It is not an exaggeration to say that our younger pupils often skip into Bute House with big smiles on their faces. Our belief that play underpins learning at this stage of education is visible throughout the Lower School. We believe that the best way for girls to learn is to pique their natural curiosity with stimulating and creative activities.
The tables in Reception are always ready to tempt the girls into exploring something new; engaging young scientific minds or inspiring imaginations from the moment they enter the classroom. The model of continuous provision carries on until the Spring Term of Year 1. It is a gentle and well crafted transition into more formal, whole class lesson delivery which becomes firmly established by the end of Year 2. We are proud to have a unique space for our youngest pupils, including their own outdoor area and they can be found exploring the trim trail or dressing up for role plays during the three break times during the school day.
An action packed day may include specialist Dance, Music, Drama, PE, Computing, Art or Language lessons, in amongst the core curriculum subjects taught by a dedicated team of teachers. Most girls will experience small group work each day with a range of friendly and familiar professionals, committed to making each day at Bute one in which they will learn something new and have a lot of fun.
When you think about the life of Year 3 and 4, are you seeing mundane tests and children learning things off an ordinary whiteboard? Then, you are probably not in my school.
After the register, pretty piano sounds welcome you into the instrument-filled music room. Students are walking, stroding and jumping with the music, learning the tempo and dynamics. Sometimes they bump into each other and giggle with glee. Returning back to the classroom, maths games spread out on the table are waiting for you. Discussing possible solutions, children are busy stacking cubes up and trying to investigate different combinations.
English lesson begins after playing “Marco Polo” in the spacious playground. Sitting in small groups, the teacher guides pupils to read a descriptive paragraph from an intriguing book. Inspired by it, children start to draw out their imaginary pictures. The analysis of the characters’ personalities and facts are listed on a ‘Role on a Wall’. Then, the popular netball class followed. Before playing matches, they practiced chest passes, shoulder passes and ball controlling. Some leap high, some drip sweat and some shoot a goal.
The hot scrumptious lunch is served by our friendly staff in the neatly organised kitchen. It gives children adequate energy for the Science class. Bubbling with excitement, students assemble batteries, wires, buzzers, light bulbs and motors to form series and parallel circuits. Teachers patiently answer the hundreds of interesting questions. The last event is club activities, when pupils can choose to play board games, gymnastics and yoga etc.
Having absorbed lots of knowledge, students tidy their belongings and say hello to their parents.
Imagine you were about to start your day in the first year of Upper School. The first year to be more mature and to be responsible for so much more…
On a typical day I start my life at Bute House with Cross Country at 8:00am. Now, in Cross Country we run around the five netball courts until everyone joins or the teacher says to stop. Next, we pair up with anyone-this is one of the countless chances to make new friends at Bute! Miss Mulloy and Miss Steel show us the exercises and which line to stop on. After those exercises, we have 10 minutes to do one of the challenges that they give us. This is normally on the field or on the netball courts.
Next, we get our bags from the playground and go to the assembly in the hall. We normally talk about a remarkable event that is happening that week or in the near weeks.
Our academic day starts with one hour of English. In this hour, we are split into groups. The three groups are either with Ms. Meyer, Mr. Dalrymple, and Mrs. Fildes. I usually go with Ms. Meyer and in her group, we revise grammar and practise the rules.
Next, we move to the Art & DT classroom for an hour of either Art or DT (Design Technology). This is an exceptional room, filled with any kind of colouring pencils, felt tips, paints, brushes for Art and numerous utensils and different types of materials for DT! An immense space where you can express yourself! First, we give back any homework to either the Art teacher, Mr. Vessey, or the DT teacher, Mrs. Hernandez. Then we settle down in our group and listen to the teacher who assigns the exercise. I am in the Art group until half of the year and then everyone who is in the Art group, swaps to the DT group for the second half of the year and vice-versa.
Afterwards, we have half an hour of break! This is free time to enjoy with our friends in the enormous playground! Maybe you want to try Four Square for the first time? Or Cut the Cake?
After break, we walk up one flight of stairs to Ms. Tang’s classroom for one hour and a half of Math. For this class too, we are divided into groups: one group goes with Mrs. Vaughan and the rest of the class stays with Ms. Tang. I go with Mrs. Vaughan and we always have a fun challenge to solve with a partner. It is super engaging!
Lunch time! On the way down the stairs into the hall, along the walls, there is a showcase of some of the works we do in class – this rich representation goes all the way from Reception to Year 6! We have a mixture of everyone’s creations either in DT or Art or other subjects and we always love admiring them. Anyways, back to lunch! We line up in the playground and the quietest class can enter first. Year 5 is completely different from Year 4. In Year 5 we are allowed to select food on the day from the choices we can see and from the salad bar. Yummy plates!
After that (most likely) delicious meal, we rush to the playground with our friends and play lots of fantastic games and maybe even try stilts. When I joined Bute House in Year 4, I had no idea how to get on or even walk with stilts, but my friends taught me how to balance and I am now very good at it!