The very best of a modern education.
At Berkhamsted Pre-Prep, every decision we make is aimed at offering your child the very best of a modern education. Learning never stands still at Berkhamsted Pre-Prep. We believe in making learning active and encourage the children to approach every day with questions and curiosity so that they want to learn more.
We combine a high-quality standard of teaching and superb facilities with a true understanding of our pupils and their needs.
Learning opportunities are planned to allow our children to question, debate, collaborate and problem-solve from a very young age.
While a focus on academic achievement is key to success, we also believe that opportunities beyond the curriculum are just as important to our pupils’ development and happiness.
We create a warm and welcoming environment where your child will flourish, with the attention and support they need to achieve their best.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
At Berkhamsted Pre-Prep, our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) consists of our Stepping Stones Nursery and our Reception class.
Children join our Stepping Stones Nursery in the September following their third birthday, joining Reception at the age of 4, subject to availability.
We recognise children’s development and learning at this stage as a six-term journey through Nursery and Reception, which is progressive and adapted to each individual child’s needs, designed to increase their confidence and developing them into adventurous young pupils.
Our EYFS curriculum is planned in accordance with the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (DfE 2012).
We focus on three prime areas when children start at our Stepping Stones Nursery:
• Personal, Social and Emotional Development
• Communication and Language Development
• Physical Development
Once the children have settled into their new environment and are secure within these prime areas, the other areas of learning take equal precedence, with the daily experiences encompassing the following core areas of the EYFS curriculum:
• Understanding of the World
• Expressive Arts and Design
We place equal importance on all aspects of the curriculum within the EYFS in order to ensure that each child develops the foundation skills and aptitudes they require for successful learning.
Daily learning is planned to meet the needs of each child and is responsive to every child’s individual interests and developmental needs.
In addition to the EYFS framework, children at our Stepping Stones Nursery also benefit from specialist teaching in Drama, French, Physical Development and Music.
Wellies and waterproof clothing are a must at Berkhamsted Pre-Prep, as our outdoor environment within our extensive grounds provides a multitude of learning opportunities for our children at this very first stage of their educational journey and beyond.
We incorporate Forest School principles into learning, with regular visits to the woods and fields part of our Outdoor Education programme.
Ongoing assessment for learning ensures that we monitor and evaluate each individual child’s learning and the progress they make on a daily basis.
The teaching teams within each class will skilfully observe children – both informally and during adult-led learning – enabling them to plan for their next steps and ensuring learning is progressive, continuous and supportive.
Key Stage One
Key Stage One follows EYFS, as the next educational step before entering Key Stage 2 at Berkhamsted Prep.
Covering Year 1 and Year 2, children are within Key Stage One between the ages of 5 and 7 years.
At Berkhamsted Pre-Prep, we focus on ensuring that the transition between each educational stage is seamless. A thorough preparation for each transition and opportunities built into the curriculum give our children the confidence and motivation to embrace the next steps in their educational journey.
Learning at KS1 is aimed at securing mastery so that children’s knowledge is deep and secure, establishing a strong foundation for pupils’ learning at KS2 and beyond.
Our approach to learning is to engage each child so that they are continuously working within their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), challenging and stretching each child to aim high and achieve their best.
At Berkhamsted Pre-Prep, our daily teaching not only encompasses the factual knowledge required across the curriculum. It is underpinned by a culture of developing learners who are independent, questioning and able to collaborate for enquiry-based and investigational learning.
The curriculum is based on the National Curriculum but further enhanced by specialist teaching in Art, Drama, French, Music and PE.
Our children are taught to self-evaluate their learning using co-written success criteria which enables them to consider their areas of success and to identify their next steps.
We believe an increasing level of independence is central to children’s pastoral development and we actively encourage our children in Year 1 and Year 2 to develop personal responsibility and to be role models for our younger children.
Our personal, social and emotional teaching continues to focus on developing our children’s wellbeing so that they can reflect on the personal qualities needed to be part of a community and further develop their self-esteem and resilience to a mature level.
Children in Year 1 and Year 2 take up positions of responsibility such as School Council and House Captains to develop their early leadership skills.
Consolidating the learning objectives taught at school in a fun and interactive way.
We understand that engaging your child in further study at home can be a challenge, but we believe it is crucial in teaching children to challenge their expectations of what they can achieve, developing them into ambitious, motivated students with the desire to succeed.
We approach homework in a way which is designed to consolidate the learning objectives taught at school in a fun and interactive way.
During the Early Years Foundation Stage, children’s homework focuses on developing their early reading, spelling and problem-solving skills whilst Key Stage One homework includes some project work and investigative tasks.
You will have many opportunities to discuss your child’s homework needs during the Pre-Prep years and we are always very keen to ensure that it is appropriate, purposeful and above all, stress-free for your child.
A Learning-Powered school
At Berkhamsted Pre-Prep we offer our students the opportunity to study “Building Learning Power” BLP.
BLP creates a learning friendly classroom culture, encouraging your child to be an innovative, confident, curious and independent learner.
BLP helps our pupils develop their awareness of how they learn and what they need to practise to improve in each key learning habit.
At Pre-Prep we see its positive impact on a daily basis. Our pupils:
• Understand the different roles that need to be deployed when working together as a team in the classroom. We work to identify and utilise pupils’ complementary strengths to resolve any conflict within the team
• Can explain how different topics and subjects are related and rely on each other
• Know how to improve their communication using active listening and to respond with empathy, understanding and compassion – even when they disagree
• Are able to spot patterns and identify the big picture as well as the fine detail
• Develop strength and resilience by learning how to implement strategies so they can view any failure as a valuable learning opportunity
• Learn how to use questioning as a powerful way of learning by asking probing and insightful questions to mature their understanding and encourage innovative thinking
• Understand the importance of planning ahead and reviewing progress regularly
These skills and habits allow our pupils to develop ownership and control of their own learning, equipping your child with the learning habits and skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century.
If you would like to know more about BLP, talk to our students when you visit our School. We believe they are our best example of the benefits of Building Learning Power.
Why do we offer Building Learning Power?
Estimates now suggest that two-thirds of current school pupils will end up working in roles that don’t yet exist. Teenagers today are expected to have had between 10-15 different jobs by the time they are 40.
Where focus exists concurrently, progress will be made. In addition, establishing the concept of ‘learnable intelligence’ will stimulate independent learning, which in turn will allow pupils to develop their resilience and flexibility when confronted with difficulty.
We believe these core skills will benefit our students as they move through the school and beyond, onto university or an apprenticeship then into the workplace.
Our chosen BLP dispositions
We have chosen dispositions which, between them, represent four areas of development:
Our chosen dispositions are:
• Persevere Explore
• Notice Plan
• Question Review
• Link Collaborate
• Reason Listen
Each disposition is then further subdivided to provide our teachers with opportunities to provide targeted interventions to help each pupil develop their ability to become reflective, independent and interdependent learners.
Our children develop as learners who are confident in their own learning ability. They concentrate more, think harder and find learning more enjoyable.
As dreamy country schools go, the pre-prep is right up there, while the prep – a five minute drive away – is much bigger and so urban it could almost be London.
Staff share an ambitious vision, with high expectations for what all children can achieve and ensure that high standards of learning and care are delivered.
Inside, the emphasis on teaching and learning, as well as cross-curricular, is evident from the glass-covered noticeboards alone – among the largest and most comprehensive we’ve seen.