The Bulletin – Edition 2
Inside the Head’s Head:
I have spent a good amount of this week wandering about the Prep and poking my nose into other people’s lessons. This has been partly motivated by the fact that we have actual lessons taking place now in such normal, rich abundance and partly because I can never get enough of observing first-hand how pupils learn and all the different ways in which my colleagues teach. I have been impressed by everything I have heard the boys sharing in lessons along with the variety of questions they are keen to ask. For them there is very rarely any “sorry for asking the wrong question, but…” or comments like “this might be a silly answer but…” This natural, unabashed curiosity that I believe is characteristic of young learners always reminds me how important it is to keep an open mind and to look out for learning something new, every day of every week. Do please keep encouraging your children to remain curious and inquisitive; it is a tremendous help to us here at school.
This week Miss Bee and Mrs Sheaff both led excellent assemblies based upon the theme of ‘challenge’, which we will continue to explore up until half term. Please ask your sons how it is possible to fit yourself through an A4 sized piece of paper (Miss Bee managed to fit herself and Mrs Tinkler through one A4 sheet at the same time!) Mrs Sheaff had a whole host of mini challenges which she pulled out of a hat and encouraged the boys to rise to in assembly, straight up, with no preparation to guide them on their way. Both colleagues ultimately left us with a clear understanding of how important it is not to become overwhelmed when faced with academic or personal challenges. If ever we are struggling, as Miss Bee explained, we might default to “I cannot do it…” Her advice was to try and finish that sentence with the word “…yet!”
Mr Ford was very pleased to explain details of our Academic Enrichment Programme to boys in Year 6 this week. A new initiative for this year, on a rotation each week boys in Year 6 will spend some time out of regular lessons developing their thinking skills in 30 minute ‘blast’ sessions in English, mathematics and reasoning. Inspired by our assembly theme for this half term, all teaching colleagues here recognise how important it is for us to remain challenged, so we can consider how best to develop and improve our approach to teaching the boys. Work will be prepared by Mrs Sheaff and Mr Hole and most of us across the Prep will take our turn teaching it. We are looking forward to seeing the boys rise to this challenge.
Mr Barber will be running the L.I.O.N. Award this year (Leadership, Independence and Opportunities to Nurture), our bespoke pupils’ leadership skills development programme. Further information will shortly be sent out from Mr Barber, regarding the L.I.O.N. Award, to boys in Years 3 – 5 as well as to parents. Mr Barber will be ably assisted in his duties this year by his two L.I.O.N. Award Ambassadors from Year 6, Henry Morgan and Daniel Wheeler. Mr Barber and our two pupil Ambassadors will be promoting the L.I.O.N. Award all year long. How Mr Barber runs some aspects of the Award will doubtless have to be adapted this year, and he is currently working through the changes he wishes to make. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to seeing the boys in Years 3 – 5 throw themselves into completing the different stages of the Award with their usual gusto.
Some advice and recommendations from Mr Henderson in Year 3:
As a teacher at Hampton Prep, I am fortunate to be part of a family that strives to help the individual improve in all areas of their lives, not just academics, but also to build resilience and initiative. It has been lovely to see all the boys back at school after what has been a challenging time for us all. I have seen real enthusiasm in each of the Year 3 boys to learn new methods and ideas and to progress their work to a new level. Independence is key to all of this, naturally. We are anxious that the cheerful fellows in Year 3 will soon be increasingly able to organise everything we explain to them on their own. It is important for Year 3 parents to keep an eye on what the boys should be recording in their prep diaries. Although it is always terrific to hear from parents via email, much of what we have been fielding this week from parents in Year 3 we know the boys already know. Our aim is for each boy to take ownership of his prep diary and to be responsible for making sure he records everything he needs to do in it, especially when it comes to the instructions required for prep. The boys are all works in progress (aren’t we all?) but ensuring they check their diaries and they think carefully about how to complete a prep by themselves will build independence and resilience, which ought to benefit them in their learning and their life, long after they leave us.
News from Mrs Morris, Head of Science:
The Year 4’s had a delightful science trip outdoors in the sun on Monday at the Stockyard Education Centre in Bushy Park. The boys conducted themselves in such a mature way i.e. no one ended up IN the pond! Lots of different equipment was used to find aquatic invertebrates in the pond areas and terrestrial invertebrates when log rolling and grass sweeping. The boys were then given the chance to identify and classify their finds using charts and a Trinocular was even used to see some examples close up. Who could have predicted that the boys would find a greater water boatman, loads of different tiny fish and a water scorpion! It was a real pleasure to see the boys full of interest and excitement throughout the day and such a lovely way to begin the academic year learning with friends outdoors.
News from Mr Salt, Head of Games:
In the week that summer returned for one last blast and the new season of the Premier League kicked off, the players of The Spicy Lemons, The Ultraplex Space Warriors, The Cheesy Goats and the Flashing Thunders took to the pitches of Carlisle Park to kick off the inaugural Hampton Prep 5 aside Premier League. It was great to see the enthusiasm and excitement that had been brewing in the playground channelled into effort, teamwork and some excellent football. One particularly pleasing moment was when one boy beat a defender, dribbled at pace through the middle of the pitch, took the ball out to the left of the opposition penalty box and shot with his weaker foot from 15 yards out. When an opposition player asked him, ‘How did you do that?’ he replied, ‘You just need to practise on your weaker foot, then you get better.’ For me this highlighted what every coach and teacher knows. If you want to improve, practice has to be purposeful and deliberate. This boy had done just that, turning himself into a much more effective player over lockdown and the summer by the challenging himself to have a go with intent and discipline, thus turning a weakness into a strength. This is what we ask of every boy at Hampton Prep; not to simply go through the motions, but engage, focus and put thought behind the action.
A word from Mrs Murphy:
How lucky we have been this week with the glorious sunshine. September is moving on a quite a pace, in fact, the week has simply flown by with everyone here busily and purposefully getting to grips with learning new skills and concepts. Many are practical tasks, for instance, remembering to unpack school bags daily, as well as remembering to collect all belongings together at the end of the school day – water bottles, school bags and all items of clothing! Challenging initially but, we know, given time this becomes far easier and almost second nature. No wonder the children are tired by the end of the school week.
Our Reading Information Evening takes place remotely this year on Thursday 8th October at 6.30pm. The School Office will be in touch in due course with the necessary information needed in order to join the event. Reading skills are undeniably critical to a child’s success in school, work and life in general. Reading aloud to children plays such a vital part in supporting development in this key area – here at Hampton Pre-Prep, we are staunch believers in this fact. A bedtime story should be a part of daily life, even for children well beyond the infant phase. Research indicates that reading for pleasure makes a big difference to a child’s educational performance, suggesting those who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. A child’s picture book is equivalent to a well-crafted short story and there are so many wonderful stories to get one’s hands on. Come along to the evening and we’ll share some of our absolute favourites.
Awards started in today’s assembly. For information, every week a Star of the Week is chosen in each class by teachers in Reception to Year 2. The Courtesy Cup, on the other hand, is awarded to only one recipient weekly, teachers nominate one person for this much coveted award! As the name suggests, it is awarded for polite remarks, actions or behaviour – essentially to those demonstrating kindness and politeness to others during the school day.
This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Aryan Patel (Year 1) for always displaying lovely manners.
Stars of the Week went to the following children:
Year 2: Avyan for trying his best in all lessons! Keep up the hard work.
Year 1: Ediz for settling in to life at Hampton Pre-Prep extremely well.
Reception: Jasper for always being helpful and kind!
Rayan (Year 1) was presented with his ‘Hand Strike’ badge gained in his Kuk Sool Won class – well done!
Our first House and Vice Captains of the school year have been announced and they were awarded with their badges by Mr Smith in assembly yesterday.
Kindergarten have enjoyed the topic, ‘getting to know you’ this week’. The highlight was bringing in a favourite toy from home! After an enthusiastic ‘show and tell’ session, the children created gorgeous pictures of their toys using oil pastels or paint; these masterpieces are now displayed on our wall so that we can see our favourite toys from home all the time!
We have also been working hard on the Golden Rules – Do Be Honest and Do Look After Property. We discussed that it is always good to tell the truth and that we must look after our toys, or they might get broken.
We started ‘Supersonic Phonics’ this week. We read the story of ‘s’ and made the action that accompanies the sound. We had great fun ‘fishing’ items out of a feely bag and finding those beginning with ‘s’. The children then brainstormed other words with ’s’ – stars, skateboard, Sadie, snowball and sneeze were some of the fantastic words they thought of. As part of our phonic work, we used our scissor skills to carefully cut out a spider which we completed with googly eyes. These are now hung up on a washing line in the classroom to remind us of the sound ‘s’.
Choosing a library book to share with family and friends over the weekend was also hugely popular – happy reading!
Our topic next week is ‘The Little Red Hen’ and Harvest.
In Reception, we have been thinking about our topic ‘Magnificent Me’. We watched and read the Ebook, ‘We are all different’ which led to interesting conversations about our bodies and what makes us unique and different, but also ways that we are the same. We also read the story, ‘Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon’ by Rachel Valentine, and talked about how our differences make us special, and how important it is to celebrate difference. This story inspired some wonderful drawings – each child drew a picture of their dragon, decided on a name and then wrote about what made each one special. Reception came up with some really special skills for their dragons, and it was wonderful to see how each dragon was so very different!
In phonics sessions, we have been learning the sounds /p/, /i/, /n/, and using these letters (along with /s/, /a/, /t/) to blend and segment simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. All the class have enjoyed their reading this week and we have been pleased with the positive way they have approached this – we worked on pointing to each word as it is read, recognising character names in the text, looking for known letter sounds and, of course, we have encouraged plenty of talk about the story and illustrations. In mathematics, we have been looking at number formation of numbers 3 and 4, the position of numbers on a number line and lots and lots of counting!
The children have also been looking at repeated patterns, using different resources to embed understanding in a fun way – we even painted our hands to create repeated pattern handprints.
We have been weather watchers in Year 1 this week! We set up a weather station in our front garden and the children have loved observing and recording the weather each day this week. What a glorious week for weather watching!
In English, the boys have written some wonderful stories about their treasured toys getting lost. We talked about writing a beginning to set the scene and introduce the characters, a middle where something exciting happens and an end where all the loose ends are tied up and we conclude the story. Luckily all the toys were reunited with their owners in our stories! The children have been revisiting number work in maths. We have looked at both addition and subtraction this week and have been using a number line to count.
Year 1 have been brilliant at sharing their ideas for school council this week. They had clearly spoken through their ideas at home and given lots of thought to what they would do if they were elected. It was wonderful to hear so many impressive speeches.
Year 2 have continued to enjoy their topic, ‘The Circus’ and made predictions about what might happen in Quentin Blake’s ‘Clown’ story. The book was in fact a picture book and the boys worked together to think about what the characters might be saying to one another if there had been words. In grammar we focused on proper nouns – do discuss this at home and point out any signs containing proper nouns when out and about this weekend!
In maths, we have continued our learning of number by investigating if the answer changes depending on which way round you add two numbers and how addition and subtraction are closely linked. Next week we will be moving on to 2D shape.
During our science lesson we explored magnetic forces and enjoyed discovering objects within the classroom that were magnetic! This afternoon, the children have designed their own route through Europe of where their own travelling circus might visit (remembering, of course, to give each country a capital letter!). We had lots of fun looking at different continents and countries on Google Earth, including finding our school.