The Dollar Academy Prep School (Preparatory School) is located in its own unique building on campus. Ten large classrooms, flooded with light through plentiful windows, are home to two classes in each year group from Prep 1 (the youngest aged approx 5 years) to Prep 5 (the oldest aged approx. 9 years). The building is surrounded by safe, spacious play and activity areas; the infant classrooms have direct access to their own fenced garden area which leads on to a larger grassed area whilst a wooden trim trail follows along another side of the building leading on to an astro pitch which provides a safe, enclosed multi activity and play area for our younger pupils.
Dollar Academy's Prep School
Children join the Prep School in the August of the year they turn five, (some children will already be 5 on joining whilst others reach their fifth birthday in the remaining 4 months of the calendar year). We welcome children from many different nurseries and specifically, we work very closely with the two nurseries in Dollar itself, inviting children to join us at events such as nativities and carol services as well as welcoming them into the grounds and science laboratories. We also maintain contact with nurseries throughout our catchment area and further afield; for instance, we recently hosted a collaborative learning conference on Small Parts Play, which was attended by nursery practitioners from throughout Central Scotland.
We host Come and Play sessions for 3-4 year old children throughout the year. We welcome pre-school children and their parents, grandparents and carers into our classrooms, music rooms, gyms and grounds to give them an informal flavour of ourselves, including the people, the surroundings and experiences they are likely to meet at Dollar Academy.
In order to ensure each child is given the attention they deserve, we operate small class sizes during the early years. A class size of 12-14 children not unusual in P1. These smaller class sizes allow our teachers to know each pupil as an individual, working with them to enhance their strengths and support areas of development.
In our Prep School, there is a clear focus on the robust and effective teaching of English and Mathematics, Health and Wellbeing, Science, Social Subjects and Technologies, blending the best of traditional methods with advanced digital and interactive strategies. High quality teaching is achieved through rigorous and detailed planning, creative and motivating teaching and systematic and reflective continuous assessment. All children from Prep 1 benefit from specialist teaching, resources and facilities in Art, Music and PE (for example all children enjoy weekly swimming instruction in our 20m pool) whilst also having opportunities to learn in Senior school science laboratories and engineering work shops. Taster experiences in French, German and Spanish are offered in Prep 4 and Prep 5 ahead of more formal language lessons in Junior 1.
We pride ourselves in our promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) across both the Prep and Junior school, through our topics, STEM challenges, trips, speakers and child-initiated learning opportunities such as the Prep 5 Engineering competition.
What happens out of the classroom is as important too; we make extensive use of the school estate for outdoor learning including our bespoke ‘Learning Wild’ course and we believe in growth mind-sets through fostering enquiry and curiosity in our children.
The core school values of ‘Work Hard, Be Kind and Get Involved’ are clearly evident in the Prep School. A culture of kindness and of supporting others is embedded from Prep 1, and pupils in Prep 3-5 are encouraged to take part in the Prep School Pupil Council.
Respect for others is an important principle in the Prep School – we take pride in fostering good manners and politeness and we have high expectations for behaviour and achievement. From this firm foundation, children are equipped to make a seamless transition through school. Our children are friendly and polite and within our calm yet stimulating learning environments we encourage and support children in developing the skills and confidence to become articulate and caring lifelong learners.
Participation in the co-curricular programme and the opportunity to develop performance skills help pupils to develop the transferable skills that will support them through each transition. The range of clubs on offer in the Prep School varies from year to year but recently has included pom pom club, gardening, wildlife explorers, science, board games, fencing, highland dancing, drama, swimming, mindfulness, gymnastics, hockey, rugby, tennis, cricket and football.
By the time our ‘oldest’ young children have reached Prep 5, they are ready for fresh challenges. This is when they move through the campus to the Junior School.
We carefully manage the transition between each year group, and then from the Prep School to the Junior School (Primary 6-7), to ensure continuity for each child. All the teaching staff in the Prep School are well known to pupils of all ages, through clubs, breaks and lunchtimes and team-teaching opportunities. Our teachers engage in detailed meetings, where each individual child’s strengths and developmental needs are discussed, and our teachers meet and welcome their new pupils into their classrooms prior to the start of the next academic year. Any specific support for learning provision moves forward seamlessly with the child. To find out more about Dollar’s Support for Learning department, please click here.
We understand that wrap-around care is an important consideration for many families. There are a number of options available to Dollar parents:
The Prep School day starts at 8:50am. The playground is supervised from 8:30am onwards and children may be dropped off and left from this time.
Parents who need to drop their children before 8:30am may wish to consider Dollar Nursery, a nearby private nursery, who are open from 7:30am and offer a drop off service to the Prep School.
End of Day Arrangements:
The Prep School day ends at 3:15pm. Our After School Club runs each day until 5:30pm and is supervised by two members of staff. For charging purposes there are two sessions, 3:15 – 4:30pm and 4:30 – 5:30pm, each charged at £10.
After school care is also available until 6:00pm at Dollar Nursery.
To find out more about joining our Prep School, please contact our Registrar, Katharine Hall via email or by calling 01259 742 511.