Subjects in detail

Making every lesson count

At Prospect House, excellent teaching means lighting a spark. Whether our children are buzzing with the thrill of new-found knowledge or quietly focusing on an absorbing task, we make every lesson count. Via the links below, you can find out more about how we do this in each of the subjects we offer.

English

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
Sir Richard Steele

We instil a love of reading and writing from the child’s earliest days in school and these skills are given high priority. We teach reading mainly through a phonic approach although other methods are used if appropriate.

Lessons seek to stimulate creativity, imagination and a lifelong passion for literature. We incorporate the latest technology into our teaching, making lessons modern and interactive, and enabling pupil collaboration. Children are encouraged to share and celebrate their ideas with an audience, often entering their written work into national competitions or blogs, and creating and performing play scripts or stories for other children in the school. From age 7 in Year 3, we set the children by ability and teach them in smaller groups.

Pupils are exposed to a variety of genres, from poetry and creative writing to advertisements and newspaper articles. Throughout the school, they enjoy studies of novels by a wide range of of authors both classical and modern. In Year 6, the children get the chance to study the life and works of William Shakespeare, culminating in a visit to The Globe and a performance of one of The Bard’s plays.

Throughout the academic year, English is brought to life through poetry recital competitions, book weeks, trips to the theatre, debating competitions, drama workshops, and visits by published authors. Prospect House children leave the school as avid readers and confident communicators, well able to use the written and spoken word to persuade, entertain, amuse, educate and enlighten.

 

Mathematics

“Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe.”
Galileo Galilei

At Prospect House we believe that the ability to problem solve is the sign of a good mathematician. A strong foundation and confidence in number, pattern, shape and space is crucial, but real understanding occurs when applying these concepts to solve more complex problems. Deciphering word problems, choosing appropriate strategies and recording their calculations in a coherent way on paper are all skills that are developed from an early age. 

We are very aware of differing learning needs and plan lessons carefully so children are successful and feel confident. From age 7 we use sets to teach in small groups, which helps all children, regardless of ability, to make the maximum progress. We use a multi-dimensional approach, incorporating visual and concrete resources including songs and games.

We are enthusiastic about the positive impact that technology can have on the teaching and learning of maths. We use computers and iPads regularly to enhance learning in our classrooms and introduce new and effective apps and online resources regularly.

Our children enjoy maths and achieve very high standards enabling many to obtain academic scholarships to the most selective schools in the area.

Science

“Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organising our curiosity.”
Tim Minchin

The teaching of science at Prospect House stimulates the children’s natural curiosity in the world around them. Our hands-on approach enables pupils to develop the confidence to ask questions and to be proactive and independent in their quest for answers. A varied and inspiring curriculum, using both indoor and outdoor facilities, offers plenty of opportunity for the children to roll up their sleeves and get involved in a wide range of investigative activities: always being encouraged to ask “Why?” and ‘What if?”

Pupils are also taught scientific methods to answer questions; how to carry out experiments fairly and how to analyse their results to draw conclusions.

Examples of hands-on activities and investigations enjoyed by our pupils include a study of the refraction of light with prisms, a residential visit with a focus on plants and wildlife, investigations of habitats in the nearby park and observing the hatching and growth of chicks.  In the summer term, Year 6 also participate in a STEM project where they design and build working go-karts.

Geography

“Geography is about understanding our world; it explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?”
Michael Palin

Geography is about understanding the way our planet is continuously being shaped and how this affects the way we live today and might live in the future. From the early years, our children learn by exploration and gain knowledge and understanding through enquiry. They conduct research both in the classroom and on field trips, often delivering their findings in multi-media presentations.

Practical skills are learnt through hands-on activities such as finding 10 digit map references on Wimbledon Common and discovering hidden churches in WC1. They also learn the concepts and terminology required to imagine and describe our world intelligently by studying the locations and attributes of the world’s great rivers, mountains and landforms.

Our geography curriculum informs, enthuses and prepares pupils for the world around us.

History

“If you don‘t know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.”
Michael Crichton

The children are taught a broad range of historical topics spanning different periods in time. They learn about life in previous societies both in Britain and further afield and how the past influences the present. Through lessons and trips to places of historical importance, they gain an understanding of people throughout history, studying the challenges faced and how they were overcome.

With an emphasis on innovative teaching, the children not only learn historical content but also learn valuable skills such as assessing evidence, making balanced arguments and reaching supported conclusions – all skills that are valuable in adult life. Cross-curricular activities include drama to encourage empathy and deeper understanding, and individual research projects to promote independence of thought.

Activities which bring the past to life for our young historians include examining Egyptian artifacts at the British Museum; dressing up in togas and sampling Roman delicacies at an authentic Roman banquet; walking in Henry VIII’s footsteps at Hampton Court Palace; delving into the sights and smells of the Anglo-Saxons at Hooke Court and experiencing life as a Victorian schoolchild at Guildford Museum.

Religious Education

“We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race. We all share the same basic values.”
Kofi Annan

In religious education, the children learn about the major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, along with associated beliefs, practices and customs. In an age appropriate way pupils also have opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally.

Lessons are engaging and involve songs, dance, stories and role-play. We use a variety of resources to support the teaching of RE, for example exploring pictures, books, religious artefacts and films. Children have the chance to visit places of specific religious significance including a Buddhist temple, a mosque, a synagogue and the local Anglican church.

Children who attend Prospect House School come from a number of different faiths. We promote respect and a deeper understanding of religious diversity by recognising all the major festivals.

PSHCEE

“Communication leads to community…to understanding and mutual valuing.”
Rollo May

PSHCEE includes personal, social, health, citizenship and economic aspects of learning. At Prospect House, PSHCEE is an integral part of school life and underpins all we do. It is taught in lessons but is also interwoven into our core values.  Our strong pastoral ethos promotes the children’s confidence, self-awareness and decision making skills: always encouraging respect and responsibility. Through PSHCEE we aim to help the children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become active, responsible citizens.

The children are encouraged to explore and discuss issues through open discussion, debate and role-play which all helps to promote a deeper understanding of social and cultural differences. A spirit of tolerance, empathy and respect for others lies at the very heart of what we do.

Activities such as membership of our School Council encourage the children to take on more active roles within the school and the wider community. We are also very proud of the charity links we have developed, particularly with The Albaraca Nursery School in The Gambia. Fundraising events have provided vital support to enable the school to train teachers and to provide free food and education for many children. Prospect House is always very excited to hear news from Albaraca and we look forward to letters and photographs from the children there.

Prospect House artProspect House School art

Art and Design

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
Edgar Degas

Prospect House embraces every child’s individual sense of creativity, developing imagination and expression through art and design. Children are encouraged to try different approaches and techniques to develop their artistic and design skills. The wide variety of opportunities offered include pottery, sculpture, textiles, drawing and painting and ensure the children are always engrossed in lessons. 

Projects are influenced by both old masters and current contemporary artists. The art and design programme also promotes cross-curricular links with subjects such as history, geography, maths and science. Numerous visits to London’s museums and art galleries inspire pupils further in their own artistic pursuits. Specialist art clubs after school are also available every term.

Prospect House School drama

Drama

“All the world's a stage!”
William Shakespeare

Performance is integral to developing children’s social and speaking skills, giving them the opportunity to find their unique voice Children are given the opportunity to perform in class assemblies, theatre productions, concerts and the annual poetry recital competition. Children also learn to appreciate theatre out of school, with regular visits to local theatres including Shakespeare’s Globe.

The emphasis is on participation, building confidence and ensuring that each and every child has the opportunity to shine. Drama lessons are fun, interactive and engaging; we aim to ensure every child develops confidence and a love of acting and theatre.

Music, dance and performance are key elements of life at the school and we enable the children to demonstrate all they have learnt in spectacular musical and dramatic productions.

Early Years Foundation Stage

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin

The children begin their learning journey in a safe, secure and friendly environment. Using a range of child initiated and teacher led activities, we instill a love of learning in our youngest children. Our EYFS team of experienced teachers create a vibrant, stimulating environment which enables children to grow in confidence and to learn in a fun and engaging way. Each class is taught by a qualified teacher with two assistants; expert specialists also teach music, French, gymnastics, PE and computing.

The curriculum incorporates some elements of the Montessori philosophy within the statutory EYFS curriculum. Children are encouraged to be independent learners in both the classroom and in the outdoor learning environment. Our children are active learners, always happy and fully engaged in all they do. Using a cross-curricular approach, activities are planned and delivered based on half termly topics. These topics are further enhanced with visitors, trips and special themed days.

These firm foundations provide the children with the core skills needed to extend and develop their learning throughout their school life. 

Computing

“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”
Stephen Hawking

We take an energetic and creative approach to the teaching of computing and embrace the learning needs of our 21st century children. Our teaching encourages curiosity, exploration, problem solving and improvisation with the provision of high quality resources suited to the ages, interests and needs of all pupils. Our children become digitally literate and learn how to use the Internet safely, respectfully and responsibly.

Children aged 3 to 7 learn to control virtual devices, code, word process, search for information and create graphs. Older children learn about computer simulations, coding, databases, email, spreadsheets, image manipulation, control technology, video editing and animation. Additional skills such as multimedia presentations are also developed.

The recent and successful integration of iPads as personal learning devices in Years 5 and 6, Raspberry Pi’s for advance coding and the collaborative environment of Google Apps has helped to ensure that Prospect House remains at the forefront of computer education.

French

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
Nelson Mandela

Bonjour! 

We teach French to help the children communicate in another language, and also to enable them to discover an entirely new culture and world. French is taught from age 3 and every child in the school has two lessons a week taught by a specialist French teacher.  The younger children concentrate mainly on spoken French and develop their vocabulary through fun activities, games and songs.

In the Upper School the work is both oral and written.  In lessons, children might be filmed acting out role-plays or reading their own French stories. The children also begin to learn about French grammar and are enthused by a variety of interactive French games on our iPads and computers.

Every year the parents of Year 6 children are invited to a ‘French Breakfast’ at the school. The children practise their French by acting as waiters in a café. The Year 6 children also spend a week at a French château with language and cultural activities taking place only in French.

Latin

“Qui non est hodie cras minus aptus erit” (‘He who is not prepared today will be less so tomorrow’)
Ovid

The importance of Latin within the school curriculum has been well documented. The influence that the Romans (and Greeks) have had on many aspects of our lives today is enormous, and no more so than with regard to our language. This is why the school feels it is important to foster an interest in these classical civilisations from an early age.

Latin is introduced in Years 5 and 6. The children enjoy and learn a great deal from the logical processes required to decipher and translate Latin text. They are also constantly surprised to find so many English words that derivate from Latin and Greek – who would have thought that ‘trivia’ is from the Latin word, trivia (crossings of three roads) or that ‘tragedy’ is from the Greek word, tragodia (goat song)? Fascinating!

Music

“If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is taken from them.”
Luciano Pavarotti

Summer Concert Video
Music is a hugely important part of school life at Prospect House. There are musical opportunities for everyone and standards are high. Every class in the school has two music lessons a week from the Director of Music or the Lower School music teacher. Thirteen visiting music teachers also teach over two hundred individual instrumental lessons a week. There is a large school orchestra and children can join one of the many ensembles on offer: wind ensemble, brass ensemble, string ensemble, clarinet ensemble, cello ensemble, Suzuki violin ensemble, guitar ensemble and Year 6 chamber group. ABRSM examinations are held in school and almost every year our children are successful in obtaining music scholarships at prestigious local senior schools.

The senior choir includes every child in Years 5 and 6.  The chamber choir (by audition) performs the most challenging pieces with recent repertoire including music by Purcell, Britten and Seiber. Regular outings include singing at a local care home and performing in the prestigious London Schools Concert at St. John’s, Smith Square.

Musicals are performed every year. Recent musicals include highly successful productions of West Side Story, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.

Frequent concerts of varying degrees of formality take place each term, to give as many children as possible performance opportunities, whatever their ability. Our annual summer concert to parents is the highlight of the musical year and showcases our orchestra, ensembles, choirs and music scholars.

PE and Sport

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in determination.”
Usain Bolt

Sport has great importance at Prospect House. The focus is on sport for all, with every child having the opportunity to be involved and take part. All children, including those in the Nursery, are taught by our specialist sports teachers and there is sport on the timetable almost every day. We nurture a love of sport and physical exertion through progressive, differentiated lessons that allow pupils to progress at their own pace. Pupils have the opportunity to experience both individual and team sports, including netball, hockey, football, cricket, rounders, dance, tennis, gymnastics, athletics and swimming. All are taught and coached either on-site or at excellent local facilities in close proximity to the school. Opportunities are provided for all children in Years 2 to 6 to participate in fixtures and tournaments against other schools. 

Professional athletes visit the school regularly to provide inspiration in sports such as cricket, athletics, gymnastics, hockey and archery with coaching sessions also provided by Chelsea Football club. We also sponsor promising athletes training for the Olympics. 

Our extensive programme of clubs provides further opportunities in other sports including judo, yoga, golf, cross-country, basketball and ultimate frisbee. We celebrate sporting prowess through a number of trips to sporting venues including Lords, The Oval, Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Park. We have a proud history of sporting achievement in local, regional and national events in addition to children who are awarded sports scholarships to high-profile senior schools.