Spotlight on: Pre-prep

Spotlight on: Pre-prep

Our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 teachers on Pre-prep activities this term

Reception – Miss Natalie Shale

The Autumn Term has had a fantastic start in ‘Helen Keller’ class (Reception) and it’s hard to believe that the girls have only been in their new school for just over two weeks. One of our topics this term is ‘All about me’ and the girls have been finding out lots of interesting information about each other. They looked at some self-portraits by different artists and Miss Shale was very impressed with the wonderful self-portraits that the girls did using a mixture of hard and soft pastels.

Mr Matthew O’Reilly has been a frequent visitor to the Reception classroom and the girls enjoy telling him all about what they have been doing. Lexi S. took great pleasure in showing Mr O’Reilly all the letter sounds on our mats. Everyone has been working hard in the Sensory Garden to help with the weeding and composting that needed to be done before autumn planting. The girls have planted lots of tulips and will be planting daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, alliums and hyacinths over the next few weeks, hoping for a blaze of colour in the spring.

The group has also made two wonderful bug hotels to provide a lovely home for the smaller wildlife in the garden – no doubt the girls will all be inspired by trips to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden during the term. There was great excitement when the girls tried out new bikes and protective gear, and everyone kept safe thanks to the helpful police women and lollipop ladies!


Year 1 – Mrs Carol Kew

The first weeks of Year 1 have been filled with the exciting topic of Beatrix Potter. The girls are studying her books, and other books written about animals, they are learning about animal classification in Science. Also, the girls are looking at how the first books ever were handwritten as part of their History studies, everyone has cut quill feathers to experience writing with ink. Year 1 has chosen Beatrix Potter as their inspirational woman and the group will now be known as the ‘Beatrix Potter’ class. The girls were surprised to find out that not only was she a prolific writer but that she was also a renowned illustrator, that she published her own books, and also became a sheep farmer.

When Mrs Kew first spoke about Beatrix Potter the girls immediately thought of Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, but they were less likely to think of mushrooms. Beatrix Potter studied mycology and painted hundreds of detailed pictures, and the girls pretended to be mycologists, looking through magnifying glasses so that they too could produce detailed studies of fungi. They have had an excellent start to the term, not least because after the girls have spent time working so hard in the classroom, there is now a fantastic new playground for them to enjoy during break and lunchtimes.

Year 2 – Mrs Kerry Owens

By now parents will all have seen the lovely new Coach House playground, complete with hopscotch, alphabet serpent and snakes and ladders – and the look of surprise on the children's faces as they returned to school after the summer was lovely to see, and they are thoroughly enjoying the extra space. Another change parents might have noticed is the new class names – Helen Keller for Reception and Beatrix Potter for Year 1 as mentioned above. Year 2 will be ‘Mary Anning’ class, chosen by Mrs Owens because the girls will learn about Anning later in the term as part of their dinosaur topic. Her story is an inspiring one and some of her finds are kept in the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, which Year 2 will visit soon.

Currently the girls are learning about minibeasts and this has been a bumper year for collecting. The group studied snails very closely with magnifying glasses and learnt about their unusual features. Mrs Owens single-handedly collected 24 snails from her front drive the evening before the lesson, and it was well worth doing so as the girls used their scientific observational skills very well and then their creative skills to write snail poems, which will soon be put up on the wall.


The group, armed with bug boxes, tweezers and paint brushes for gently lifting small living things, went to the woods and Sensory Garden and achieved a yield beyond expectation; spiders, caterpillars, centipedes, woodlice, slugs and slugs eggs were all collected. The girls drew what they’d found in detail and the next stage will be to begin classifying their minibeasts, and setting up an investigation to discover what snails eat (no spoilers please!). A lady who knows a great deal about moths will also visit the class to show some live specimens. You may, at this stage, wonder how dinosaurs and Mary Anning come into the picture; the girls will look at other animal groups and this links nicely with the historical aspect of extinct reptiles. If anyone has a pet tortoise, Mrs Owens would be grateful to borrow one for an upcoming lesson!