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Pre-Prep Subjects

In This Section

Here you can find brief summaries relating to the subjects taught within Years 1 & 2.

Art & Design

During Years 1 and 2 the children are taught to use a range of materials creatively to design and create art. They use drawing, painting, digital media and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination. Different techniques are introduced with investigation of colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, tone, form and space. They use sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas. A range of artists’ and designers’ work is discussed, with children being encouraged to make links and connections to their own work. Our children appreciate creative art and see themselves as artists. They find a sense of purpose, achievement and fulfilment in artistic expression.


By the time children enter Pre-Prep they will already know their way around devices such as iPads, and will also be able to navigate the internet with a degree of competency and confidence. Children develop the skill of programming, creating programs and system, both on and off-screen. They are able to recognise the common uses of IT in the world around them. Computing and ICT is integrated into almost every subject and is vital in helping children understand the digital world in which they live. Children are taught algorithms, how to create and debug, and how to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content. E-safety is an important aspect of their learning and the children are taught how to use technology safely and responsibly, as well as learning what to do and who to go to if they view something inappropriate online; they also have the opportunity to attend a weekly Pre-Prep Computer Club.

Design & Technology

In Design and technology children are encouraged to look at the world around them and extend their knowledge and understanding by exploring materials, components and through using construction kits. The design process enables children to learn from existing products, and creative and practical activities allow them to identify the users and the purpose of a product, as well as the design features. They generate ideas by drawing on their own experiences and plan a product with the user in mind. They are encouraged to talk about their design choices, describe what their products are for and how they will work. From an early age we encourage children to have a love of cooking, to find out where food comes from and develop an understanding of the principles of nutrition and healthy eating.


As the children progress from the Early Years Foundation Stage their word reading, spelling and language skills become their main developmental areas. Phonological awareness of blending and segmenting sounds continues to be a daily priority. Being exposed to a wide variety of prompts and scenarios leads to the children creating detailed and imaginative writing and increasingly using the joined cursive script. Throughout these two years, reading accuracy and fluency is developed alongside their written and oral comprehension. A willingness to contribute orally, including presentations to small groups is encouraged and celebrated. Our aim is to ensure that the children move into the Prep department with a love of language, coupled with secure understanding of grammatical structures and oral language skills. They also show determination to rise to the challenges presented with confidence.


From the earliest age we want to inspire our children with a curiosity and fascination about the world which remains with them for the rest of their lives. We equip them with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments. All children love to ask questions and so we use an enquiry-based approach to this subject. Initially we begin to use geographical skills through first-hand observation of our local area - what makes it special and why it matters that we produce a range of food locally in Wiltshire. Great fun is then had investigating the Seaside and the weather. Next, the world’s continents and oceans are explored under the disguise of ‘Why Don’t Penguins Need to Fly?’ Overall, we aim to challenge and support our children, enabling them to use and apply basic and appropriate subject vocabulary, subject tools including maps, aerial photographs and graphical data as well as fieldwork skills. Children are able to recognise, identify, describe, observe, reason and begin to explain in simple terms the interaction of people within their environments.


During Years 1 and 2, children start to get a sense of chronology and duration of the history they are studying by placing events on a timeline. They learn about change, continuity, similarities and differences, and gain an introduction to the nature and use of evidence. Children use specific historical words and phrases like a long time ago, before, after, past, present and similarities and differences. They begin to gain mastery from our whole school study of the Victorians when they focus on two famous people: Isambard Kingdom-Brunel and Grace Darling. Learning is brought alive through fieldwork trips to Chepstow Castle in Year 1 and Sevington Victorian School in Year 2. This enables the children to experience first-hand what it was like to live during the Norman and Victorian eras.


In Years 1 & 2, the children build on the confidence they have developed in Early Years and are encouraged to acquire a sense of curiosity, whilst taking part in fun and motivating activities. Emphasis is very strongly on communication, with most tasks being based on speaking and listening skills. The children continue to explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs, stories and rhymes and start to link the spelling, sound and meaning of words. They begin to speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, basic phrases and language structures, engaging in model conversations by asking and answering questions. Additionally, they begin to gain an insight into another culture and the lives of French people and, in the process, explore their own cultural identities and those of others.


Ensuring that pupils develop confidence and mental fluency with whole numbers, counting and place value is a priority as the children move into Year 1. At this stage children develop their ability to recognise, describe, draw, compare and sort different shapes and use the related vocabulary. Teaching involves a range of measures to describe and compare different qualities. By the end of Year 2 children know their number bonds to 20 and are precise in using and understanding place value. It is well proven that regular practice at this age is a huge aid to future fluency and so mental maths sessions become part of the daily routine. There is a similar focus upon the learning of times tables, with children gaining a number of coloured badges progressively, as they successfully grasp these. Written methods of recording work begin to be introduced and all children are encouraged to learn key mathematical vocabulary from an early age.


In Years 1 and 2 pupils build upon the essential skills they have already learnt and develop their sense of ensemble through playing and singing together.

They prepare a more sophisticated Christmas production, involving part-singing, dance and vocal solos.  In Year 1, children learn to reproduce sounds from simple scores representing rhythm and pitch, and to create their own repeating patterns of long and short sounds.  In Year 2, children are taught methods of recognising notes and counting time values and learn to play the recorder using staff notation.  

Classical and contemporary repertoire are introduced via a range of listening opportunities and children learn to describe and evaluate what they hear by considering a range of musical elements.  

All Year 1 and 2 pupils sing in the Pre-Prep choir; St Margaret's is a Platinum Sing Up school and we actively promote singing in a range of styles using a carefully selected syllabus.

Outdoor Learning

Pre-prep build on the foundations of Outdoor Learning experiences in EYFS, to ensure that there is a smooth transition into the National Curriculum. During this phase outdoor learning is particularly instrumental in supporting a range of learning styles to help the children continue to access and achieve more, independently. This includes using outdoor experiences as inspiration for making the transition into engaging in more formal, adult-led activities. The children also share more experience of off-site activities which develop their sense of belonging in their local area. They also go on day trips to make stronger links in their learning through ‘real’ first hand experiences. Pre-prep enjoy exploring natural materials, to support learning in all National Curriculum subjects. The children are encouraged to develop their understanding of growth and decay by collectively sharing responsibility for planting and maintaining flower and vegetable beds outside their classrooms. In Year 2 the children attend Adventure Club which helps foster an interest in outdoor pursuits, whilst engaging in an element of risk-taking and trial and error; skills which support transition into Year 3.

Physical Education

The effective learning skills of independence and teamwork are a key focus at this crucial age. As such, Games lessons are now directed towards the major sports of rugby, hockey, netball, football and cricket. Positions and skills are taught and then practised with partners, leading to playing in groups and teams. Children are taught to sequence a variety of rolls, jumps and balances through PE lessons, including Gymnastics and Dance; all aimed at improving co-ordination, posture, flexibility, limb control and agility.


Three overlapping and linked core themes provide opportunities for the children in Years 1 and 2 to build on their prior learning. Whilst much of this learning develops alongside personal experiences, children begin to gain a greater awareness of how they can have an impact on others. Year 1 children observe and learn to recognise the qualities of a good role-model through the relationships they build with their Year 5 House Buddies, and in Year 2 they have an opportunity to practise these mentoring skills through peer reading with children in the Reception classes. Whole school ‘EASY’ themes support our commitment to ‘Enjoyment At School – Yes!’ and children now become more involved in these.

Religious Education

At St Margaret’s all children are encouraged to embrace a full range of British Values, including acceptance and respect of people with different faiths, customs, beliefs and values. We have a Christian ethos where daily assemblies and weekly RE and PSHEE lessons help the children to become caring, responsible, empathetic, considerate young people who value our democracy, rule of law and customs. From their earliest days at St Margaret’s children are introduced to, and begin to understand, Christianity and other religions such as Islam. Other religions are mentioned when appropriate, in order to give the children an early knowledge of a variety of different faiths. British Values are embedded throughout the curriculum and children are encouraged to understand and respect each other and to start to recognise different beliefs. By the end of Year 2 the children have an understanding of the how different religious groups worship in different ways.


Observation of the world around us forms a key part of scientific development at this age. Children are encouraged to be curious and ask questions, as well as experiment to find an answer. They are guided to observe changes, notice patterns and carry out simple comparative tests. They start to work collaboratively and to listen to each other’s views. Children also begin to communicate their ideas and use a range of digital media as well as writing. Hands-on experimentation is fundamental to learning at this stage.

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