Your child will grow in a stimulating,
caring and safe environment
The Pier Head Preparatory School was established in May 2009.
Initially opening as a Montessori Pre-school registering to provide a Primary education in 2010. Our first Primary School admissions were opened in September 2011. We use the Montessori method of Horizontal Learning grouping the children in to three classes.
Ages 4-6 Lower Prep
Ages 6-8 Upper Prep
The School provides a happy and stimulating environment our Primary School curriculum has been devised following the National Curriculum fused with Montessori Methods and Materials.
Our Children are offered Music lessons, Tennis Lessons, Swimming lessons, Dance, Drama and also French and Spanish lessons.
The School aims for high academic standards and encourages every child’s enthusiasm for learning, good manners, self-discipline and a determination to do their best.
We provide an educational environment where every member of staff strives to offer all children the chance to obtain the best academic results, whilst giving them the confidence to grow and develop as an individual.
The School offers a stretching, challenging approach to learning following a Montessori ethos which is embedded in the early years and emphasises achievement and builds confidence. We aim to lay the foundations for a future of opportunity, enterprise and responsibility.
When the children reach the age of 4 1/2 they attend full time. During the child's time at the school a great deal of emphasis is placed on laying down a firm foundation in the basic skills of Language, Reading and Writing, Mathematics and Science. Teaching is carefully differentiated to ensure that a high level of fluency in reading and competency in numeracy is achieved. Small classes ensure that the children have almost one to one teaching.
Although we implement our own curriculum, this is clearly laid out with reference to the government's attainment targets, schemes of work and key stages. We encourage the children to use Montessori materials which will stimulate senses and imagination. Our children will be offered the opportunity to sit SATs tests (read our assessment policy online). Please note that the National Curriculum is currently being revised so we will follow the previous guidelines set out by the Department for Education in their schemes of work.
The Pierhead Prep School follows the traditional Montessori approach of age grouping.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary, allowing the child to satisfy natural curiosities in related activities. The pre-school program prepares the child for the lower prep curriculum as it is specially designed for Montessori sensorial apparatus and practical life exercises.
The Montessori cosmic approach fosters an appreciation of all living things through the study of language/ literacy, history, social studies, geography and the sciences. These cultural subjects are incorporated into the lower prep curriculum (ages 4-6). Abstract concepts are presented with Montessori sensorial materials.
In the upper prep and elementary classes we will continue the philosophy of educating the whole child with an increasingly teacher directed approach, whilst recognising the unique emotional, social and academic needs of the pre adolescent. The goal is to provide a solid academic bridge from childhood to adolescence as we lay the foundations for developing responsible citizens.
Zoology & Botany
Science & Information Technology
Physical Education – Swimming and Tennis
The English curriculum develops competent and enthusiastic readers, writers, speakers and communicators. We place particular emphasis upon extending children’s reading abilities, analytical skills and oral and written vocabulary.
Speaking and Listening
All children are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to regularly contribute to circle time in the pre-school where children recount events and experiences. Throughout their time at school, children use good speech, appropriate vocabulary and correct grammatical forms. Public speaking skills are developed through participation in drama and role play, retelling stories, presentations, poetry recitation, speech delivery, plays and school productions.
Our curriculum uses the Oxford Reading scheme from pre-school and throughout the early years. Children are motivated to read in an environment which displays print and where print is used for a purpose. Reading should be an enjoyable activity. It is important that teachers and parents work together to give all children support, encouragement and patience to develop at their own rate. As well as daily reading sessions, children should read each night at home; in the early years, this should take the form of reading and discussing the stories in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Allow your child to point to each word if it helps them. Discuss the pictures and the story and predict what will happen next. In the older years, students should read aloud as well as silently and listen to reading, such as pre-recorded stories. Discussion of reading text is still a useful aid in the older years as it is in the younger years. Each child has a reading record book. After listening to your child read, please sign and make a comment about their reading. In upper prep, children will continue to keep a reading record. Parents should listen to their child read on a weekly basis and make a note in their reading logs. As children mature further in their reading they will be reading silently each night and writing their own comments in their reading record.
In lower prep, the children are involved in guided reading sessions. Guided reading is a strategy that helps students become good readers. The teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, and so forth). In upper prep your child must read widely from a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. Children practise gathering information from a range of sources and implement skills of skimming, scanning and summarising. Weekly comprehension practice will encourage reasoning, opinion making and predicting. Children will be given a chance to discuss how or why a writer is using language in a particular way. They will also begin to analyse the deeper meaning in a text, so as to be able to think both analytically and eventually critically about their reading material. During elementary, pupils are encouraged to develop a critical awareness of reading materials through oral and written activities, selecting sentences, phrases and relevant information to support their views. Children will be encouraged to identify different layers of meaning in a text and comment on their significance.
Through reading, children become aware that writing is a purposeful and meaningful method of communication. Children have frequent opportunities to develop their writing skills. From the early scribbles to more complex sentences children are praised constructively. (Montessori materials encourage writing). All children are encouraged to say sounds when trying to write a word. They then develop sentence structure and begin to use simple punctuation. Children write in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres throughout their time at The Pier Head Prep. In the upper prep class, the students begin to write analytically. Children develop their writing structurally as well as stylistically in both their creative and analytical writing.
During lower prep, children should be positively encouraged when trying to spell words. It is important at this early stage to just ‘have a go’. It is an approach where the individual learns the sounds represented by letters and then letter combinations. The child then attempts to blend these sounds to pronounce small words. As the child develops, the blending becomes more complex (see Montessori literary programme in the pre-school prospectus). In lower prep depending on the child, different spelling words every week will encourage your child to look at the patterns in the words to make learning easier. Confidence is very important. Be positive towards their efforts. Informal testing takes place throughout lower prep and more formal weekly spelling tests start from upper prep. Pupils continue to extend on the phonics and spelling work from previous years with an emphasis on sound blends and high frequency words. Pupils in upper prep and elementary use dictionaries and thesauruses regularly.
The children concentrate on learning the correct starting point of each of the lower case letters from pre- school and lower prep. Writing with flicks is encouraged as this makes it easier when the children learn to join their letters. Children are expected to present their work neatly and tidily.
Aims of Mathematics
Through mathematics it is our aim to:
provide children with a positive attitude towards mathematics
develop inquisitive minds, encouraging the ability to question
encourage children to become independent when tackling mathematical problems
heighten awareness of mathematics in our society
promote a high level of children's numerical skills
match learning experiences to the abilities, needs and expectations of the children
build a framework from which we can ensure continuity and progression throughout the school
develop children's understanding that mathematics can be used as a form of communication
have a sense of the size of a number and where it fits into the number system
know by heart number facts such as number bonds, multiplication tables, doubles and halves
use what they know by heart to figure out numbers mentally
calculate accurately and efficiently, both mentally and in pencil and paper methods, drawing on a range of calculation strategies
recognise when it is appropriate to use a calculator and be able to do so effectively
make sense of number problems, including non-routine problems and recognise the operations needed to solve them
explain their methods and reasoning using correct mathematical terms
judge whether their answers are reasonable and have strategies for checking them where necessary
suggest suitable units for measuring and make sensible estimates of measurements
explain and make predictions from the numbers in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables
develop spatial awareness and an understanding of the properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes
Provision of Mathematics
Children are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their mathematical skills through group work, paired work and individual work. Children engage in the development of mental strategies, written methods, practical work, investigational work, problem-solving, mathematical discussion, consolidation of basic skills and number facts.
The aim of science is for children to explore and interact with their physical environment using first hand experiences. Children will be encouraged to observe, classify, raise questions, plan, measure, and interpret data. They are encouraged to observe, predict and investigate. Children naturally explore the world around them from a very early age. Topics are developed that relate to their interests and every day experiences so that curiosity is stimulated and pupils are motivated to understand and interpret the world around them. Science is an important medium for developing and promoting other areas of the curriculum. Science stimulates language development by providing opportunities for oral and written responses. It is a motivator for practising and developing reading skills and encourages the purposeful use of mathematical skills and concepts. It promotes creativity and inventiveness and allows children to develop their independent thinking skills.
Children are encouraged to turn suggested concepts and their own ideas into a form that can be investigated. With teacher support, pupils will learn to plan these investigations. Upper prep pupils are encouraged to select suitable equipment to use for experiments with only limited teacher guidance. They are encouraged to recognise the need for fair tests and to decide what evidence should be collected. Pupils will learn to make a series of observations and measurements and learn to plot clear tables and graphs.
History develops an awareness of the past and present and ways in which these change.
Our aims are:
To introduce children to the past
To establish a sense of time
To encourage the investigation of change and continuity
To understand cause and effect
To foster an empathy with people and events of the past
To develop an appreciation of human achievements, aspirations and values
To develop the use of historical sources
To develop understanding of interpretations of history
To provide opportunities for first hand experience through fieldwork, role-play and use of artefacts
To communicate clearly, employing a wide range of media
To provide children with a framework in which to place major issues and events in the history of the war
The main aims of drama at The Pier Head Prep are:
To engage with a variety of performance art forms
To explore values, attitudes, feelings and meanings through drama, music and dance
To develop the ability to create, appreciate and make critical judgements about the performing arts
To work independently and in teams; to share arts experiences and present artworks to others
To increase active and independent involvement in opportunities to engage in the performing arts
To provide opportunities to develop self-esteem, confidence and maturity through participation in the arts
Computers are used as tools to handle information and communicate. It is vital that all students gain confidence and competence in using ICT to prepare them for present and later life. The use of ICT can also enhance and extend a child’s learning across all curriculum areas. When students use ICT they are obtaining a set of skills that are required for the routines of life and work and for pleasure and creativity in the future. ICT allows children to:
Draft and redraft their work with less effort than with pencil and paper
Combine words and images to produce a professional looking piece of work
Test out ideas and present them in different ways to various audiences
Investigate and make changes in computer models and see what happens as a result
Store and handle large amounts of information in different ways
Do things quickly and easily that would have been time consuming and tedious if done by hand
Experience, through simulations, things that would be difficult or dangerous for them to attempt in real life
Communicate with others over a distance via email or the internet
The ICT curriculum is organised by teaching new skills which progressively build upon each other each week. The predominant mode of working in IT is whole class teaching in the class. Paired and individual work is used where appropriate in the classroom. From lower prep upwards, the children all receive one ICT lesson per week. The children are encouraged to become independent users. They develop skills in mouse control. In upper prep, the children are all strongly encouraged to touch-type.
At The Pier Head Prep, children benefit from being introduced to French at an early age. They begin in lower prep, continuing to study the language as they progress through the school.
The aims of teaching French at The Pier Head Prep School are as follows:
To teach children to recognise and understand French in the spoken and the written form of the language
To teach children to communicate in French using the spoken and the written form of the language
To give children a thorough linguistic training that will aid them in learning other foreign languages
To increase children’s cultural awareness through learning about the history, geography, arts and popular culture of France and other Francophone countries.
To stimulate the natural intellectual curiosity of children and to encourage them to become independent learners
To foster positive attitudes towards foreign cultures and to support the multi-cultural atmosphere of the school by encouraging the children to make linguistic links between other languages and French. From lower to upper prep, the children are introduced to French primarily through exposure to the spoken language. This consists of learning vocabulary and language patterns through active individual participation in songs (often using actions), finger rhymes, story-telling, drawing, colouring and acting. Lessons use a multi-sensory and stimulating approach that appeals to the different learning styles of individual children.
In upper prep, children start developing their reading skills and they start learning French grammar and cultural facts. From elementary, children begin studying written French more closely and being to learn spellings and simple grammatical constructions.
‘If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein
At The Pier Head Preparatory School, we teach personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship, as it enables children to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school and the wider community. In so doing, we help develop their sense of self-worth. We teach them how society is organised and governed. We ensure that they experience the process of democracy by creating a school council. We teach them about rights and responsibilities. They learn to appreciate what it means to be a positive member of a diverse multicultural society.
The aims of personal, social and health education and citizenship are to:
Enable the children to know and understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle
Be aware of safety issues
Understand what makes for good relationships with others
Have respect for others
Be independent and responsible members of the school community
Be positive and active members of a democratic society
Develop self-confidence and self-esteem and make informed choices regarding personal and social issues
Develop good relationships with other members of the school and the wider community
Through art in the curriculum we aim to encourage children to look critically at their world - a world which relies heavily on communication. We endeavour to develop skills and techniques, encouraging the children to develop confidence and competence in art.
It is an aim that all children will take part in extra-curricular creative art during their time at school. All our children will have the opportunity to express themselves through a variety of mediums and are introduced to the work of artists from many periods and cultures.
Physical health and fitness are addressed through the active participation in a weekly organised programme. Children will also be encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities. We will work closely with parents and children to decide what extra-curricular activities we should have on offer for the children.
Music is introduced in the pre-school as Da Capo along with the recorder; children will be encouraged to play a musical instrument.