The Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum offers everything to stimulate the developing child. A strong emphasis is placed on both English and Mathematics through the use of written and spoken English and the understanding and enjoyment of Maths. The Prep curriculum also has a strong emphasis on phonics, including the phonic screening for Year 1 pupils in June each year. The Prep curriculum is broad and balanced with the inclusion of Science, Religious Education, PSHE, Creative Art, History, Geography and Computer Science. An exciting curriculum delivered by specialist Music, French and Physical Education teachers completes the subjects on offer. All subjects are based on the National Curriculum and teachers are challenged to extend and enrich the curriculum by developing a thematic approach to bring learning to life. Hence it is typical for children to approach their learning through a wide variety of inter-linked activities culminating in an engaging experience where their skills and knowledge can be used for a real purpose. Pupils enjoy participating in creating a Stone Age Museum, for example, where their learning across all areas of the Year 3 curriculum is showcased and celebrated with older pupils and parent visitors.
We enrich our curriculum through a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities, including those related to music, drama, sport, RE, the sciences and the arts. In the Art department we develop individual creativity through our wealth of resources and expertise. We provide tuition in a wide range of forms; painting, clay modelling, collage, pastel work and observational drawing. Art work is placed into context and classical artists are taught alongside modern artists. Art Theory is explored and we delve into the artists’ motivations behind the works that we study.
Music also plays a key role in the life of the Prep department. Whilst we applaud and encourage individual musical talent, we also aim to instil a firm understanding of working together within the school. Each pupil plays an important part in the process of singing together, whether it is in a Choir or singing a variety of rousing traditional Hymns during Monday assemblies and Masses. Our extensive programme of events in the Prep department gives every pupil an opportunity to perform, whether they are a singer, a pianist, or a drummer! Our Prep Nativities and the Carol Services are particular highlights in the school calendar, alongside events such as various charity concerts, musical workshops and in house recitals. All music lessons are taught by an experienced music teacher.
The numerous extracurricular opportunities for drama at St. Mary’s Prep include a variety of performance related projects, an annual speech competition and a weekly drama club. In addition to this, pupils use drama techniques within lessons such as role play, improvisation and script writing. Stage management and prop design also form part of the whole drama experience culminating in a bi-annual performance by the Prep School which takes place at the end of the spring term.
We believe learning outside the classroom is as essential to students’ development as learning within the classroom, and so ensure our students experience a wealth of extracurricular opportunities. We make the most of the school’s own natural environment by exploring the grounds and using the natural resources. We also plan a variety of enriching visits to local and regional museums, theatres, religious and cultural centres and other educational facilities. There is an outward bound residential week to the Brecon Beacons for our year 6 pupils every summer while Year 5 visit the Isle of Wight in September for outward bound and team building activities. Together, these Prep curriculum experiences stimulate and challenge our young pupils, helping them to live and work together, achieve exceptional results and develop as well rounded individuals, ready for their transition to our Senior department and beyond.
At St Mary's, we recognise the importance of PE and the role it has to play in promoting long term, healthy lifestyles. A varied curriculum is in place with activities including dance, athletics, gymnastics, games and swimming, all taught by specialist teachers. A wide range of clubs exists and the children have opportunities to practise their sporting skills in competitions within school and against other schools. St Mary's has a proud history of sporting achievement in Southampton.