There is no testing in lower school: no measuring of children against each other, no comparing of achievements. We value pupils for who they are, and seek to nourish each child’s inherent abilities, supporting them through our enriching curriculum to reach their full creative, academic and human potential. We believe that it is wrong for a child to feel that he or she has failed, based on criteria set by some faceless authority.
There are no interactive whiteboards, no computers, no iPads or other electronic devices in lower school classrooms: rather there are blackboards and chalk, paintings and drawings, musical instruments, flowers, plants and art materials. Classrooms are decorated in supportive, enhancing colours, and have high ceilings and views of the treetops.
The rhythms of the school day support the children in their learning, and we mark the yearly cycles with festivals – shaping, baking, slaying and sharing dragon bread at Michaelmas, walking the labyrinth with lanterns at Martinmas, treading the Advent spiral, planting earth-candles at Candlemas, hunting for Easter eggs, dancing round the maypole on May Day, making paper doves for Whitsun, and jumping a full flaming fire at St. John’s, helping the children to experience their place in the world.