Curriculum Subjects

 

Practical Life/PHSE

 

Sensorial Education

 

English /Literacy 

 

Mathematics  

History

 

Geography

 

Zoology & Botany 

 

Drama/Music

 

French

 

Spanish

 

Art

 

Science & Information Technology

Physical Education – Football, Bell Boating & Rock Climbing

 

English

The English curriculum develops competent and enthusiastic readers, writers, speakers and communicators. We place particular emphasis upon extending children’s reading abilities, analytical skills and oral and written vocabulary.

 

Speaking and Listening

 

All children are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to regularly contribute to circle time in the pre-school where children recount events and experiences. Throughout their time at school, children use good speech, appropriate vocabulary and correct grammatical forms. Public speaking skills are developed through participation in drama and role play, retelling stories, presentations, poetry recitation, speech delivery, plays and school productions.

 

Reading

 

Our curriculum uses the Oxford Reading scheme from pre-school and throughout the early years. Children are motivated to read in an environment which displays print and where print is used for a purpose. Reading should be an enjoyable activity. It is important that teachers and parents work together to give all children support, encouragement and patience to develop at their own rate. As well as daily reading sessions, children should read each night at home; in the early years, this should take the form of reading and discussing the stories in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Allow your child to point to each word if it helps them. Discuss the pictures and the story and predict what will happen next. In the older years, students should read aloud as well as silently and listen to reading, such as pre-recorded stories. Discussion of reading text is still a useful aid in the older years as it is in the younger years. Each child has a reading record book. After listening to your child read, please sign and make a comment about their reading. In upper prep, children will continue to keep a reading record. Parents should listen to their child read on a weekly basis and make a note in their reading logs. As children mature further in their reading they will be reading silently each night and writing their own comments in their reading record.

In lower prep, the children are involved in guided reading sessions. Guided reading is a strategy that helps students become good readers. The teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, and so forth). In upper prep your child must read widely from a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. Children practise gathering information from a range of sources and implement skills of skimming, scanning and summarising. Weekly comprehension practice will encourage reasoning, opinion making and predicting. Children will be given a chance to discuss how or why a writer is using language in a particular way. They will also begin to analyse the deeper meaning in a text, so as to be able to think both analytically and eventually critically about their reading material. During elementary, pupils are encouraged to develop a critical awareness of reading materials through oral and written activities, selecting sentences, phrases and relevant information to support their views. Children will be encouraged to identify different layers of meaning in a text and comment on their significance.

 

Writing

 

Through reading, children become aware that writing is a purposeful and meaningful method of communication. Children have frequent opportunities to develop their writing skills. From the early scribbles to more complex sentences children are praised constructively. (Montessori materials encourage writing). All children are encouraged to say sounds when trying to write a word. They then develop sentence structure and begin to use simple punctuation. Children write in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres throughout their time at The Pier Head Prep. In the upper prep class, the students begin to write analytically. Children develop their writing structurally as well as stylistically in both their creative and analytical writing.

 

Spelling

During lower prep, children should be positively encouraged when trying to spell words. It is important at this early stage to just ‘have a go’. It is an approach where the individual learns the sounds represented by letters and then letter combinations. The child then attempts to blend these sounds to pronounce small words. As the child develops, the blending becomes more complex (see Montessori literary programme in the pre-school prospectus). In lower prep depending on the child, different spelling words every week will encourage your child to look at the patterns in the words to make learning easier. Confidence is very important. Be positive towards their efforts. Informal testing takes place throughout lower prep and more formal weekly spelling tests start from upper prep. Pupils continue to extend on the phonics and spelling work from previous years with an emphasis on sound blends and high frequency words. Pupils in upper prep use dictionaries and thesauruses regularly to help them find and read words correctly.

 

Handwriting

The children concentrate on learning the correct starting point of each of the lower case letters from pre- school and lower prep. Writing with flicks is encouraged as this makes it easier when the children learn to join their letters. Children are expected to present their work neatly and tidily.

 

 

Mathematics

Through mathematics it is our aim to:

  • Provide children with a positive attitude towards mathematics.

  • Develop inquisitive minds, encouraging the ability to question

  • Eencourage children to become independent when tackling mathematical problems

  • Heighten awareness of mathematics in our society

  • Promote a high level of children's numerical skills

  • Match learning experiences to the abilities, needs and expectations of the children

  • Build a framework from which we can ensure continuity and progression throughout the school

  • Develop children's understanding that mathematics can be used as a form of communication

  • Have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system

  • Know by heart number facts such as number bonds, multiplication tables, doubles and halves

  • Use what they know by heart to figure out numbers mentally

  • Calculate accurately and efficiently, both mentally and in pencil and paper methods, drawing on a range of calculation strategies

  • Recognise when it is appropriate to use a calculator and be able to do so effectively

  • Make sense of number problems, including non-routine problems and recognise the operations needed to solve them

  • Explain their methods and reasoning using correct mathematical terms

  • Judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them where necessary

  • Suggest suitable units for measuring and make sensible estimates of measurements

  • Explain and make predictions from the numbers in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables

  • Develop spatial awareness and an understanding of the properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes 

 


Children are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their mathematical skills through group work, paired work and individual work. Children engage in a range of activites including development of mental strategies, written methods, practical work, investigational work, problem-solving, mathematical discussion, consolidation of basic skills and number facts.

 

Science

The aim of science is for children to explore and interact with their physical environment using first hand experiences. Children will be encouraged to observe, classify, raise questions, plan, measure, and interpret data.

 

They are encouraged to observe, predict and investigate.

 

Children naturally explore the world around them from a very early age.

 

Topics are developed that relate to their interests and every day experiences so that curiosity is stimulated and pupils are motivated to understand and interpret the world around them.

 

Science is an important medium for developing and promoting other areas of the curriculum.

 

Science stimulates language development by providing opportunities for oral and written responses. It is a motivator for practising and developing reading skills and encourages the purposeful use of mathematical skills and concepts. It promotes creativity and inventiveness and allows children to develop their independent thinking skills.

Children are encouraged to turn suggested concepts and their own ideas into a form that can be investigated. With teacher support, pupils will learn to plan these investigations.

 

Upper prep pupils are encouraged to select suitable equipment to use for experiments with only limited teacher guidance. They are encouraged to recognise the need for fair tests and to decide what evidence should be collected.

 

Pupils will learn to make a series of observations and measurements and learn to plot clear tables and graphs.

 

History

History develops an awareness of the past and present and ways in which these change.

Our aims are:

  • To introduce children to the past

  • To establish a sense of time

  • To encourage the investigation of change and continuity

  • To understand cause and effect

  • To foster an empathy with people and events of the past

  • To develop an appreciation of human achievements, aspirations and values

  • To develop the use of historical sources

  • To develop understanding of interpretations of history

  • To provide opportunities for first hand experience through fieldwork, role-play and use of artefacts

  • To communicate clearly, employing a wide range of media

  • To provide children with a framework in which to place major issues and events in the history of the war

 

Drama

 

The main aims of drama at The Pier Head Prep are:

  • To engage with a variety of performance art forms

  • To explore values, attitudes, feelings and meanings through drama, music and dance

  • To develop the ability to create, appreciate and make critical judgements about the performing arts

  • To work independently and in teams; to share arts experiences and present artworks to others  

  • To increase active and independent involvement in opportunities to engage in the performing arts

  • To provide opportunities to develop self-esteem, confidence and maturity through participation in the arts

 

Information and Communication Technology

Computers are used as tools to handle information and communicate. It is vital that all students gain confidence and competence in using ICT to prepare them for present and later life. The use of ICT can also enhance and extend a child’s learning across all curriculum areas. When students use ICT they are obtaining a set of skills that are required for the routines of life and work and for pleasure and creativity in the future. ICT allows children to:

  • Draft and redraft their work with less effort than with pencil and paper

  • Combine words and images to produce a professional looking piece of work

  • Test out ideas and present them in different ways to various audiences

  • Investigate and make changes in computer models and see what happens as a result

  • Store and handle large amounts of information in different ways

  • Do things quickly and easily that would have been time consuming and tedious if done by hand

  • Experience, through simulations, things that would be difficult or dangerous for them to attempt in real life

  • Communicate with others over a distance via email or the internet

The ICT curriculum is organised by teaching new skills which progressively build upon each other each week. The predominant mode of working in IT is whole class teaching in the class.

 

Paired and individual work is used where appropriate in the classroom. From lower prep upwards, the children all receive one ICT lesson per week. The children are encouraged to become independent users. They develop skills in mouse control. In upper prep, the children are all strongly encouraged to touch-type.

 

French

 

At The Pier Head Prep, children benefit from being introduced to French at an early age. All children engage in french on a weekly basis continuing to study the language as they progress through the school.

The aims of teaching French at The Pier Head Prep School are as follows:

  • To teach children to recognise and understand French in the spoken and the written form of the language

  • To teach children to communicate in French using the spoken and the written form of the language

  • To give children a thorough linguistic training that will aid them in learning other foreign languages

  • To increase children’s cultural awareness through learning about the history, geography, arts and popular culture of France and other Francophone countries.

  • To stimulate the natural intellectual curiosity of children and to encourage them to become independent learners

  • To foster positive attitudes towards foreign cultures and to support the multi-cultural atmosphere of the school by encouraging the children to make linguistic links between other languages and French.

 

From Pre-School to upper prep, the children are introduced to French primarily through exposure to the spoken language. This consists of learning vocabulary and language patterns through active individual participation in songs (often using actions), finger rhymes, story-telling, drawing, colouring and acting.  Lessons use a multi-sensory and stimulating approach that appeals to the different learning styles of individual children.

In upper prep, children start developing their reading skills and they start learning French grammar and cultural facts. From Upper prep, children begin studying written French more closely and being to learn spellings and simple grammatical constructions.

‘If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

Personal, Social and Health Education 

At The Pier Head Preparatory School, we teach personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship, as it enables children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community. In so doing, we help develop their sense of self-worth. We teach them how society is organised and governed. We ensure that they experience the process of democracy by creating a school council. We teach them about rights and responsibilities. They learn to appreciate what it means to be a positive member of a diverse multicultural society.

The aims of personal, social and health education and citizenship are to:

  • Enable the children to know and understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle

  • Be aware of safety issues

  • Understand what makes for good relationships with others

  • Have respect for others

  • Be independent and responsible members of the school community

  • Be positive and active members of a democratic society

  • Develop self-confidence and self-esteem and make informed choices regarding personal and social issues

  • Develop good relationships with other members of the school and the wider community

 

Art

 

Through art in the curriculum we aim to encourage children to look critically at their world - a world which relies heavily on communication. We endeavour to develop skills and techniques, encouraging the children to develop confidence and competence in art. 

It is an aim that all children will take part in extra-curricular creative art during their time at school. All our children will have the opportunity to express themselves through a variety of mediums and are introduced to the work of artists from many periods and cultures.

 

Physical Education


Physical health and fitness are addressed through the active participation in a weekly organised programme. Children will also be encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities. We will work closely with parents and children to decide what extra-curricular activities we should have on offer for the children.

 

Music

 

Music is introduced in the pre-school as Da Capo along with the recorder; children will be encouraged to play a musical instrument.