Prand is for most children, the first school experience; the first experience at forming bonds, trust and relationships with others outside the family unit; the first experience of following guidance and co-operating in a group situation. At Prand we are acutely aware of the importance of this first experience and how it could impact on future experiences in education and learning. A happy first experience is vital to form a positive attitude to future learning.
Each child is unique and we celebrate each little personality and how it affects their approach to school, learning and their interactions with others. We strive to create an environment where all these little individuals can reach their full potential.
We gradually introduce and develop the skills needed for each child to cope in life, in formal education, in society; as well as to attain personal well-being. Social skills are constantly being discussed and empathy encouraged. We live in such a diverse society today and so we also encourage the children to think of various ways to tackle basic conflicts and situations. Too often these basic life skills are neglected. Respect, empathy, co-operation and conflict resolution are vital skills for our children to acquire before entering the big wide world. If they master these skills they will be able to tackle any situation and can only be successful in society and in life in general.
The school programme is full and well- balanced! Today the world is fast paced and more and more pressures are placed on children to do more formal learning at an earlier age. Through previous remedial experience, I realised that many remedial difficulties that arise later in schooling, can be prevented by ensuring that sensory, perceptual and thinking skills are experienced and practised often. And that these skills are essential for success in more formal learning. There is no point in trying to fast track the children into formal learning if a solid foundation has not been established.
The three-year school programme is based on the principle that children of this age need to learn by being actively involved in their learning and by physically experiencing new concepts. The programme includes creative activities such as music, drama, fantasy, movement and more formal learning activities which are all covered in a fun and interactive way.
Lots of sensory and perceptual development experiences are included in each and every activity and are encouraged at every opportunity, ensuring that each little one gets a lot of exposure to these. This helps to consolidate your little one’s skills and development so that they are better prepared for more formal learning at “big” school. Most importantly, they allow every little person the opportunity to “succeed”, grow and to build a positive self-esteem. They also learn to persevere.
Movement and music are excellent ways to promote the development of learning pathways in the brain and so these activities are often incorporated in many of our learning activities, even in the formal learning activities.
While we do have a planned daily schedule, we have the freedom to allow a natural flow between all activities and are not controlled by the clock.Children this age should be in a flexible environment, they are still so little and definitely need the freedom to play and learn through participation and by being actively involved in their environment. We strive to create a balance between more formal learning, play and learning through doing.
Each class has an opportunity to do free creative and messy art in the art room at some point in the day. Other than during adult- guided activities, the children are allowed to move freely between activities and free play. We never underestimate the importance of play and so every day there is plenty of time for “free play”.
The classrooms are set up invitingly with puzzles, construction toys, books, dress ups, dolls, threading, memory games, cars, farm animals, dinosaurs; the children are free to play with any of these during the day.
Our garden which is fully enclosed and safe has plenty of shade and sun, trees, grass and paving.