Pre-Prep Notice Board

 A Peek at our Week…

Little Raindrops have been making the most of the lovely sunshine this week. We have been off on mini-beast hunts and having endless fun on the rainbow playground and enjoying lots of sensory play. We have discovered numbers which were hiding in the sand and creating words with our new sound ‘y’ in flour, using our sieves.

The Sunbeams have been enjoying their under the sea theme this week. They have been making sea animals with play dough and making sea scenes with shells, fish and coral. In maths, sunbeams have been learning about polygons and parallelograms.

Reception Taster Day
Many thanks to the Sunbeams and their families who joined us on Saturday for a mini beast themed Reception taster morning. We made delicious crudité critters out of fruit, veg and cream cheese (not shaving foam as one mother thought!); beautiful chromatography butterflies; tiny matchbox mini beasts and clever Matisse style snail collages. The morning was finished off with a fun mini beast hunt around the school grounds, whilst the parents enjoyed coffee in the Drawing Room. It was a lovely morning – we are so glad the parents and children had such a good time.

Rainbow class have also been learning about 2D shapes this week and spent a glorious lesson outside guessing shapes in a feely bag and drawing them on the pavement. We also continued our work with The Sword in the Stone, by innovating the story and testing out the density of different materials around the school with our little homemade swords!

This week Acorns have created a ‘Northern Lights’ scene using a cd rom and learnt about how the lights are created. We visited the ICT room to begin writing their letters of application to joy ‘Sir Ernest Shackleton’s’ voyage to Antarctica explaining why they though they should be selected.

This week Dragonflies have impressed us by being able to solve lots of tricky additions and subtractions problems. In geography, the class have learnt about magnetic North have been able to navigate themselves to various points around the school grounds using a compass.

Steam Engine Visit

Pre Prep had an exciting visit of a miniature steam engine. It is a half size model of an original steam traction engine. The children were taught about how steam engines work and what they
were used for. They were then treated to a ride around the grounds which made for many smiles all around.

Mountfitchet Castle

Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 had a fantastic day at Mountfitchet Castle. We investigated all the dwellings in the outer bailey, climbed towers, tried on helmets, ground wheels, went in the stocks and even got locked in jail!

We also thoroughly enjoyed the toy museum and loved playing the games using old pennies! The highlight of our day was easily the catapult demo using water balloons. The children all had a go at pulling the ropes and also at being the targets. I think I got the wettest of all when a rogue water balloon got me whilst I was taking photos!

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Nursery had a wonderful time in their ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ drama work shop when Pyjama Drama came to visit. They pulled on their magic shoes and set off on their adventure to find the Mad Hatter. They transformed into scaredy scarecrows who had to tip toe past the queen of hearts. The highlight was meeting the wonderful white rabbit and enjoying delicious cake and tea with him before they set off on the next part of their adventure.

It was wonderful to see everyone engrossed, animated and excited throughout the whole experience. There was lots of laughter, smiles and many of the children were overheard saying “this is amazing!” We can’t thank Paul and Catherine enough for coming in and running this wonderful workshop, the children truly did have a fantastic time.

Easter Afternoon Tea
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Easter Afternoon tea yesterday. The children were so proud of their singing. They were also rather pleased with their delicious baking and the children were delighted to be able to share the afternoon with you.

Spring Sing
What a lovely afternoon we had, with all the Pre-Prep children involved in the Spring Sing. It was so nice to see each and every child on the stage sing-ing with their peers and an extra well done to the individual musicians who played their pieces with confidence and poise.

Visit from Chilton Primary
Rainbow class enjoyed a visit from our friends at Chilton Primary School yesterday. The Reception classes met in the Pre-Prep, then we showed them our wonderful new library and enjoyed some story telling. The children chose the characters, setting and exciting event and Mrs. Webster’s imagination did the rest! After that, we had a delicious snack in the dining room – it was everyone’s favourite….pizza twirls! Finally, we joined Mrs. Powell for a very exciting drama workshop. It was so lovely for the children in both classes and we really enjoyed being hosts for the morning.

Head of Pre-Prep blog…

A place to learn. How we use continuous provision in the Early Years.

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘the children are learning through play’? This is a very over-used sentence, but the concept is exactly why the EYFS years are so vital to a child’s development.

Whether playing at home, in the garden or at school, children are accessing and developing so many different skills without realising they are even doing it. While building Lego with Mummy or Daddy, for example, the children are working on their fine motor control – moving and handling; making relation-ships – taking turns, sharing and initiating play; listening and attention – following instructions and main-taining attention; and self-awareness – making plans and reassessing where necessary. Can you believe they can achieve so much in one simple activity!
Having larger groups of children at school, our objective is to provide an environment where children can continue their learning when an adult is not working directly with them – this is what we call ‘continuous provision’ – the provision continues!

Within the school day, staff are working with individual children or small groups of children a lot of the time and whilst we are doing this the other children are accessing the continuous provision. The wonder-ful Alistair Bryce-Clegg, an education consultant specialising in Early Years education, says that we facili-tate the learning, but the children are engaging with it. They are problem solving, creating and achieving through the learning we have provided in the classroom.

We have many different areas for continuous provision, in our Nursery and Reception classrooms, which are constantly changing: role play, malleable materials (playdoh), funky fingers (fine motor control), small world play (story telling), mark making, construction, investigation and the outside area. These areas are a constant part of our classrooms, and we enhance them regularly, based on a topic, story or objective. For example, when we were learning about fairy tales, I added some quills and ribbons into the mark making area and the children became very excited making scrolls full of emerging writing. We are even able to target specific objectives for a child through our continuous provision. For example, if a child is struggling with their pencil control, we might enhance the Playdoh area with chopsticks for poking and the outside area with playground chalk.

So, next time you ask your child ‘what did you do at school today?’ and they answer ‘we played’ – you can be assured that they have had a very enriching, educational day and have probably achieved too many development goals to even try and list!

Pre-Prep visit to Kinetic Science Centre

We are delighted to confirm that we have booked for all the Pre-Prep children to visit a brand new science centre in Bury St. Edmunds in March. Year 1 and Year 2 will be attending a Kitchen Chemistry Roadshow, which includes hands-on experiments and includes chromatography and substance separation. Nursery and Reception will be taking part in a Sensory Roadshow which includes smells, touch, sight and sound. Both visits are within the school day and children will wear their normal school uniform.

Smile Week

We had a week full of smiles this week. Well done, to all the children, who passed around their paper smiles, accompanied by a wonderful smile of their own. We talked about how smiling can be infectious (in a good way!) and how we feel when someone smiles at us. The older children also filled in their Happy Self Journal each day – an excellent way to assess their day and focus on the things that they enjoyed and made them happy.

We love reading!

In honour of the new library opening, we have turned our Pre-Prep front hall into Book Land, with lots of super displays and information. We will be focusing on a different author each week, so do make time to stop and read the ‘Author of the Moment’ board as it changes.

Baby & Toddler Group

On Tuesday mornings we welcome all ages of babies and toddlers into the Pre-Prep for our Baby and Toddler group – a great insight into life at Old Buckenham Hall. Set in our beautiful new Nursery classroom, influenced by Reggio and Montessori learning environments, the children are able to make use of our new natural resources, role-play areas and creative corners. Each week has an exciting theme (this week was Space!) which is represented through a craft activity, small world play and specially created tuff/texture trays. We also have a lovely selection of sensory baby toys and fine motor control activities.

Our Pre-Prep teaching staff pop in throughout the morning to meet the families and catch up with regulars. We are always happy to answer questions about our Nursery and Pre-Prep and enjoy running specialist sessions with the babies and toddlers. Mrs. Webster runs a regular music slot and Miss Sarah runs a half termly drama session, which the children can dip in and out of.

I must not forget to mention the delicious home-baked goodies and fruit platter, fresh from the Old Buckenham Hall kitchens, along with tea and coffee for the grown-ups. New families join us most weeks and love getting to know everyone. It is not just a Baby and Toddler group but a welcome to the OBH community.

Pre-Prep and Year 8 joint project

The Year 8s are undertaking a very exciting project in their OBE lessons this year – they are designing and building an outdoor classroom for the Pre-Prep in the pod of trees behind the South Lawn. Last Friday they all squeezed into the Reception classroom (and into the Reception chairs) and presented their ideas to the Nursery and Reception children, along with the staff. They were polite and courteous and we were incredibly impressed with how much effort they put into their presentations. The Nursery and Reception children are really looking forward to starting on clearing the area with the Year 8s next week!

Treasure Hunt

On Tuesday afternoon, Rainbow class headed out for their treasure hunt around the school – to spot the last signs of Autumn. To our surprise, about three clues in, we found a team of Year 3 and 4 children who had been following our clues during their break time, with the assistance of two Year 8s. They were so excited to see us and we were so pleased that our treasure hunt had provided so much fun!

Christmas Jumper Day

A slight change in the printed calendar. We will be having our Pre-Prep Christmas lunch on the same day as the Prep School this year, so please can children wear their Christmas jumpers (with uniform) on Tuesday, 11th December.

Macmillan Coffee Afternoon

We had such a wonderful afternoon – the sun shone, as did the amazing Year 2s running their stalls. So many parents commented on how proud they were of their child taking ownership of their game/stall. They had the patter down to a tee and really impressed us all with their handling of the money and change. “Only 10p a go!” and “Would you like 2 games or 10p change?” Thank you to all the parents who also helped out with the stalls and to everyone who kindly donated cakes for the cake stall. A superb total of £230.60 raised…and still more coming in!

Our New Nursery School

Everyone has been working very hard over the summer clearing out, stripping, painting and refitting our Nursery. We are now proud to be eco-responsible. With eco-friendly heaters and lighting, wooden flooring and blinds, wooden/PBA free furniture and storage, lots of gorgeous new eco and natural resources. Please do pop in and see it if you have not already.