Welcome to Pre-Prep
The Pre-Prep department looks after children aged 3 to 7 years beginning with entry to Nursery at the age of 3 years, to children in Year 2.
From an early age, we want to foster a love of learning and curiosity. Pre-Prep children are given as many opportunities as possible to develop a broad range of hobbies and interests, including after school activities. We have three dedicated Pre-Prep buildings which benefit from a library, gymnasium, music and ICT rooms, as well as spacious and welcoming classrooms fully equipped with dynamic learning resources.
The Pre-Prep curriculum is designed to meet the needs, challenge and enable our younger children to thrive. The Pre-Prep curriculum establishes a firm structure upon which future learning can be built. Within small classes, each child’s talents are identified and developed. A spirit of enquiry is fostered through imaginative and creative learning.
Nursery (3 – 4 years)
Children first enter the School into Nursery in the September following their third birthday. We have three classes of 20 children, and aim for an equal split of boys and girls. Nursery children are taught by a qualified teacher in a class of 20, supported by a qualified early years teaching assistant. The children wear their school uniform for the first time and are always very excited to be joining ‘big school’!
Nursery children can start part-time, five mornings a week for the first two terms, but all pupils are expected to move to full-time by the Trinity Term (Summer). This helps to prepare them for the move to Reception a few months later.
At The Blue Coat School, Early Years Foundation Staff (EYFS) staff aim to promote and nurture the sense of wonder and curiosity that children of this age naturally possess. Through the EYFS curriculum the children develop an ability to question and to think for themselves.
Access to individual music lessons starts at an early age at The Blue Coat School, and children in Nursery and Reception can begin piano or violin lessons with one of our visiting music teachers.
Find out more about Nursery life, the curriculum and how to register for a place here.
Reception (4 – 5 years)
The children move up to Reception following their fourth birthday. With only a few exceptions, all our pupils continue their Blue Coat journey from Nursery, into Reception, and therefore places to enter the School at this age group are very limited.
In Reception, the children follow the EYFS Areas of learning and development. There are three prime areas: communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development. There are also four specific areas: literacy; mathematics; understanding the world; and expressive arts and design.
Topics and themes are developed according to the interests of the children. Activities are planned for the children throughout the day but there are lots of opportunities for the children to explore their own ideas and interests too. Learning is predominantly through play and exploration. Play is the natural way in which children learn, it is the process through which children can explore, investigate, recreate and come to understand their world.
The children are supported in their learning by the class teacher and the teaching assistant. Activities are planned for each child’s individual needs and stage of development. Blue Coat School children make excellent progress following a broad and balanced curriculum.
The children’s physical development is supported each week in PE lessons in the Pre-Prep Gym, swimming lessons and outdoor learning opportunities in our play areas. Regular visits to Forest School offer a chance for your child’s holistic development, encouraging them to be independent, curious and creative learners.
Year 1 (5 – 6 years)
In Key Stage 1 (KS1) at The Blue Coat School, the teaching programme is based on the national curriculum, but with much more flexibility and room for independent thought, mastery of learning outcomes, and the exploration of topical issues. Progressing from the skills acquired in the EYFS, literacy and numeracy are further developed as key components of the teaching programme.
In Year 1, the children’s school day is structured. They have a Maths and English lesson each morning and other subjects are taught in the afternoons. This is the first time that they have been taught specific subjects and so it is a new challenge for them. The curriculum is carefully planned and structured to foster links between the different subjects. They are encouraged to explore and find out things for themselves.
Children in Year 1 will be taught specific subjects such as computing and creative arts. The majority of lessons will be taught by their class teacher, but some lessons such as PE, games, swimming and music will be taught by specialist teachers.
All subjects are made as hands-on as possible to make these early experiences unforgettable and rewarding. Our topics are reviewed and altered from year to year to ensure our curriculum is current, innovative and exciting. Most half terms include an enrichment day linked to the topic to inspire the children to learn more.
Pupils are offered exciting opportunities across a broad range of academic, creative sporting and social activities. They acquire new knowledge, grasp new concepts and progress according to their ability, thereby increasing their understanding and developing their skills. They have a wide range of co-curricular activities that they can take part in. They can also learn a musical instrument such as the piano, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, singing or drums with the addition of trumpet and guitar from Year 2.
Year 2 (6 – 7 years)
In Year 2, the work becomes more challenging for the children as they are prepared for the transfer to Prep. They are encouraged to become more independent and they learn to organise themselves and their belongings.
Whilst in Pre-Prep, the children will have built up their self-confidence, many will have taken roles on the School Council, they will have led class assemblies and Chapel services, and taken part in productions, concerts and sports days. Children can also sing in the Pre-Prep choir who perform in Chapel services during the year and at the Pre-Prep concert.
In the Lent Term, the children are assessed for entry to Prep and at this time they will be considered for the 7+ Scholarships. The move up to Prep is a seamless transition, and the children all look forward to the excitement of joining the Houses and accessing further facilities and specialist teaching.