North London Pre-Prep Transforms School Playground into Petting Zoo
For the last week in the lead up to half term, North Bridge House Pre-Prep School welcomed a mobile farm to its leafy Hampstead playground for Year 1 and 2 pupils to enjoy a whole day of outdoor learning. With everything from alpacas to a bearded dragon, the Key Stage 1 children got to touch and hold the animals whilst learning all about the science behind their growth and development.
The family run mobile farm from Cambridgeshire, Home Grown and Raised educated the children on each of the various breeds of animal, discussing their defining characteristics, diet, survival instincts and care regime.
“I have never had such a curious group of children keen to ask so many great questions,” said Andrew Millard from Home Grown and Raised.
Having learnt that Poppy the barn owl was a hunter, flying silently to catch her prey, the children were interested to find that the emus next door to her were unable to fly.
“So how do they catch their prey?” asked a Year 1 pupil, intrigued by the emus’ small wing span.
Taught that this breed runs to hunt its food, the 5 to 7-year-olds were engrossed in the great many lessons there were to learn about each of their weird and wonderful visitors.
North Bridge House Pre-Prep pupils did not shy from handling any of the animals in their playground petting zoo, learning that ponies’ hooves are made from keratin like human hair and nails, and that hedgehogs “huff” to raise their spines when they sense a threat.
“The children got so much out of it and asked some amazing questions. That’s the impact of P4C!” said Headteacher, Mrs Christine McLelland.
Philosophy for Children (P4C) has proved a highly successful addition to the high-achieving school’s broad curriculum. Weekly lessons provide a platform for young children’s naturally inquisitive nature, encouraging them to question the world around them and value their own and each other’s ideas.
Aside from developing their moral compasses, encouraging philosophical enquiry from an early age has been found to help children better articulate themselves. The Education Endowment Foundation stated that after a year of philosophy, pupils make two-month’s additional progress in reading and Maths. Having seen the great impact on NBH Pre-Prep pupils, this summer, head teacher Christine McLelland expects a similar result to last year’s 40% of Key Stage 1 pupils performing in the top 5% of the country in English and Maths.
In the meantime, North Bridge House Pre-Prep continues to build on its outstanding personal development of pupils with as many opportunities for outdoor learning as possible, finding that “children who may have been shy or lacking in confidence before joining the school are now thriving and participating in all that the school provides.” (School Inspection Service, November 2017)
Published on: 31st May 2018