Harriet Hargreaves joined Lambrook in September and has been recently filling our homes with the sounds of Michael Bond’s iconic writing. We caught up with Mrs Hargreaves to talk about her love of reading and of skiing!


How long have you been at Lambrook and what do you do?

I started at Lambrook in September, and I teach Year 2.


And what did you do before coming to Lambrook? Have you always taught this age group?

I have always taught around this age group. Before I was at Lambrook, I was at Knightsbridge School in London and while I was there, I taught Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4. I also taught Years 5, 6 and 7 Latin at Knightsbridge, and in my time at Sunningdale, I taught a variety of junior subjects, including Latin, to forms I, II and II.


Did you study Latin?

Latin isn’t a massive love of mine, but I did read Classics at University. Having taught just one subject at Pre Common Entrance level, I missed the variety, which is why I went into teaching a broader range of subjects, which I enjoy so much more. I love Classical Civilisation – I love the stories, the mythology – all of that is absolutely amazing, I really enjoy it but the Latin, Caecilius in his garden, I don’t enjoy as much!


Do you try and squeeze in your love for Classical Civilization into Year 2?

Absolutely! My class can all play ‘twenty one’ counting in Roman numerals, and we have a bit of Greek mythology here and there, some Pegasus or Perseus and Medusa – they don’t really have much choice in the matter! They love any stories that are a bit gory, so Perseus and Medusa is always a good one and something with a bit of fighting in it!


In normal school life, what do you enjoy most about the Lambrook School Day?

I quite enjoy the pace of the day and the amount of contact time that I have with my class. I really appreciate that we have time to be flexible with our teaching, for example, if History takes a little bit longer because we have gone down a really interesting route, and the children are really enjoying it, then I can continue with it and move on to the next thing when we are ready.


What have you enjoyed most about being at Lambrook, since your arrival in September?

I have really enjoyed getting to know the children. I think they are all lovely children; they are so well grounded and such nice human beings to converse with. All of the children in my class are an absolute credit to the School and I commented when I first got here, on just how confident and interesting they were to talk to. Obviously, due to Covid, I haven’t really had the opportunity to mix with the rest of the school and so I am looking forward to more normal times when I can be involved in the wider aspects of school life.


What areas would you like to get involved in at Lambrook?

Boarding is something that really interests me. I previously worked at Sunningdale and so have quite a lot of experience with boarding. I enjoyed the ability to get to know the boys on a pastoral level, as well as teaching them in the classroom. From teaching Latin, to building dens and forts with them, it was great fun.

I am also a really keen skier, so I would love to get involved in a ski trip and also some horse riding, as I am a really keen rider – basically, any opportunities where you can meet more children from across the school. And equally, I would be keen to get involved in things I might be useless at!


So, horse riding and skiing are your big passions, what have you been doing over this past year as I imagine, you haven’t been able to do much of these?

Well, last lockdown I skied down my stairs which was great fun, but not to be repeated! I was really hopeful to get my skis out when it snowed, but by the time I got them out, the snow had gone slushy! Riding-wise, I am very lucky, and my parents still keep my old pony at home in Somerset. During the summer I was able to ride quite a lot, which was lovely, and we were lucky at Christmas as we were in Tier 2 and so we were able to go to Somerset for Christmas day and see my parents and so I was able to squeeze in a cheeky Christmas day ride!


Last week was obviously Children’s Mental Health Week, what have you been doing to look after your mental health?

I run and last May, I ran 100km in a month to raise money for cystic fibrosis. Since then, I have not run quite as far, but running really helps my mental health. I have also been walking a lot and gardening – I am enjoying having a garden after not having one when living in London.


What is your favourite chocolate bar?

Its very boring, but just a plain Dairy Milk. I would take that over any other swanky chocolate!


How has lockdown been for your Year 2 children?

I think they have been incredible. They have been absolute troupers and they have genuinely amazed me with their enthusiasm and their dedication and their hard work, which hasn’t tailed off at all. I can’t wait to have them back in the classroom and I am sure they feel the same!

We always do a fun-Friday, so we have had Friday breakfast club, fluorescent Friday, Find it Friday, which is a scavenger hunt game. Lesson-wise we are studying Kenya and a few weeks back, as part of a slightly different lesson, I gave a demonstration and then we made Kenyan chapatis. The children and parents really enjoyed making and eating them together.


You are very kindly reading Paddington to us on our Podcast Page, who is your favourite children’s author of all time?

It is definitely between Michael Bond and A.A. Milne. I am going to go for Michael Bond I think – I genuinely think that Paddington is my favourite story and even now, if I am feeling a bit miserable, I put on Stephen Fry reading Paddington Bear, which really cheers me up!


How important is it to be reading classics like Paddington?

I cannot stress enough; how important it is. I just think, if you do nothing else, read a classic, read a book – a wonderful story that can take you to a million places. Another favourite author of mine is Roald Dahl and his quote ‘a little bit of magic can take you a long way’ is really accurate. If you have the ability to pick up anything and read it, you can literally travel anywhere in the world, or out of this world, through words! I think it is one of the most important skills that we teach children.


What books would you recommend to Prep School children to read?

Paddington, anything written by Roald Dahl, and for advanced readers, Roald Dahl’s books Boy or Solo, are well worth a read. I am not a massive fan of the Harry Potter films, but I think the Harry Potter books are phenomenal. Mainly, it is whatever grips the children and whatever they enjoy reading. It doesn’t matter they read, as long as they are reading!

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