The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘journey’ as: ‘an act of travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart’ or ‘a long and often difficult process of personal change and development’. If you look at the synonyms for ‘journey’ there is a mix of interpretations from ‘trip’, ‘expedition’ and ‘voyage’ to ‘stumble’, ‘fall’ and ‘slip’ as well as ‘hop’, ‘skip’ and ‘dance’.
Any journey worth the walking includes many of those elements – challenge, exploration, development, change, growth. And that is certainly true of the ECS Journey. Beginning at the Woodland Garden Gate when they join the Nursery, our pupils venture across the playground to Hall House for their first day in Reception, crossing the Green to join the Prep School in Year 3, building skills and confidence in our specialist teaching areas in Chapman Court, becoming a senior pupil as they complete their public exams and the ECS: Futures Programme at the end of Year 8, before joining our growing network of ECS Alumni.
At each step along their journey, our children are looked after by a team of age-group specialists who make sure that all of the new opportunities, new joys and new challenges that open up along the way are set within a familiar and nurturing context: familiar values, familiar habits and familiar relationships bring an overarching thread of stability, reassurance and support to our children’s ECS Journey.
Our staff value pupils’ learning journeys and recognise that learning – in all its forms – should be fun and dynamic: our focus is to develop a love of learning and to encourage enquiring minds through inspiration in the classroom. Every good teacher will tell you that some of the best learning happens in the tangents we able to take in our curriculum models, and great emphasis is placed on developing the whole child, making sure there is balance in their extra-curricular activities and opportunities for them to experience key life skills.
Our approach is designed to allow pupils to:
- Enjoy a happy and secure learning environment where they are known, valued and supported;
- Develop lively, enquiring minds where questions are encouraged, and answers sought;
- Acquire knowledge and understanding which will equip them for the futures;
- Obtain skills that they can transfer to other subjects or situations.
This week. As part of their ECS Journey, our Year 2 pupils took part in an ECS Explorer Day over in the Prep School. Pupils enjoyed a Creativity & Performance day led by our Head of Drama & English Ms Bullocke, our Director of Music Mrs Featherstone and our Theatre-Director-in-Residence Ms Beal. During their workshop sessions the children brought to life the poem ‘The Sound Collector’ with actions and sound effects. Body percussion, vocal effects, mime and recitation were the order of the day, and the Year 2s whistled like kettles and purred like kittens, popped the toaster and crunched the cereal, swished the curtains and creaked the floorboards, bubbled in the bath and squeaked on old furniture – and rounded-off their afternoon with performances to Mrs Bowles and Mr Featherstone.
We take great pride in ensuring that pupils’ learning journeys from Nursery to Year 8 are packed full of opportunity, academic rigour, inspiration, appropriate challenge, and – crucially – fun. Our curriculum model – and these mini taster sessions along the way – ensure that children develop a love of learning and are fully prepared, both academically and pastorally, for each step along the ECS Learning Journey.
The OED would be proud of all that the ECS Journey has to offer. Set within a familiar and reassuring environment, it certainly includes personal development and exploration, learning about ourselves and about others, learning to get back up from our stumbles – and, rather fittingly, a few hops, skips, songs and dances!