Happiness is probably the first thing that visitors notice when coming to Hampton Court House for the first time: joyful children who enjoy being at school and enjoy learning.
Happy children learn more and they learn in a better way – they internalise that learning is exciting and an adventure, and not just something they “have” to do. Their creativity and ideas are encouraged and valued. We have for example children in Year 2 who write and perform little plays or children in Year 3 who organise school events (for example a charity flea market – ‘le marché aux puces’): their projects are valued – not only by parents and staff but, importantly, by the older children within the school community.
We believe that acquiring fluency in other languages is essential in our modern world. Our effective French immersion programme was recently recognised by the Times Education Supplement in their annual Independent School Awards. The day starts at 8.35 am when the children are welcomed by their French native Form Tutor who only speaks to them in French. During the day around 50% of the lessons will be taught in French as well as a life skills session after lunch and homework club at the end of the day. In addition to the daily French lesson, we teach Mathematics, Humanities and Drama in French. Cultural immersion also takes place via French theatre or visits to the Institut Français.
It is through this complete approach to French that children are able to absorb the language and speak with fluency and confidence.
Of course, some children join the school without speaking the language and one of the joys of working at HCH is seeing the speed with which young children achieve fluency in a new language. In general it takes one term for a child to understand almost everything in French and within a year they are able to start to speak the language. Children are amazing learners!
It is our experience that children love reading, writing and mathematics and do not consider it ‘work’ if they receive praise for their efforts and only the most tactful feedback, when success is not achieved first time round – a guidance which in no way takes away their self-esteem.