A Broad and Balanced Curriculum at Park Hill School
Mr Bond, Headmaster at Park Hill Preparatory School and Nursery, a small independent school for boys and girls aged two to 11 years, brings us up to date with Kingston’s ‘best kept little secret’
What are you most proud of at Park Hill Preparatory and Nursery School?
Without a doubt the sense of community and positivity that permeates through all that we do. One of our parents recently described us as ‘the best kept secret’ amongst a part of Surrey and London where there are many excellent independent schools but few that are our size, are mixed and have a broad, balanced ‘hands on’ curriculum.
With an average of 11 children in each class and an absolute maximum of 16, our teachers spend quality time with each child each day to ensure they get the support and challenge that we all want for our children. This, coupled with an emphasis on reading, phonics and a love for learning enables our children to thrive in all areas of the curriculum. Our class sizes and emphasis on respect and tolerance ensures the highest standards of pastoral care.
So tell us about the ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum you offer?
We have an exceptional team here at Park Hill who bring great passion to their teaching. We are proud of our ‘nursery in a school setting’ where we provide a highly nurturing environment with an Early Years curriculum planned and delivered by teachers along with specialist teachers of Physical Education, French, Ballet, Music and Performing Arts in addition to our Woodlands School where children make the short walk to Richmond Park to enjoy their learning outside the classroom.
As the children progress through the school to Year 6, they build on this excellent start. Still with an emphasis on reading, writing and mathematics but we then maximise opportunities for children to apply their learning to all other areas of learning, adding specialist Latin, Games at Kingston Grammar School playing fi elds, Science, Computing, 11+ and Adventure School. We also extend the opportunities for competitive sport, including a highly successful triathlon team.
Science, for example, is delivered by a highly talented specialist teacher from Year 3 who ignites imagination and critical thinking through highly practical lessons in the science lab – how many seven year olds do you know have explored the respiratory system in augmented reality and then held and explored ‘actual’ lungs?
We are also one of just 40 schools in the UK and Ireland that have achieved Apple Distinguished School Status. This is awarded to schools following a two year qualifying period who demonstrate continuous innovation in learning, teaching and school environment. Described as being some of the most innovative schools in the world, we are naturally proud to have been recognised with this accolade.
Our philosophy is straightforward; we use technology to enhance and extend the quality of teaching and learning. A perfect example of this is where children recently completed a piece of creative writing using a wonderful range of descriptive vocabulary. Once written and edited, they then used a combination of green screen technology and stop motion technology to quite literally bring the story alive. How many children have made a movie from their own creative writing?
This also extends to children managing their own workfl ow and, on a daily basis, using technology to present their research or latest work in front of their peers. Standing confi dently and presenting information to their peers or whole school are part of our curriculum right from the Early Years.
Our children also learn how to code from Early Years and then go on to enjoy block and then Swift coding as they progress through the school.
So the school is all about technology?
Far from it, while we value the role of technology we want children to develop confi dence and to thrive in all areas of the curriculum. A perfect example is our learning outside the classroom. Woodlands School from two years of age provides our children with opportunities to explore the incredible natural learning environment of Richmond Park and enjoy extending the curriculum through a range of child-led enriched learning opportunities. This is then extended from when the children enter Year 2 into our unique Adventure School curriculum.
Using our perfect location right next to Richmond Park and with easy access to the Surrey Hills, the Thames and South Coast, our children develop an extraordinary range of skills that allows them to prepare, plan and undertake a range of expeditions and experiences in a variety of environments. We start with ensuring the children complete a fi rst aid qualifi cation before, then working with them to be able to navigate using an OS map, compass, GPS, celestially and also using the natural environment to take bearings. Building their own bivvy shelters and cooking on Trangia stoves allows them to then go on their fi rst expeditions in a confi dent and safe way.
Everything we do is designed to give all of our children the very best and balanced curriculum to enable them to thrive and develop a natural confi dence, delivered by a tremendous team of teachers in an environment that fosters the highest standard of pastoral care and provision; it is an absolute privilege to welcome parents and children to the school each and every day.
Park Hill Preparatory School & Nursery
Queens Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 7SH
020 8546 54968