the fire, how they must not run, they must stand and sit well back from the fire by the benches and listen carefully to instructions from the teachers. Miss Keane encouraged the children to enjoy the experience of sitting around the campfire and to think about what they can see, smell, hear and feel around them.

The children divided into groups to make something for the Gruffalo’s feast. They went off exploring the meadow, and filled their bowls with various ingredients they found. The different groups had to make a Gruffalo Crumble, Owl Icecream, Scrambled Snake and a Roasted Fox. The children collected sticks and leaves from the ground and the group who made the Owl Icecream also added some screams into their bowl!

The groups then gathered back and enjoyed a campfire, carefully tendered by Mr Mortimer, complete with hot chocolate and Gruffalo brownies. They ended the Forest School lesson with the Gruffalo song and dance.

The session encouraged the children to manage risks and stay safe around fire. Children benefit enormously in participating in higher-risk activities such as the campfire which are only available to them until certain behaviours and boundaries are established. They are encouraged and supported in recognising and managing risk for themselves, through real life situations and experiences. Forest School also encourages children to be curious and interested in their natural environment and to care for the world around them.

All the children displayed excellent behaviour, followed the Forest School safety rules and thoroughly enjoyed the Gruffalo’s Feast!