One Small Step…

The youngest children at Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall enjoy a learning environment that gives them opportunities and experiences to develop skills and confidence

St Mary’s Hall offers a challenging and stimulating environment which allows children to feel happy, confident and valued. Children are nurtured to ensure they reach their full potential academically, socially, emotionally, physically and creatively.

The Stonyhurst motto, ‘quant je puis’ or ‘as much as I can’, is as tangible and meaningful for the youngest members in St Mary’s Hall Pre-Prep as it is at Stonyhurst College.

The children in the Pre-Prep at Hodder House are encouraged to embrace:
• All that they can be
• All that they can see
• All that they can do
• All that they can learn

For a three-year-old, St Mary’s Hall nursery is the first step in the Stonyhurst journey that will take them seamlessly through an enriching education and into the world beyond. Based in Hodder House on the Stonyhurst campus, children from age three, or in the term that they turn three, enjoy a broad curriculum that celebrates each individual and offers them countless opportunities to discover their talents. St Mary’s Hall presents a unique opportunity for parents to give their child aged from three to 13, the best education possible. Taking a solid academic approach with specialist teaching, children are presented with opportunities to develop a broad range of skills.

Children in the Early Years learn through exploring, being creative, having the opportunity to think critically and by being active. The recently extended Hodder House building is a calm and flexible space which offers an exciting environment both indoors and outdoors within a countryside setting. The children also have access to the vast facilities within the Stonyhurst campus, including indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a swimming pool, sports pitches, a theatre, an observatory and access to the unique historic collections within Stonyhurst College, which brings history to life for even the youngest of pupils.

Highly trained teachers facilitate learning by observing the children’s interactions and interests and adapting the provision to meet the needs of all children, focusing on ‘stage not age’. The activities and curriculum are carefully planned to ensure they are thought provoking and motivating, promoting independence in the children’s learning journey and a natural thirst and curiosity for knowledge. There is an emphasis on a child-led curriculum with experiences both inside and outside. Mathematics along with early reading and writing, creative arts, music or physical education including dance, swimming and tennis are integral elements to the school day. Stimulation, excitement and experiential learning are considered key. In short, learning is engaging and fun.

At each new Key Stage opportunities are unlocked with access to facilities that broaden children’s horizons. While most nursery settings keep children in one room, at Hodder House this isn’t the case. The unique campus allows for everyday learning to be taken outside of the classroom to make the most of the woodland setting. Here children are allowed to develop a wide range of skills including confidence, independence, social and risk taking skills with a hands-on approach.

The outdoors are also used during an activities programme, which may involve getting their hands dirty in the gardening club where the Pre-Prep children have fun growing vegetables to take to a food bank. The children are given learning opportunities that build confidence and eloquence – key skills that will take them through St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst College and into the exciting world of university and work.

“We believe in equipping children to think for themselves and take risks within safe boundaries. For example, the children are found building dens, creating paint using natural materials or even toasting marshmallows on an open fire to name but a few activities! New experiences present opportunities,” explains Ros Wroblewski, Assistant Head (Primary Phase) of St Mary’s Hall. “We encourage creative thinking that pushes boundaries.”

While St Mary’s Hall Pre-Prep is based in Hodder House, it is very much part of the Stonyhurst campus. Younger children take part in whole school assemblies and have the opportunity to interact with older pupils, giving them further opportunities to enjoy the international dimension to the school. As a boarding school it has a worldwide reach attracting overseas pupils, who introduce other cultures and languages. From Pre-Prep all pupils are encouraged to act, sing, dance and perform with confidence before an audience. The annual Nativity sees all the younger pupils perform alongside professional musicians.

The St Mary’s Hall school day incorporates various extra-curricular activities into the curriculum with all facilities on-site. In recognition of the busy working lives of some parents, the Pre-Prep unit has provision for an extended day where children can enjoy tea with fellow pupils and an exciting activities programme once the normal school day has ended.

The strong Jesuit principals of broadening horizons and looking to the future, underpins learning for Pre-Prep pupils, who also benefit from an ethos that combines the traditional values of courtesy, good manners and politeness, which they learn from an early age.

When a child starts their journey at St Mary’s Hall Pre-Prep, parents become a part of the wider Stonyhurst community and all the facilities the school has to offer.

Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall Pre-Prep welcomes children of all faiths and offers an accessible and affordable education for all children at nursery age. Parents who are looking for a nursery for their child are welcome to visit the school and see the wonderful facilities that will give their child a great start on their learning journey.

To arrange a private tour or for more information about St Mary’s Hall Pre-Prep please contact Sarah Morrison the St Mary’s Hall Registrar on 01254 827073

Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall
Clitheroe BB7 9PU
01254 827073



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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