Pupils in the Pre-Prep Division make their first steps on an exciting educational journey at New Hall in the pursuit of their talents. We do not believe in one single definition of intelligence; for us the question is not, ‘How intelligent is this child?’ but ‘How is this child intelligent?’ We enjoy discovering, sharing and celebrating each and every pupil’s intelligences, whether these manifest themselves in the classroom, on the athletics track, in performances and productions, or in social and emotional interactions…
Learning takes place across our stunning campus, stimulating pupils’ natural desire to explore and investigate. On a tour of the school, one would witness pupils benefiting from the calm and spirituality of the St Francis Chapel, utilising sporting facilities such as the Swimming Pool and Tennis Courts, expressing themselves in the Walkfares Performing Arts centre, and taking in the environmental surroundings on a nature trail.
Our experienced and dedicated staff are here to ensure that every step along the way, pupils’ minds are inspired to learn, and pupils’ hearts are filled with the Gospel values of care, trust and respect.
Educational visits and visitors embed learning further. There have been recent ventures to Hyde Hall, Mersea Island, Hanningfield Reservoir, Boydell’s Farm and Colne Valley Railway, while our Denford Hall has been transformed into a ‘Walk with Dinosaurs’, 17th century plague-ridden London, and a Victorian household. The Pre-Prep Division takes part fully in Preparatory Divisions themed weeks and days, such as STEM week and World Book Day.
In our Pre-Reception class, pupils settle quickly into daily routines, enjoy learning through play, and develop socially and emotionally in a warm and welcoming environment. Our activities are planned to facilitate the Early Years Foundation Stage seven areas of learning and development:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal,social and emotional development
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
Key workers work with small groups of pupils, nurturing their interests and encouraging curiosity in the learning environment. Pupils’ literacy and mathematical abilities are developed through learning experiences that prepare them for Reception. In addition, children are introduced to the timetabled subjects of French, Music, Dance and Physical Education, taught by specialist teachers, as in the rest of the year groups in the Preparatory Divisions.
As pupils progress into Reception, they build on their foundations and work towards the Early Years Goals. The greater level of formality in the classroom environment enables our pupils to reach impressive levels of attainment, although there remains an emphasis on child-initiated learning opportunities.
Pupils in both Pre-Reception and Reception enjoy a weekly Forest School session in a woodland area within the impressive grounds. Here, they develop independence, confidence, problem-solving skills, cooperation, and an appreciation of the natural environment.
In Years 1 and 2, pupils flourish and thrive as they develop a ‘growth mind-set’ through New Hall’s learning habits:
- showing persistence;
- embracing challenge;
- appreciating feedback;
- using big-picture thinking;
- being aware of next-step targets
A stimulating curriculum provides opportunities to contextualise knowledge, to practise skills and to broaden understanding. Pupils find their ‘voice’ in the school, using the School Councillor representative for their class as a channel of communication. Our pupils become outward-looking, developing an appreciation of how they can contribute to their community and to society in general. Regular fundraising events and opportunities for charitable work give our pupils a sense of service to others.
The well-being of every pupil in the Pre-Prep Division is of paramount importance, and our close-knit team works together to ensure all are welcomed, happy and safe in our community. The leadership team, teaching staff, resident Chaplain and chaplaincy team, catering and domestic teams, administration staff, midday supervisors, After School Care team, welfare assistants and pupil support manager all carry out their responsibilities towards pupil wellbeing with professionalism, enthusiasm and warmth.
A day in the Pre-Prep Division is a day filled with moments of laughter and reflection, awe and wonder. We aim to provide the ‘best start in life’. For us, that means facilitating the transformation into independent thinkers who wake in the morning keen to see their friends and begin learning, and who on the way home are eager to answer the question, “What did you learn at school today?”.