Moving from the Stable Yard to the Castle is a rite of passage for all Prep 3 children. It feels important, stepping through the stone archways into the high-ceilinged interior, with its curious murals and spacious classrooms. Important things happen here, involving exciting, high-tech equipment. Musical keyboards, 3-D printers and lego robots, each representing a new challenge to get stuck into.
In the science laboratory, the cheery red school jumpers hidden beneath lab coats, a chemistry lesson is taking place. The stands of test tubes in front of the children contain a rich green liquid. ‘Remember,’ the Head of Science, is saying, ‘these are chemicals you are working with. Treat them with respect.’ Pipettes are raised, clear liquid dripped. Eyes widen behind their protective goggles as the green liquid turns to pink, to orange. ‘Now, make your observations,’ directs the teacher with a nod of satisfaction at his burgeoning chemists.
After lunch, the lure of the grounds is overwhelming. We watch and marvel at the many different ways in which the children traverse the back lawns, sprinting, somersaulting, skipping. Two girls saunter out arm in arm and then, as if responding to an invisible command, break free of each other and continue their passage across the grass in a series of cartwheels.