The Curriculum is extended by a myriad of extra-curricular activities, visiting workshops and external visits. These encourage the girls to discover interests and aptitudes which augment their academic strengths. Our girls enjoy considerable success at their ongoing schools and thereafter at university and in life.
Emphasis is placed not only on academic, sporting and artistic ability but also on manners and consideration to others.
The ability to communicate ideas and feelings clearly, effectively and with confidence. A love of reading with the ability both to comprehend and to question the text. These are qualities that our English teaching is designed to foster.
At Garden House, English is the medium through which almost all learning takes place, both inside and outside the classroom. During English lessons, as well as in many other parts of the curriculum, we lead our pupils to develop confidence in speaking and listening, spelling, grammar, reading and writing.
Stimulating and creative lessons provide opportunities for the girls to communicate independent views and opinions, listen and respond imaginatively and express feelings through spoken and written language. The children develop their handwriting, being encouraged to use cursive script during Years 1 and 2 and working towards achieving their pen licences, typically in Years 3 and 4. In Years 4 and 5, the children undertake the English Speaking Board examinations, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills before external examiners.
In lessons, children will be reading, discussing, and producing a wealth of different texts. These include poems, descriptions and stories.
We nurture a love of reading at Garden House; realising its potential to transport children to different places, whilst positively impacting on their ability to access all other areas of the curriculum.
Particular highlights in the English calendar include author visits, Poetry Day and Book Week. These transform the school into a hive of creativity and immerse children into the world of literature.
We use mathematics in almost every aspect of our lives at Garden House. Our curriculum is aimed at allowing the children to apply mathematical concepts with confidence not only in their maths lessons but also across the curriculum and in daily situations.
Lessons are approached in a variety of ways to ensure the children progress to the best of their ability. All pupils have opportunities to learn in a way which caters for their learning styles using a range of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic resources. In each year group the following strands are taught and reinforced: place value; number (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division); calculating; shape, space & measures; and, data handling. Problem solving is at the heart of our teaching and children are encouraged to apply their learning to practical situations, this includes creating magic potions, designing a Theme Park or using their measuring skills to work out the area of the chicken coops found in Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’!
Mental arithmetic is a key skill which is taught from an early age. Every there is a house competition where each child has the opportunity to compete in the Maths Olympiad which involves solving challenges and puzzles in house teams across the year groups. This causes much excitement for each pupil in Junior School upwards as they wait in anticipation of who will win the much coveted Olympiad award!
Whilst we try to avoid blowing up the school, we do have a huge amount of fun in Science! Children love learning Science at Garden House School and for many children it ranks amongst their favourite subjects. Our aim is for our children to leave a Science class feeling inspired and to see the world with a renewed sense of wonder and inquiry.
Lessons are approached in a hands on, practical manner. The children are encouraged to relate their scientific discoveries to everyday situations. There are so many adventures for the children such as exploring living habitats, caring for recently hatched chicks, discovering patterns and animal behaviours at London Zoo, handling dinosaur fossils or using their circuit knowledge to create wonderful inventions.
Through Science children learn to think differently, investigate ideas, ask questions and discover answers themselves. They do this by observing, pattern seeking, identifying, classifying, researching and carrying out comparative and fair testing. Most importantly, in Science the children learn that mistakes are not to be feared but instead form a vital part of their learning journey.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Week is a highlight of the Garden House calendar with teachers and visiting scientists collaborating to engage, enthuse, and foster the children's curiosity via a wide variety of experiments, demonstrations and workshops.
History and Geography encourage the children to develop a curiosity for the world around them as well as an understanding of the past. These subjects encourage the children's critical thinking and reasoning, helping the children to make sense of the world around them.
History at Garden House is so much more than dates and facts; it is a meaningful exploration through time, encouraging a natural curiosity to question and developing the skills to find answers. The children take a chronological journey through a range of topics from British and world History.
We are extremely lucky as a school to have a number of connections through the community with establishments such as the Royal Hospital and the Chelsea History Festival. Trips to places such as Hampton Court or a real Victorian classroom further enrich the children’s understanding and help bring the past to life. We also entertain a number of visitors from history like Roman legionaries or Florence Nightingale.
Above all, we believe that the ability to formulate enquiry skills and develop the children’s own opinions is paramount to becoming successful historians. It is this sense of wonder and excitement that we harness within the children, equipping them for life.
In Geography we want the children to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world we live in and on which we all depend. It is important that the children develop a sense of responsibility for the Earth as well as an awareness of cultural diversity.
The children develop their knowledge of environmental issues and learn to form their own opinions on them. Map work and Global Location form an important part of the Geography curriculum allowing the children to place their learning and their own experiences into a broader context.
Hands-on activities during field work make their learning more tangible allowing the children to develop their confidence to cherish and explore the world around them.
At Garden House, we consider the learning of languages to be a central and critical part of every child’s education. Learning further languages allows children to broaden their horizons, open their minds and, in due course, embrace a greater variety of opportunities.
The learning of languages also offers children a new and challenging academic discipline and improves their understanding of their own language. As Goethe said, “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”
All children learn French from the age of 3 when they start in Kindergarten. From a strong oral start, based largely on song and conversation, the children develop their written skills in preparation for Senior Schools. In Upper School, the children go on a week-long trip to northern France which immerses them in French life and culture.
In addition, there are language clubs in the morning and after school, which are tailored to the appropriate levels. The languages offered depend on the demands of each year. French, Spanish and Mandarin are offered every year and others when there is sufficient demand.
In the Upper School, children start learning Latin. They are encouraged to develop a rigorous approach which is applied not only to the study of Latin but also to their own and other modern languages. Thus, we aim to promote a passion for the Classics which they will carry with them onto the next stage of their education.
The Computing department at Garden House aims to provide our girls with a number of invaluable transferable skills, which will help them prosper and work confidently in the increasingly technologically based world of the 21st Century.
Alongside providing a firm foundation in the operation of the most widely-used software packages, our objective is to inspire our girls to become the forward-thinking programmers, web-designers, games-makers and app-developers of the future. A focus on programming, coding and control technology promotes the importance of approaching tasks in a logical and systematic way.
As a non-selective school, Garden House is committed to enabling every child to achieve their full potential and our strong and committed Learning Support Department plays an active role in this.
It is staffed by a team of full-time highly-qualified special needs teachers, augmented by part-time similarly-qualified teachers, enabling us to provide specialist help for a wide range of learning difficulties.
Support is tailored to a child’s specific requirements, whether it be in the classroom, as part of a small group or one-to-one lessons. Three of our specialist staff are also qualified to conduct thorough assessments to gain greater insights into a child’s strengths and difficulties.
At Garden House School, we believe teaching and learning should be challenging and enjoyable for children of all abilities. We recognise the need to identify our Able Learners as early as possible in their school career and thereafter to make enhanced provision for them.
We use a variety of criteria by which to assess a child as an Able Learner, including analysis of class work, various assessment techniques are utilised as is observation. The School’s Able Learner Register keeps a record of such provision for each relevant child. The provision includes teaching in small groups, extension for the child within class teaching and Challenge Boards.
After School invitation-only Clubs exist to further challenge these children.
Scattered throughout the school year are a number of field trips which enhance understanding of theoretical concepts as well as encouraging the girls to be confident in new environments and independent.
Integral to the curriculum and to our committed aim of educating the whole child, visits are made to a whole host of destinations from Cathedrals including St Paul’s, museums including the Natural History and Science Museum, the V&A, National Gallery and the Royal Academy. All visits are related to what the children are learning and the girls enjoy art trips to current exhibitions. In addition to the leading museums, the children visit places such as the Cabinet War Rooms, Shakespeare’s Globe and Hampton Court. Day trips to the Wetlands, mornings out of School for Pond Dipping, visits to farms, the London Aquarium and London Zoo are regular and very popular destinations for the younger children.
In addition, we encourage visiting specialists, from fields as diverse as art and rare animal breeds, to enlighten our children. Visits range from dance and drama specialists to authors to aid Literacy and Creative Writing to artists to encourage the creative spirit. Also aimed at broadening the children’s horizons, via the weekly Newsletter, we draw attention to weekend events whether Sport Matches or Art exhibitions or Musical Concerts.
As the children get older, residential trips form part of the curriculum. These include field trips, sports tours and adventure training. We also have an extremely popular optional ski trip to Switzerland.