Preparatory School

Curriculum

 

We value every child in our care. Whatever their ability, we give children the learning environment, the opportunities and the encouragement they need to develop their personal potential.

As an independent school we are able to go beyond the confines of the National Curriculum. There is emphasis on the core subjects, since future success in all areas of a child’s education is founded on reading, writing, numeracy skills, speaking and listening. Specialist teachers ensure a firm foundation in science, the humanities, modern languages, PE and the creative arts, together with lessons in religious and moral education. ICT is taught as a subject in its own right, and as a tool for learning.

Learning outdoors at Alton School is fun!

Children in the Lower Prep at Alton love spending time outdoors. Whatever the weather, children and staff are well-equipped to take their teaching and learning to the outdoor classroom and into our 19 acres of grounds.

The emphasis is on active, hands-on experiences which are fun. Exploring tepees in the woods, growing plants and vegetables, sorting natural materials into sets or taking part in an exciting art attack are all part of the learning programme which is so important for our pupils.

Children engage more readily with their learning when they are taking responsibility for the direction and outcomes, and they are able to establish their own boundaries for risk taking in a safe, secure situation. They become creative and innovative problem-solvers, exploring at their own pace.

Physically active children particularly enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and they develop a real appreciation for the natural world they live in.

The outdoor experience is a wonderful way to enhance the curriculum and raise standards!

Physical Education

“What I know most surely about morality and the duty of man I owe to sport.” Albert Camus

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and it is fun! Our children benefit from extensive grounds, including playing fields, tennis and netball courts, an adventure playground and indoor sports facilities.

Sport enhances the physical and mental development of our children, and a varied sports curriculum provides opportunities for everyone to achieve.

The skills required for team games are acquired while the children are in Lower Prep. They move on to traditional team sports, including rugby, football, cricket, netball, hockey and rounders. We recognise that not all children excel at team games: our provision extends to include cross-country running, dance, trampolining, tennis and athletics. Swimming is taught in all classes up to Year 5.

Fixtures in team sports, both league and tournament, provide regular opportunities for competition, and every year some of our pupils represent our school in national athletics and cross-country competitions. For the very keen sportsperson, our after-school clubs provide more opportunities to have fun and hone skills.

An end-of-year highlight for children, parents and staff is the annual summer sports day. This is a fun occasion in a beautiful setting, with plenty of friendly rivalry between the school houses.

Wider Curriculum

“Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.” Eberhard Arnold

During the year, Prep School children may find themselves as pupils in a Victorian schoolroom, exploring a Tudor Palace, or staying in a French école. Equally they may be writing in Egyptian hieroglyphics, sampling Ancient Greek delicacies or enjoying a Roman feast …

These activities stimulate investigation of cultures and societies past and present, and encourage exploration of the way people lived: the daily challenges they faced in providing themselves with homes, food, clothing and education, as well as their artistic, working and military lives.

Social interaction and a spirit of adventure are encouraged by activities such as:

  • a camp fire and sleepover in the school grounds.
  • a weekend of activity and adventure for older children to challenge themselves – and their teachers! – to try something new.
  • exciting adventures on the Isle of Wight and in France.
  • a day at the seaside to stimulate the creativity of our younger pupils as they explore the natural environment through art and drama.