Preparatory School

Exploring, growing and learning

Acquiring the skills for learning

The Prep School offers a warm, friendly and family atmosphere. From starting in Reception class through to the end of their days in primary education we aim to make your child’s experience of school happy, safe and stimulating.

The nurturing environment that we provide at Stoke enables every child to feel confident enough to take their first steps towards independence and a lifelong love of learning.

The unique, closely knit environment of our school allows us to provide excellent pastoral care. Every child is known and valued as the special individual that they are and each mile stone and achievement is celebrated.

Expanding horizons with the curriculum

Our dedicated team of teachers are committed to providing a rich and challenging curriculum that allows everyone to progress and succeed. In the Early Years we provide the children with an active and engaging experience of school life with a strong emphasis upon learning through carefully planned play. Our expansive school grounds are the perfect place for outdoor learning and all children in the Prep benefit from weekly Forest School sessions.

Prep pupils enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum that ensures the acquisition of life-long core skills. Our small class sizes enable us to support every child and provide individual attention to fully maximize their potential. Subject specialist teachers from our senior school teach a number of curriculum areas within the Prep school and these close links ensure that the transition from Prep to Senior School is smooth and seamless.

Stoke College has something special to offer your child. There is a unique feeling of happiness, inclusivity and enthusiasm that can only be truly appreciated by visiting us and seeing the Prep School in action.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Throughout the early years we focus on helping children to form relationships, embrace challenge, become increasingly independent and develop resilience in order to prepare them for the transition to Key Stage 1. Our curriculum covers the areas of personal, social and emotional development; communication, language and literacy; mathematical development; physical and creative development and a knowledge and understanding of the world.

Each day the children will enjoy play based learning and exploration that develops their understanding of literacy and numeracy as well as their creative, physical and social skills. Individual reading books are shared with the teacher and sent home each day to encourage the rapid development of literacy skills. Learning is carefully constructed to include a mix of adult-led and child-initiated learning, and a combination of indoor and outdoor activities in our expansive outdoor areas.

Key Stage One and Two

As children move through the Prep School there is an increasing emphasis on formal learning and the recording of work. Lessons are active, engaging and motivating for different styles of learners and cover all of the curriculum set out in the National Curriculum. In addition to this Prep children enjoy French and Chinese lessons and are taught food technology, design technology, computing, music, physical education and competitive sport by specialist teachers.

Assessment is continually carried out by class teachers to ensure that progress and attainment is in line with what we would hope for and that appropriate support is quickly put in place when necessary.

First hand learning experiences are crucial and we regularly plan off-site trips and on-site visits that can support and enrich our Prep curriculum. We are aware of the importance of developing children’s independence and social skills and offer pupils in Key Stage 2 the opportunity to go on a residential visit from Year 4 upwards. Children from Reception to Year 4 all receive weekly swimming lessons and in the summer term there are opportunities for everyone to enjoy supervised swimming in our own outdoor pool.

Beyond the classroom

Forest School
Forest School is an inspirational experience that offers all Prep pupils regular opportunities to develop their confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning in our own woodland environment. Children are encouraged to explore and discover and quickly develop a strong and positive relationship with the natural world. They are given opportunities to experience and judge appropriate risk and challenge and enjoy initiating their own learning and development.

Extra Curricular
At Stoke College we firmly believe that learning should go beyond the classroom. Each week Prep pupils can enjoy a wide variety of clubs that are designed to appeal to a broad range of interests and talents and that change on a regular basis. Our current offerings include karate, animation, art, school newspaper and kitchen & garden club. We fully understand that childcare can be a difficult thing to manage for many families and our offering of breakfast club and evening tea offers peace of mind in these situations.

Find out more about the School day

Children may arrive at school for 8.40 a.m., although some come in a little earlier choosing to eat breakfast with the boarders at 8.15 a.m. There are pre-registration activities in classrooms from 8:40 am until registration. Registration takes place with the form teacher at 8.50 a.m. and the first lesson starts at nine. There are lessons until break at 10.15 a.m. then further lessons leading up to the lunch break at 11.50 a.m. Children eat in the dining room and the menu is nutritionally balanced and prepared in house. There are five choices on any one day – a hot main course, a hot vegetarian course, a salad, a baked potato or a sandwich. There is also as much fruit as a child can eat. The catering staff will make sure that everyone gets a varied and sensible diet since the school is small enough that they know everyone’s name and what they ate yesterday. The food itself is very “Jamie Oliver” with no added salt and lots of fresh vegetables! There is about forty minutes after lunch in which to run around. Lessons begin again at 1.00 p.m. and there are four more classes until the end of the school day, with a break at 2.10 p.m. At 3.55 p.m. children have their homework diaries signed by their form teachers. They then either go home by car or one of the school minibuses (at present there are Sudbury, Dunmow/Braintree and Cambridge/Newmarket runs), or they stay for clubs which start at 4.15 p.m. and last for an hour. At the time of writing students can choose from the following clubs: Nature, Rounders, Music, Cycling Proficiency, Patchwork, Recorders, Golf, Cricket, Gardening and Ballet. Supper is at 5.30 p.m. for which anyone can stay, and supervised homework for boarders starts at 6.30 p.m. and lasts for ninety minutes. Day pupils may stay for this and go home afterwards or, as many choose to do, stay the night in the boarding house. We are completely flexible about who stays for boarding so long as there is space. Early booking is sometimes necessary in the summer when the long evenings can be spent cycling around the grounds, playing tennis or fishing (supervised of course). Bed is between 9.30 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. dependant upon age.

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