Aside from the wide range of fun and activities that are part of the everyday life of a Dean Close Pre-Prep pupil, they may also participate in wider activities further enhancing their educational and recreational development.
Examples of Pre-Prep Activities and Clubs:
This is a club for children in Years One and Two and builds on fitness and skills for a given sport each week. The aim is to raise their skill levels in areas such as agility, co-ordination, speed and endurance. The focus sport is changed through the term and staff from across the School sometimes also come and deliver a skill session in their area of expertise. The club develops a child’s understanding of health, fitness, team work and sportsmanship and of course their fitness!
Our extracurricular Gymnastics club is run by Lisa Privett and staff from the Happy Days Gym Club. Lisa is a qualified British Gymnastics Association qualified coach in Pre-School, General and Artistic Gymnastics. These classes include the introduction and reinforcement of Gymnastics and Movement skills based on the BGA awards covering the main skills of Action/Balance and Co-ordination. They also build on strength, flexibility, body awareness and the performance of gymnastic skills.
The Reception group is designed specifically to aid young children with the natural transition from pre-school activities. The class includes the introduction and reinforcement of Gymnastic and Movement skills and associated language. Specific planned activities continue to build on strength, flexibility & body awareness preparation, which are essential for the further development of safe, progressive gymnastic skills. Through a variety of large apparatus set-ups including bars / vault / bench & beam, children are given the opportunity to consolidate a range of activities.
In the Year One and Two groups, the emphasis is placed on the performance of the gymnastic skills. Additional strength, flexibility and body awareness activities are worked on which not only build on the physical development but also increases the child’s confidence and overall body management. Additional gymnastic skills and their variations are introduced and developed. Sequence building, large apparatus skills on bars, floor, vault, beam & bench are all covered throughout each term.
Pupils in Reception, Years One and Two can participate in tennis coaching sessions, which take place during lunch breaks.
Sessions are taught by experienced coaches and take place during lunch breaks on school courts or in the Sports Hall. These focus on developing skills in enjoyable sessions including footwork, forehand and backhand strokes, serving and rallies. In Year Two pupils who play tennis can participate in the Trinity Term Tennis Tournament, which is great fun.
Piano lessons are given on an individual basis for 30 minutes a week. In the lessons pupils discover the basic fundamental elements of music – pitch and rhythm skills, note reading, knowledge of musical terms and signs – and, most importantly, develop a natural love of music through the hands-on enjoyable experience of playing.
The lessons are structured towards preparing pupils for examination goals with the Associated Board of Music, as well as playing other pieces for fun, which develop or consolidate particular techniques.
VIOLIN, VIOLA AND CELLO TUITION
Learning the violin, viola and cello in the Pre-Prep is a fantastic introduction to music and learning an instrument. Participating in music is scientifically proven to help with co-ordination, concentration, memory, Maths, English, confidence, musicianship, social interaction, etc. Year Two is an ideal age to start (with certain Year One pupils also being suitable). A violin is virtually the only instrument available in small sizes and is perfect for young people.
PRE-PREP ORCHESTRA – SQUIRREL STRINGS
In the Pre-Prep we have a Strings Group -known as the School orchestra. It gives the children the fabulous experience of playing in a group and performing in concerts and at the Cheltenham Festival. It is led by the internationally renowned Carducci Quartet.
‘Singing Squirrels’ is the Pre-Preparatory choir. This group learns songs in preparation for school performances, working on breathing and pitching skills and enjoying singing a wide variety of songs. The group is a great way for children to begin mastering the skills of singing and is available to all pupils in Years One and Two. There is no charge for this activity.
Janet Marshall has been teaching in Cheltenham for over 30 years and for many of those years at Dean Close School. Her staff bring a wealth of different experience to dance, are fully qualified and checked in accordance with the Children Act. Over the years the School has gained a reputation for its careful and caring approach to the teaching of young children and students. All classes are based on the syllabus of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. The syllabus is fun and structured and examinations may be taken once the required standard is attained – thus giving the children a sense of purpose and achievement.
KINDERGARTEN AND RECEPTION
Drama within the Early Years is structured around activities that are already part of young children’s development – action rhymes, songs, play and roleplay and follow-my-leader games.
It is during these activities that children are encouraged to develop their confidence in speaking and listening, improve individual creativity and imagination, positive promotion in group interaction and increase their awareness as part of their social circle. We play very basic memory and concentration skill games that increase their ability to learn.
During these years children are not expected to participate in any major speech skills, instead they are encouraged to gain self-confidence as they address the classes through role-play and improvisation.
Year One is very much a continuation from Reception although children are now encouraged to look more closely at the basic skills already learned. The introduction of more advanced speech and drama skills are promoted and we begin to look at texts. Storytelling is introduced as a tool to increase imagination and self-expression and children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary whilst communicating ideas.
In Year Two children are reminded of skills already learned and are given opportunities to present improvisations to their peers. Whilst lessons are still fun, we now take a closer look at the more advanced speech and drama skills. Text is used to encourage reading skills and the exploration of characters, settings, structure, etc. Children are encouraged to create characters whilst improvising and to develop their language through word games. Very basic observational skills are introduced and some theatrical terminology is used. This year is very much a preparation for skills needed when drama is introduced in Year Three.
• Glow Club – a fun-filled activity club run by our chaplaincy assistants sharing God’s love for the world
• Art & Craft Club – for Reception, Year One and Year Two children – aiming to give children opportunities to develop their creativity using different media and experience the six elements of art: colour, texture, line, shape, space and form
• META (Thinking Skills Club) – developing and extending children’s thinking skills using fun and practical activities