DUCKS - High Potential Learners
In DUCKS, the focus is on educating the whole child and progresses from Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in Pre-Nursery (Toddler), Nursery and Reception to an enhanced version of the English National Curriculum (ENC) in Years 1 and 2. The aim is to strike a balance between student self-guided exploration and explicit teaching of core competencies, particularly in reading, writing, phonics, maths and Mandarin, ensuring that children are able to meet developmental milestones and achieve their academic potential. Above all, the focus is on developing confident and happy children with a zest for life and a love of learning.
Over the past seven years, a number of DUCKS children have gained places at top UK pre-prep and prep schools, via various entrance examination points, including the 7+. Both the nature of the curriculum in DUCKS, and the guidance from teachers, support children in their preparation for both gaining entry to and being confident to attend these schools. This includes running individual sessions for 7+ candidates, ensuring all required content has been covered and working on familiarity with entrance tests, the time pressure associated with them and interview technique.
This year, DUCKS children have received offers to academically select prep schools in and around the London area including Highgate, Surbiton High, and Thomas’. These are on top of offers from previous years to St Pauls, Dulwich College, Dulwich Prep, JAGS, Papplewick, Fulham Prep, Brighton College, Sydenham High and UCS. Feedback from these schools highlights the well-rounded nature of candidates from Dulwich College (Singapore), their academic prowess, the ability to articulate themselves well, and the significant length of time they have been learning Mandarin as highly positive.
In line with the teaching pedagogy, teachers extend and challenge individuals in areas of strength and interest. Examples include:
- Additional maths interest for children who demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of numbers.
- Writing and making books by group of students who have been taught and can extend formation of sounds and letters to create labels and simple sentences in books.
- If a child shows a particular passion for or knowledge of topic, for example dinosaurs, the teacher may encourage the child to lead a lesson on this subject for the rest of the class, establishing the child as the class ‘expert’.
- Children are encouraged to create individual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) projects and share with the class. The children are then challenged to apply this knowledge and experience in a different context; supporting and developing critical thinking skills at the same time.
- Children learn how to pitch their ideas, for example, pitching for their chosen person to be included in a Museum of Significant People and also enjoy Shakespeare-inspired creative writing units
Beyond the curriculum and a wide range of CCAs (Co-Curricular Activities), High Potential Learners are nurtured in the following ways:
- Exploring and extending writing using drama as a stimulus where children created personalised outcomes
- Working with drama specialist on speech and movement and opportunity to perform parts, for example, Rama and Sita play for Deepavali
- Royal Shakespeare Company inspired workshops
- ‘Take a Bow’ strings group for a small group of Year 1 and Year 2 children who are learning violin individually and then learn to play together
- Ukulele group for Year 2 by invitation as a lunchtime activity
- Children who show potential and stand out for drawing ability may be chosen to work with a specialist teacher or renowned artist to learn and develop a skill that they use in a large collaborative artwork such as a mural or creating artwork for an online gallery
- Student Council leadership roles
- House Captains
- Enrichment styled days where children are off timetable with a focus on an area of learning such as Sustainability and the UN Good Life Goals and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion