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A positive and nurturing environment allows girls to explore learning in their own way and lessons are planned to stimulate curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Teaching seeks to build upon the excellent foundations laid in the Reception Class. Our girls acquire excellent reading skills early on and it is a love of literature that we endeavour to foster. The curriculum is engaging and exciting, whilst recognising the importance of core subjects such as literacy, mathematics and science.
Pupils learn from an early age the value of being numerate and we have a carefully planned syllabus, which is designed to maximise the potential of each child. We are developing a mastery approach, which emphasises depth of learning, fluency in number facts and development of problem solving skills. These are the same areas of focus, which are exhibited by the mathematically highest achieving educational jurisdictions in the world.
Through a variety of teaching activities and different learning experiences, pupils are encouraged to develop an enquiring, mathematical mind, moving beyond simply learning by rote to a thorough grasp and understanding of the concepts. The classroom is seen as a place of learning. Students are encouraged to have a mindset that effort creates success, skills can be developed, mistakes are development opportunities and resilience is tantamount. There is an emphasis on depth of understanding. Each concept taught is broken down into small logical steps and taught in different ways, often using concrete experiences and manipulatives, before moving on to pictorial representations and finally symbolic representations.
Class sizes are small, ensuring that each child receives lessons tailored to their needs, resulting in outstanding progress. The curriculum at Thornton has been designed to achieve perfection for girls in all areas of their education. Traditional class teaching is combined with specialist provision in areas such as French, Games, RE, Dance and Forest School to provide a comprehensive grounding. This allows children to become familiar with staff from across the Prep School at Thornton, making transition to the Prep department seamless.
Form Teachers teach the majority of the curriculum lessons in Years 1 and 2. Girls go to specialist music, dance and library lessons. We adopt a personalised approach to learning and have high expectations of every child. Any areas a child finds difficult are addressed through personal challenges and a variety of teaching strategies are used to ensure that all pupils can reach their full potential. The pupils and their results are closely monitored on a regular basis to make certain that their needs are met as fully as possible.
The teaching and learning is further enhanced by an engaging creative curriculum which explores topics whilst integrating all aspects of the curriculum. Recent topics have included Weather Experts, Oceans and Seas, and The Great Fire of London. Educational trips are planned to reinforce learning from the creative curriculum. The children in the Pre-Prep recently visited Bletchley Park to learn more about the code breakers and the role women played in cracking the code. Pre-Prep have also taken part in many virtual learning opportunities, including a Q&A with The Great Fire of London Monument Museum.