Independent School Parent
Growing curious minds
Gillian Panton, Head of Sydenham High Prep School, writes on the importance of encouraging curiosity
The minute we are born, the world around us provides surroundings to explore and discoveries to make. e ‘learning’ that subsequently happens along the way is part of a lifelong process. Children are innately curious, beginning their early lives questioning and wondering about the world around them. e ever-present, “Why?” is a word uttered with a compelling conviction that to most adults can be staggering in frequency. Young children’s ability to nd joy in learning about the simplest things and feel accomplishment in conquering those early life skills; building towers; learning to write their name; tying shoelaces is a reminder to acknowledge the power of perseverance in shaping a child’s vision for their day ahead.
At Sydenham High Prep School, we want our pupils to always remain that curious and enthused about their learning everyday. Our singular vision for excellence is built upon the core foundations of an aspirational, creative critical thinking and innovative learning environment that allows pupils to experience the joy of learning rsthand. When children are lled with a love for learning, they develop resilience, compassion for the world around them, curiosity, and communication skills.
The ability to ‘bounce back’ and persevere are central tenants to fostering a healthy approach to life and its inevitable bumps along the way. e modern challenges of the day beg of this at a more exponential rate than ever. Signalling the ‘everyday’ small moments of joy that exist and cultivating a community spirit of gratitude foster a connection between the girls at Sydenham High Prep School that is ful lling whilst grounding.
The joy of learning bubbles in the classrooms of Sydenham High Prep School every day. Enthusiasm permeates debates and discussions, whilst our teachers provide ambitious learning challenges for pupils and o en hands-on activities to better visualise and understand speci c subjects. O ering choices through challenges encourages pupils to look deeper to open up their own initial ideas. Play and imagination is encouraged at all ages, seeing the girls develop their learning together through spirited, active discourse.
Pupils learn joyfully all around the school. Recently, a STEAM day themed ‘Mission to the Moon’ marked the Artemis missions and 50 years since astronauts stepped on the moon’s surface. A team of stellar scientists from
Upper Prep inspired the school by leading assembly and demonstrating their passion for learning. e fascination and wonder of the moon inspired the STEAM activities and experiments across every year group from Reception, upwards. Pupils tested and trialled their innovative ideas using robotics and questioned each other with purpose and conviction. Enrichment opportunities such as these, expose pupils to interesting topics and o er a chance to learn new skills through practical, active learning. Whether it’s debating, coding, skateboarding, zendoodling, micro-bit development, or fencing, teachers and pupils play and learn together throughout the enrichment of the ‘everyday’ at Sydenham High Prep School.
Children are motivated in many di erent ways. At Sydenham High Prep School, we want every pupil to feel empowered and excited about learning. Our newly designed wall wraps capture the vast array of passions our pupils have and the creativity of young minds. Exposing children to a diverse, broad range of experiences and topics sparks their imagination and allows them to discover things that they eventually may become interested in exploring deeper.
Whilst children have a natural propensity for curiosity, there can be no doubt on the impact that we, as parents and educators, have on fostering a lifelong love of learning. Creating an environment where joyful learning ourishes helps children acquire knowledge and skills, but more importantly, gain con dence and pride in their own intellectual abilities as the young minds of the future. Girls at Sydenham High Prep School are encouraged to forge their own path, prepare for a future unknown; quietly con dent in the knowledge that they have all that they could ever need, within themselves. Our approach to learning at Sydenham High Prep School inspires and ensures that along this path, the girls develop the habits, skillset, mindset and the wellness to be successful wherever life may take them.