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Hodder House, Pre-Prep and Elements

The youngest children in the school develop a sense of time and place by learning through the familiar e.g. their own time line, people they know and places they visit. Throughout the rest of the Lower School, the children are taught Skills Based Learning (SBL) through creative themes. This allows the children to learn not only what they need to know but how to learn.

By teaching these skills through creative themes that capture the children’s imaginations, learning becomes deep and relevant and the skills they learn are transferable to other subjects and topics. In history and geography, children are challenged to tackle key questions such as How could we create a city of the future? by looking at the problem as historians and geographers.

History teaching at St Mary’s Hall can best be described as an immersive experience. Students learn to experience the lives of their Victorian counterparts through dressing up and role play as well as studying source material. Pupils experience life as an evacuee, through visits to local air raid shelters in costume, as well as using independent research and multi-media teaching.

With a creative curriculum, the study of any historical period involves not only reading and research about it, and teacher input, but actually experiencing elements of the past, including developing hands-on sensory familiarity with what they wore, what they ate and how everyday items were used.

Through this creative history topic work, pupils learn about historical changes within living memory, revealing, where appropriate, aspects of change in national life. They also learn about events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally (for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries). They research the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, using some to compare aspects of life in different periods. They also look closely at significant historical events, people and places in their own locality. Topics covered might also include:-

  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
  • The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
  • The achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of them.
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history