Curriculum (Pre-Prep)

When children join the Pre-Prep in Reception, they follow an enhanced version of the Early Years Foundation Stage Programme they experienced at nursery. Learning is practical, hands-on and tailored to and guided by each child’s choice and interests. For more information, please see the EYFS section.

Throughout the Pre-Prep, children are taught using a creative curriculum. Each half term learning is based on a theme. Recent ones include ‘Whizz, Bang, Pop’, ‘Blitzed’ and ‘Town and Gown’. Themes are launched with a ‘Wow’ starter: to begin each child’s immersion in their learning, stimulate their curiosity and questions. There is a focus upon developing phonics skills from the earliest days in Reception, however, where possible, literacy and numeracy skills are interwoven with the theme, as is learning in many of the traditional ‘subjects’. Where it is not possible to make meaningful links, then subjects are taught discretely.

The Arts play a large role in life at the Pre-Prep. Every child has a number of opportunities to perform each year. Reception begin with their musical Nativity performance in their first term at the Dragon and Year 3 perform in their final term at the Pre-Prep before they move on to Year 4, demonstrating just how much they have grown in confidence. Children have the opportunity to learn a wide range of musical instruments in Years 2 and 3 and to begin learning the skills of ensemble playing. Art is encouraged from the first mark-making in Reception and many examples of vibrant and colourful artwork can be seen around the School.

Dragons have boundless energy and love to be outdoors and active. We have a firm philosophy that children, with the right clothing, can be outside whatever the weather and indeed love splashing about in puddles and mud! Lessons are taught outside whenever possible: games sessions take place on the St Edward’s fields; gardening activities are held at Bardwell Road, and Forest School sessions are much loved by the younger children. Being part of the cultural city of Oxford, we have many outstanding venues and resources at our disposal which we try to use as much as we can. Bug hunting in the University Parks; shopping in the Covered Market or the Cowley Road; taking the public bus to the Ashmolean Museum or walking to the Summertown Library all forge links with our local community and bring learning to life.

Throughout their time in the Pre-Prep, the children will encounter a rich variety of learning experiences giving them a firm foundation upon which to build as they move on to Year 4 at Bardwell Road and beyond.