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HD Beijing School

Habitats Through The Eyes of Prep

2018 - 12 - 19

All living things, such as plants, animals and people, have a home or somewhere to live. We call this call a ‘habitat’. A habitat can be huge like the Atlantic Ocean, or small like a leaf. A habitat can be a forest on the other side of the world or it can be a tree in our local area, such as Chaoyang Park.

The underlying theme this term in Prep has been ‘Habitats’, with the focus on ‘The Earth as Our Home’. Additionally, ‘Habitats’ has been an over-arching theme across all year groups at HD Beijing School. Throughout this programme of learning, every lesson has been focused on a different aspect of ‘Habitats’.

Within this topic, the Prep children have explored and investigated different types of habitats from vast rainforests to microhabitats. The Prep children have discovered the varied locations in which different animals, insects and mammals live. With the Prep children being the ‘global citizens’ of tomorrow, it has been important for children during their English topic lessons to discover the importance of animal and insect life around them through investigating microhabitats.

Our English learning journey has followed this approach, starting with the beautifully illustrated book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle. During the first week, we focused on story sequencing, with the end goal being to write about the story.


From this point, the English focus moved to a more in-depth look at habitats, reading a non-fiction book called “Is It Living or Non-living” by Sheila Rivera.

We then moved on to introducing the laws of sentence writing. This has seen the children in all Prep classes continue to increasingly develop their ability to write sentences using capital letters, finger spaces and full stops. Children in all of the Prep classes are writing sentences independently in English. 

This is due to the outstanding effort, passion and drive of the international homeroom teachers, educating the Prep children at HD Beijing as they continue to achieve great success in their English speaking, reading, writing and listening.

Our English unit has encompassed many different things thus far, including playing different games; writing about where different animals live and currently using describing words to label different monsters. We hope that everyone has enjoyed it as much as we have in Prep so far!

Throughout our Habitats’ topic, the Prep children have produced some outstanding work. We have embraced theme-based learning to create a rainforest habitat as a wall display; made a bird’s nest from both natural (leaves and twigs) and used (cardboard) materials; classified and written about different insects, and we are currently in the process of making microhabitats.

How amazing is that? This is a fantastic achievement by the whole Prep team. With a different focus for every lesson, we used the English National Curriculum to guide our learning journey.

We are immensely proud of all Prep children’s achievements, as they have shown great spirit, resilience and drive in their learning.

Curriculum Commentary

by Emmanuel Alexander

International Curriculum Coordinator

I have enjoyed observing the way in which Prep teachers and children have engaged with their Habitats topic. Children are naturally inquisitive, and the Prep teachers have harnessed their enthusiasm to learn and discover new things, by constructing a truly cross-curricular approach in this topic. Their joy of finding out all the different things the ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ ate, then cultivating their knowledge through their engagement with non-fiction texts, has developed their understanding of an array of animals and the habitats in which they dwell.

The knowledge and excitement the books in this topic have garnered has led to some wonderful outcomes in the children’s writing. Children have started to produce short sentences that include key punctuation and grammar linked to their age-related outcomes, through the stimulus of ‘Habitats – The Earth’ and the utilisation of fiction and non-fiction books.

This is an excellent example of the English curriculum we are implementing at HD Beijing. Important academic skills are cultivated in an enjoyable way, as teachers have created a learning journey that galvanises children’s interest; utilising storybooks as the key resources, from which children explore the theme through drama, reading and writing.

I am looking forward to the upcoming theme, ‘Let’s Celebrate- What is it made of…?’ and seeing the progress Prep will make on their English learning journey.