Investment in Science puts the Prep School in the rare position of having a new, dedicated laboratory for Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The outstanding facility ensures all children in the school can enjoy the full scientific experience together, carrying out investigations and experiments as full classes and in small groups within their class.
Children had significant input in the design of the lab and some of its key features were their ideas based upon their own research and previous experience of school science. Two sides of the lab are lined with cupboards containing practical equipment suitable for young children, such as plastic test tubes with lids, funnels and beakers, electrical circuits, magnets, torches and fun substances like bouncy putty. The units have basins for cleaning up after work. At the front is a teacher’s bench large enough for a class to gather around to watch demonstrations and from where the children can collect and return equipment. An interactive wall behind ensures complete involvement.
The main advantage of the lab is that a whole class can work on experiments at the same time. Everyone can be taking part in experimental Science and designing their own experiments in an organised room where all the equipment is stored appropriately. The children sit at workbenches on stools with foot bars for shorter legs and wear lab coats and safety glasses.
Year 3-6 have four Science lessons per week in the lab and also benefit from Science Club as an extra-curricular option. For Year 6 children, the learning is extended even further with access to Science facilities at Senior School. Children in Pre-Prep can also experience practical Science in the lab.
Further investment has also been made in a Science Garden immediately outside the lab. It has different areas to ensure year-round multi-science use, including an area for exciting experiments, for instance involving burning, and an outdoor workbench and water supply. There is a sensory garden and planting to attract invertebrates and reflect the ecology of the local area. Colourful information signs feature topics from the planets to trees. In summer, outdoor work is extended into the wider school grounds.