At this all-important first stage of the Bedales journey, we use enquiry-based learning to spark wonder, integrate core values to promote holistic development, and use the natural world all around us to enhance understanding and foster a connection to nature. 

Our approach encourages a lifelong love of learning within a nurturing environment, which is strengthened by the support of our diverse and collaborative school community. 

Child at Bedales Pre-prep curiously looking at a ladybird

Early years, enduring impact

The early years of a child’s life are the most precious. This magical period, full of wonder and discovery, is rich with potential as children’s brains develops more rapidly than at any other time, laying the foundation for their intellectual, emotional, social and physical growth. Research shows that the experiences a child has in the first eight years of their life are crucial in shaping every aspect of their future development. 

We make the most of this formative time with a distinctive approach to learning that stimulates children’s innate curiosity to cultivate enquiring minds. We have created a structured yet flexible curriculum for all year groups that reflects the Bedales ethos of educating the whole child, giving equal value to their intellectual, creative, emotional, social and physical development. 

Explore our curriculum

Learning through enquiry

Our approach to learning is characterised by enquiry-based learning, which encourages children to extend their knowledge and understanding by exploring questions, problems, and scenarios.

In contrast with traditional approaches such as rote learning, where students are presented with information for memorisation, enquiry-based learning ensures children are active participants in the learning process. 

This approach sparks a genuine love of learning and supports the development of skills such as creativity, resilience and adaptability, to support children through the next stage of their education and beyond. 

Children at Bedales Pre-prep reading a book together

Educating the whole child

Our approach to learning is rooted in our core values: Creativity, Curiosity, Community, Courage and Compassion. These values are embedded in every aspect of our curriculum and daily activities, so children are immersed in a learning environment that not only prepares them academically, but also supports them to become thoughtful, responsible individuals.

Exploring nature's classroom

We encourage children to explore, investigate and interact with the natural world around them. This not only supports their holistic development but fosters a strong connection to nature and a sense of responsibility towards the environment. 

Set within a 120-acre estate at the heart of the South Downs National Park, our school grounds include an on-site working farm – complete with sheep, pigs, goats, cows, ponies and chickens – offering children unmatched opportunities for exploration and discovery.

discover outdoor learning

A collaborative learning journey 

As the first stage in the Bedales journey, children at the Pre-prep are part of a diverse community of learners aged between three and 18 years old. This integration offers a range of benefits for our youngest learners, including specialist teaching, collaborative activities and projects with Prep and Senior School students, and continuity as they progress through the school. 

We believe that learning is a collaborative journey, so we aim to develop positive relationships with parents and carers based on mutual trust and respect. Through open, frequent communication, parents are well-informed and actively involved, creating a nurturing environment where children are valued, supported and engaged. 

Bedales Pre-prep child and parent