Our assembly theme for the term is ‘Dare to be Different’ and we got the programme underway on Thursday morning; this theme presents the perfect opportunity for promoting creativity, self-expression and, most importantly, individuality.  Further to my note in the beginning of term letter, if you feel you are able to contribute to one of our assemblies, then please do get in touch with me – you will be sure of a warm welcome from the children.

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Harry (Year 2) for being consistently polite and courteous to staff and his friends, and for considerately picking up coats that fallen from their pegs.

and Stars of the Week were awarded to:

Year 2:  Finlay M for starting the summer term so enthusiastically and with determination to do well.  Keep up the good work!

Year 1:  Kian for developing a bright and brilliant alliterative superhero character in English.

Reception: Oscar for his fantastic informative ‘show and tell’ about his weighing scales.

After a busy Easter break, a bounty of awards were celebrated on Thursday. Many congratulations to the following:  Clara (Reception) for achieving a ski and snowboarding award; Sebastian G (Year 1) for his Learn to Swim, Level 3; Alex (Year 2) for achieving 10 metres swimming and for his medal for his participation in a football tournament; Arthur (Year 2) for being promoted to red belt in karate; Teddy (Year 2) for achieving Star 2 Level with ESF ski school in France; Henri (Year 2) and Willem (Year 2) for attending a rugby festival with Harlequins and winning a medal each, but also along with Akshen (Year 2), they also attended the ‘on-side’ football camp and received a medal for their super efforts.

Special mention to Harry (Year 2), who with his brother, Thomas, set up a raffle staff, sold tickets and fished for six hours last Sunday in a memorial match set up to honour his late grandfather, all to help raise money for Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury.  Their terrific work saw a total of £1100 raised and this will provide 65 hours of care for a terminally ill patient – what an amazing effort all round!

We were delighted to celebrate Neurodiversity Week 2024 at the end of last term, please see below information from Mrs Cox, Head of Learning Support (Pre-Prep) on –

Reflecting on attention and focus challenges for children within the Pre-Prep age range and building inclusive classrooms by S. Cox

In recognition of Neurodiversity Celebration Week at the end of March, children here in Pre-Prep enjoyed learning about how our brains are unique and process information in different ways. We read the wonderful book, “There’s Only One You” by Deborah Hembrook and Kathryn Heling to highlight how everyone is unique and special simply by being themselves.

At this age and stage, children moving between the different classes can be quite a leap, that is, with ever-increasing expectations, routines and the introduction to more formalised learning. Within year groups, some children are almost a year apart in age, and at this young age, this can feel like quite a difference. It is at this stage, when children move into the more formal setting of Year 1, that we can start to notice those needing a little extra support with such things as attention and focus in a classroom setting, depending on where they are developmentally.

At this point, children are still developing their sensory processing skills. Sensory processing refers to the way the brain receives, interprets, and responds to sensory information from the environment around them. Children who struggle with sensory processing may find it difficult to focus in the classroom, regulate their emotions, and engage in learning activities.

Our primary goal is to provide inclusive classrooms, enabling all children here optimal access to learning. To this end, we ensure sensory tools are available and common-place in our classroom settings and we now have boxes of sensory tools within each classroom. These offer a wide range of benefits, providing sensory input that can help children focus, regulate their emotions and enhance their learning.  Sensory tools can include a range of objects, such as fidget toys, stress balls, weighted blankets, wobble cushions and ear defenders.  We endeavour to use these in a variety of ways to support learning in our young pupils needing additional support.

Here are some of the ways these tools can help:

Improving focus and engagement in learning – sensory tools can help children to focus and engage in learning activities. Some examples of the equipment we regularly make use of in school include:

  • Fidget toys – these keep a child’s hands busy while they listen to a story and help them to concentrate on the task at hand. In some cases, however, these are too distracting and we find that a small piece of Blu tac can be just as effective, for a child to discretely squeeze, helping them to focus.
  • ‘Wobble’ or wedge cushion – these are air-filled cushions that when sat on, tilt the pelvis forward slightly, enhancing the inward curve of the lower back and encourage the user to sit more upright. This encouragement to sit properly, correctly reduces strain on the body’s joints and ligaments, which in turn helps the proprioceptive sense (sense of body awareness). By improving posture and encouraging “active” sitting with a wedge cushion, children can sit and stay focused for longer.
  • Ear defenders or ear plugs – are beneficial to children who hear everything and so get distracted and overwhelmed, or may even make their own sounds to over-ride background noise. Ear defenders and ear plugs reduce background noise and therefore enhance concentration.
  • Movement breaks – are key for many young children; we provide opportunities for movement at regular intervals as this helps to stimulate a child’s vestibular system, helping them to focus. Teachers may give children a job, or task in the classroom, that allows them to be active in a controlled way during the lesson such as carrying books, handing out pens and so on. We integrate movement into learning goals frequently asking the children to act, make, do, and perform so that we don’t restrict them to sitting at a desk.
  • Chair bands – another great tool, these are thick rubber bands that go around the front two legs of a chair. The band allows children to fidget with their feet by kicking or bouncing the band on their chairs.

Reducing anxiety – sensory tools can also help to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm in children. Some examples include:

  • Weighted blanket or ‘weighty snakey’ – a blanket or toy placed gently around the shoulders to provide a calming pressure, that increases bodily awareness, reduces anxiety, promotes calm, but also boosts focus and attention.

Above all, we understand that each child is unique and we may need to try different strategies before  finding the one that supports learning in the best possible way. Sensory tools, of course, are not necessary for all, we use them in moderation and in collaboration with parents.   All tools are used with great care and monitored closely. Furthermore, a child’s views are always considered – they will initially be asked if they’d like to try a particular type of resource, having had its use carefully explained to them beforehand.

We firmly believe sensory tools are a great resource within classrooms for a plethora of reasons. If you would like any further information about any of the above here are some useful links:

Ten Tips for using Wobble Cushions in the Classroom and at Home (griffinot.com)


Do not hesitate to get in touch with Mrs Cox – s.cox@hamptonprep.org.uk if you would like to discuss any of the above.

New Centenary caps will shortly be coming your way, which the children may wear to school as a sunhat.  We intend to name them ahead of distribution to save any confusion but would ask you to sew a name tape into your child’s cap too please!

Have a super weekend!