Guided by their Form Tutors they are introduced to a broad and challenging programme of study as they expand their learning and experience increased independence through Pre-Prep into Prep.
The Department is staffed by a core team of teachers, and girls are also taught by staff from the Senior School, who are dedicated specialists in their fields. This serves to ensure continuity when they are at the point of transition from Prep to the Senior School.
The first half of the Summer Term came to a close in impressive fashion at Pipers with a magnificent performance of “Mulan” from our Year 7 Drama Club.
The production tells the story of Mulan and her adventures following the Hun invasion of China. Along with her mischievous dragon sidekick, Mushu, it is Mulan’s task to save the Emperor! Defying the village matchmaker, Mulan takes up arms and disguises herself as a boy in order to spare her father from having to serve in the army. As the great battle with the Huns approaches, Mulan must choose between revealing her true identity as a girl or saving all of China with her clever plan.
The Drama Club members showed an impressive level of energy as they brought the action-packed show to life on the Arts Centre Theatre stage. With some catchy songs, and ample opportunity for the girls’ comic timing to shine through, it was hugely enjoyable to watch.
Drama teacher and Production Director, Miss Edwards said, “When I started directing this production earlier in the year, I had no idea just quite how dedicated and professional the cast would be. Every production at Pipers take a considerable amount of preparation and hard work, and “Mulan” has been no exception to this. However, the process has been extremely enjoyable for everyone involved and I cannot thank the girls enough for bringing the show to life in such a vibrant way.”
In early May Pre-Prep went on a trip to the Chiltern Open Air Museum, an outdoor museum in Chalfont St Peter which tells the story of the unique history of the Chilterns through buildings, landscapes and culture.
The Museum’s mission is to rescue threatened historic buildings from the Chilterns and to preserve them for future generations. They have re-erected 35 rescued buildings to date, spanning 2,000 years of Chilterns architecture and including a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse, built using data from an archaeological dig near Dunstable, and Medieval and Tudor barns. The Museum’s Victorian buildings include a working Victorian farm, toll house and forge, a tin chapel, vicarage room and newly-rebuilt wychert cottage. From more modern times, their collection includes a 1940s Prefab, Nissen Hut and a Furniture Factory from High Wycombe.
For their visit the girls were focussing on Anglo Saxon life and they enjoyed a range of activities including: creating Anglo-Saxon brooches using metal sheeting and small glass beads; writing with runes on a clay tablet; handling replica Anglo-Saxon artefacts displayed on the Lord’s table; writing in Latin with quills and ink, practising the writing techniques used by monks in early Anglo-Saxon England; handling straw and using a hammer to experience creating roof thatch for Anglo-Saxon dwellings, and exploring and playing some of the games played by Anglo-Saxon families including solving Anglo-Saxon riddles. The girls also learnt about the properties of clay and the history of brick, before having the opportunity to make their own bricks.
…. No, it’s SuperSam! The Junior Theatre Company put on a very entertaining production of “The Amazing Adventures of SuperSam”, by Craig Hawes, in the Arts Centre Theatre in April.
Samantha Marvel may be the clumsiest clot in Megaville, but she’s happy to read her comics and dream her life away. That is until it’s turned upside-down when she discovers that local hero, The Candy King, is actually a Super-Villain determined to conquer the world with his corrupt confectionery! Can SuperSam crush The Candy King and save the planet?
It was a lively action-packed show, with jokes that came thick and fast, delighting the audience. It provided an opportunity for every performer to be fully involved in the story and really allowed the whole cast’s passion for performance to shine through.
Head of Prep Drama, Ms Bevan, said, “Pipers Junior Theatre Company offers girls in Years 5 & 6 a great opportunity to develop their confidence, performance skills and team-work. It also allows the group to cast the show themselves, which enables girls who wouldn't always get picked for major roles to put themselves forward and rise to a new challenge, which they did amazingly well. Working on SuperSam has been a fantastic experience for all the girls involved.”
On a beautifully sunny Wednesday afternoon the entire Prep Department did fantastically well, taking part in an energetic biathlon event to raise money for the 2017/18 Prep Charity, “Rays of Sunshine”.
“Rays of Sunshine” is an award-winning national children's charity which aims to brighten up the lives of seriously ill children in the UK aged three to 18 years old by granting wishes, granting hospital ward wishes and organising outings and large scale events for seriously ill children. You can find out more about their amazing work at https://raysofsunshine.org.uk/
The girls raced in their year groups, starting with a run around the school grounds followed by a swim in the Orchard Pool, with the distance varying depending on the age group. Every member of the Department showed a huge amount of Pipers’ spirit, cheering each other on as they made their way round the course and encouraging their peers to complete both elements in the quickest time possible.
At the end of the event each girl received a medal to mark their achievement. It was a lovely afternoon, allowing the girls an opportunity to enjoy being active, whilst at the same time supporting a very worthy cause.
In the run up to the end of term girls in the Pre-Prep Department were very excited to welcome their family members to school to join in with two afternoons of Easter-themed crafting.
The girls and their visitors had the opportunity to make a number of items including daffodil windmills, spring chicks, Easter baskets, Easter chick egg cups, Easter bunnies and Easter egg and lamb mosaic coasters.
It was a wonderful experience for the whole Department to work together and be creative and also meant the girls had some lovely decorations to take home for the holidays.
The Easter celebrations continued with a beautiful display at our annual Easter Bonnet Parade when each of the girls showed off the bonnet they had made at home to the rest of the Department. The girls had used lots of different decorations to style their creations including ribbons, mini eggs, straw, flowers, cotton wool, flowers and even mini carrots!
It was a lovely way to end the term and everyone particularly enjoyed the delicious cupcakes provided by our School caterers, Holroyd Howe, each one beautifully decorated to reflect the Easter theme.
In sport, with a new focus on playing Cricket, the Prep PE Department invited in the organisation “Chance to Shine” to come to Pipers and introduce the sport to the girls.
Chance to Shine is a national charity on a mission to spread the power of cricket. Working with local cricket boards and thousands of schools all over the country they want to demonstrate how exciting cricket can be and encourage young people of all ages to get involved in the sport.
The senior girls at Pipers have received coaching though Chance to Shine for a number of years and it is now time for pupils in Year 1 – 6 to also benefit from the opportunity.
Our “All Star” coach Emma quickly got the girls active, participating in fun batting, bowling and fielding drills. Each session finished with a fun caterpillar game in which every student applied all of these skills to competitive match play.
What a wonderful introduction to the sport – we now can wait for the Summer Term and cricket season!
The Pre-Prep Department thoroughly enjoyed a visit to Warwick Castle at the end of February, exploring over 1,100 years of history.
They started their visit in “The Great Hall” looking at all the artefacts on show, including suits of armour and two pristine pieces of equestrian armour. The girls also studied two different fossils they found in the Hall’s floor.
During their visit the girls joined the Castle’s History Team to embark on a guided tour of some of England’s most important Kings and Queens. They were introduced to monarchs including William the Conqueror and Queen Elizabeth II and discovered how they have each influenced Warwick Castle and why they are important to us today. The girls were particularly excited to learn some very interesting facts about William I and Henry VIII and his six wives.
Later on in the day, the girls became immersed in a magical world of legend and myth, listening to a magical story from the Castle Princess.
They also had the opportunity to explore further rooms in the castle where they saw different domestic activities being carried out and cannon balls being made in readiness to protect the castle!
The visit was a truly memorable experience for the girls which really brought history to life.
The Gardening Club at Pipers has proved its green fingered credentials gaining “Five Star Gardening School” accreditation from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Gardening Club is a great way to learn about the environment and how things grow.
We are immensely proud to have been named a “Five Star Gardening School” after receiving the accreditation from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
To gain this highly prestigious title the Gardening Club had to work through five levels of Award which started with providing evidence to the RHS of planning the gardening project and its benefits to the school. Progressing through the stages the Club had to show that their gardening knowledge was increasing through learning about planting, building on their practical skills and gaining an awareness of environmental issues.
By the time they reached Levels 4 and 5 amongst other things the Gardening Club members had to show that they could use tools professionally and that they were growing and harvesting produce throughout the year. They also had to demonstrate that they were sharing the garden with others and passing on their skills.
Gardening Club is a fantastic activity for the students at Pipers to get involved in. As well as planting and caring for all the produce in the allotment, the girls complete regular projects focussing on a variety of aspects including healthy eating and the idea of “plant to plate”, composting and recycling, garden wildlife and companion planting.
Each year the Club rotates their plot growing different plants in different areas and varying produce throughout the seasons. They also care for the wildlife in the garden with a bug hotel, bird feeders and bird box. Some of the produce from the most recent harvests has included sweetcorn, spinach, onions, parsnips, potatoes, green beans, beetroot, rhubarb, cauliflowers, nasturtiums, sunflowers and poppies.
Highlights from the Gardening Club’s activities this academic year include:
Taking part in the RHS Big Soup Share Campaign. For this project the Gardening Club supplied produce they had grown from seed – namely spinach, onions and potatoes – to be made into a soup, along with beetroot for beetroot brownies. With help from the school catering team, the soup and brownies were then made and sold to raise money for charity.
The Gardening Club is currently supporting the “Ribbon of Poppies Pledge” which is a national imitative aiming to create a ribbon of poppies stretching from Land's End to John O'Groats. The idea is that it will act as a living legacy to all those who dies in World War One, as we approach the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Gardening girls in both Pre-Prep and Prep are currently participating in a “Grow your own Potatoes” challenge learning about where potatoes come from, how they grow and that potatoes are a healthy food.
In recognition of the RHS Award, as well as an “RHS Five Star Gardening School” plaque the Gardening Club has also received £200 in National Garden Gift Vouchers which they intend to put to very good use as they plan the next round of planting.
Headmistress, Mrs Ness-Gifford, said “As a school that actively promotes outdoor learning, to be named a “Five Star Gardening School” is something we are immensely proud of. Through the Gardening Club we can teach our students not only about the environment and sustainability, but also life skills including confidence, teamwork and communication. Running projects such as this helps our young people to engage with their surroundings and encourages better and healthier lifestyles. I am hugely grateful to Gardening Club leader, Mrs Martin-Löf, along with her band of helpers, and of course the students, for all their hard work in making the initiative such a success.”
Forthcoming Open Days
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