Spotlight on: Pre-prep
Our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 teachers on Pre-prep activities this term
Reception – Miss Natalie Shale
The Early Years Foundation Stage Science curriculum encompasses various discussions on ‘Understanding the World’. The current topic of focus is ‘Homes and Houses’ and the girls have been finding out about different kinds of houses around the world. This week they have been looking at materials that people and animals use to make their homes and their reason for choosing said material.
Last week the girls worked as a team to construct their own ‘house’ in the Spinney, using a mixture of natural and man-made materials to make it: remembering to take into consideration which materials were waterproof and how they could use these to make the walls and a roof. This term, the group will continue to investigate a range of materials and carry out different experiments to find out about the properties of these materials. All Science activities at the Pre-prep are very practical, and the girls are encouraged to be inquisitive and come up with their own questions, ideas and predictions that can then be discussed and tested.
At St Mary’s School, Cambridge we are incredibly lucky to have parents who are scientists and one of them, Anati L.’s mum, visited the class last week. She started off by telling the girls that scientists are always curious about everything, so they are always asking questions. When the girls agreed that they like to ask questions, she told them that they were scientists too, which they seemed very pleased about! Anati’s mum told the girls about how important the heart is and how exercise makes the heart beat efficiently. All the girls enjoyed finding out how fast their heart was beating by putting their finger into a very clever little machine, called a pulsometer, that worked out how many times their heartbeat in one minute. Two girls then did some exercise outside for one minute and re-tested their heartbeat and, sure enough, it had increased.
The outdoor classroom provides plenty of opportunity for scientific activities and the Reception class learns a great deal about animals and insects, habitats, life-cycles, plants and trees from hands-on experience. We also visit the Cambridge University Botanic Garden every half term and travel out to Home Farm at Wimpole Hall in the Summer Term.
Year 1 – Mrs Carol Kew
Year 2 – Mrs Kerry Owens
The girls have also been learning about Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin from samples accidentally exposed to mould spores. Asking and answering questions is always encouraged in their Science lessons, to ensure that the girls understand they might need to try and fail before they find the answer... and it might not be what they thought! Recording the process helps them keep track so the correct scientific skills and knowledge are introduced and applied early on. Sometimes that Eureka moment is well worth the hard work.