Creative Arts in the Pre-Prep
Children love creating and using their imaginations and at Dean Close Pre-Prep we give children the space to create: in our classrooms, in our playgrounds, in the Forest School and our extensive grounds. We provide an exciting and varied all–round education to nurture their natural creativity and develop their talents. Art, cookery, drama, class music, design and technology are all part of the school day and just some of the ways in which we develop and encourage creativity!
Creative education is an important part of our irresistible learning for every child and the creative arts are woven into the topic plan for each year group, so that children will take part in linked activities and extend their learning for example making fish puppets for an ‘Under the Sea’ topic, music and movement with the theme of sea creatures and performing an assembly on ‘the sea’ theme.
WOW Days are also planned to achieve this when the curriculum is suspended for the day and the whole school joins together in exploring an area of curriculum in more depth without the normal boundaries of time! Recent examples include Creative Arts Day and Thinking Skills Day. These days enable children to take part in unusual and exciting activities, for example, our Creative Arts Day included painting to music in our open air amphitheatre in the woods, making mud sculptures in Forest School and creating fruit pictures. The ‘Thinking Skills’ Day included some Design and Technology challenges – such as the plan and design a ‘skyscraper’ team challenge using a limited number of resources!
Pre-Prep Art and Design Technology
Early Years Foundation Stage and Reception
Creativity is fundamental to successful learning. Being creative enables children to make connections between areas of learning and extending their understanding. This area of learning includes art, music, dance, role play and imaginative play.
In the Early Years, children are encouraged to explore and experiment – using different media and materials and ways of changing them. They are given opportunities to pursue their interests and use materials in imaginative and original ways, often linking with the topic. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories. Recent technology challenges include designing a new chair for baby bear after Goldilocks had broken the first one! Children are also able to participate in cookery or ‘food play’ – where they may use food to link with work – for example, creating a repeating pattern caterpillar using cucumber and tomato slices.
Year One and Two
Children in Years One and Two build on the foundations laid in the Early Years and develop their creativity further through opportunities to explore artistic techniques through colour, form, texture and pattern using a variety of different materials and techniques. They learn to evaluate their work and talk about how they could change/improve ideas and designs. Children learn about the work of artists and designers in different times and cultures, and think how they can use, apply and experiment with different artist’s styles. Year Two pupils benefit from art lessons in the Prep School art department with the Prep School Head of Art, creating some fantastic pieces of art linked to their topic, for example using clay, batik and mask-making.
Drama/ Music and Movement
EYFS and Reception
Early Years children love to express themselves through dance, music and movement. They have a music and movement lesson every week, where they are able to use their imaginations in creating sequences, using percussion instruments to represent animals or weather, for example, using ribbons to show the movement of a fish, creating sequences and actions to music. Children are able to develop their physical literacy as their imaginations are ignited and, of course, role play is an important and integral part of every day in the Early Years classes!
Year One and Two
Year One and Two pupils continue to have music and movement as part of their P.E. curriculum, developing sequences and using their imagination to interpret music. Pupils also develop their dramatic abilities as they learn to present their ideas with greater confidence and clarity to wider audiences, learn poems to present in assembly, and learn parts as part of a play or scenario.
Pupils are given many opportunities to perform at the Pre-Prep and from an early age children develop confidence to stand on our stage in the hall. Children are supported to take part in a class assembly – first to their peers and then to the class parents. These early experiences enable them to participate with growing confidence in our termly performances to a larger audience including family, friends, staff and invited guests.
All children are involved in the school plays from our smallest Kittens to Year Two pupils, who lead with the main parts. Children’s enjoyment and stage experience develops from an early age and parents are often amazed at their poise and enthusiasm! Children are also able to perform at informal lunchtime concerts, led by the Carducci Quartet, end of term concerts and celebrations and occasionally alongside the Preparatory and Senior School.
Performing on a wider Stage:
Children also perform at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts and the Speech and Drama group have been delighted to win cups for their ‘choral speaking’ in the U8 category.
Parents are warmly welcome to come and watch and support their children. In recent years Pre-Prep has sung, danced and played their way through:
- Summer Plays – A Summer Safari, Rainforest Rescue, Underwater Adventure
- Christmas Plays – The Smallest Angel, Christmas Baubles,
- Music across the School concert
- Annual Christingle Service
- Many Informal concerts