Deputy Head Christina Tupper explains how the revamp of the school's Library is rather more than just new books.
Frederick Douglas said:
''Once you learn to read you will be forever free, it’s freedom I want for everyone I teach. ''
Barfield Prep School situated on the outskirts of market town, Farnham in Surrey is an independent co-educational Prep school for 2-11 year olds. Barfield has recently gone through an extensive refurbishment of its Library. The Library is the heartbeat of the school, situated right in the centre with easy access for children from the Nursery right up to Year 6. This investment underpins the huge importance we as educationalists place on literacy and reading for all ages.
Set in 12 acres of Surrey woodland all Barfield's efforts go into creating an environment where children are allowed to be children and their early educational experience is one of excitement, exploration and intrigue. The newly refurbished Library has beautiful tree murals on it's walls painted by the school's Artist-In-Residence and the matching bean bags make it a sanctuary children relish reading a book in.
The Barfield Library is used across the school by all ages with each class having a weekly Library slot during which they can go and immerse themselves in literature, choosing books that catch their eye. Lunchtime sessions provide further access for children to come and look at the books in the Library, as well as using the upstairs as a quiet learning area where they can work independently. Getting the children involved in Library related tasks and taking ownership of their learning space is very important at Barfield, and we select Library Monitors on a rotational basis to help out.
In October, we held a Scholastic Book Fair to raise the profile of different literatures and genres. The children had the opportunity to expand their current interest. Every book sold at the fair helped us to gain rewards for free books for our school.
New technology is changing the way the Library is used and a new Management system is a wonderful addition. This means that we will be able to keep a better check on what stock we have and ensure that it is kept current and that it meets the needs of our fantastic children. This love of reading is about providing a wide range of fiction and non-fiction literature.
Never a school to stand still, our wonderful Librarian has lots of ideas to expand even further to encourage a love of reading right from an early age and to develop this as the children grow and move up the school. Author visits, reading challenges, vibrant displays, competitions and Book Clubs are all means by which we intend to deepen the joy gained from books.
Our Head of English, Lynn Pryce says; ''We believe it is easy to encourage a love of books because there are so many brilliant ones. I love talking about books, reading books, and discussing new and old books. Our children have some brilliant set texts that we read and talk about from Cinderboy in Year 3 to Romeo and Juliet in Year 6. ''
When asked how we extend pupils that are more able she responds by saying ''English has many different parts to it so you can excel in many different ways. Some people love reading and so they are helped to find books that will challenge and extend them.
Some children love Drama and Performing so they are encouraged to join our Drama clubs or start LAMDA lessons and maybe try for a scholarship at their next school. I think live theatre is amazing so we try to take the children to see creative and innovative work.
This term, Year 5 and 6 will be going to see ‘Private Peaceful’ at the Chichester Theatre and doing a workshop before. We have also been to The Globe and the children explored the language of Shakespeare through their workshop. When we couldn’t go to them they came to us remotely!''
Books are a gift … that allow us to be whisked away from reality, to share with others the joy of language or to satisfy one’s curiosity. This is a present that our pupils will cherish forever!