Our curriculum follows the framework of the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy which is inherently rich and broad, likened by her to an ‘abundant feast for the mind’. Whilst it puts a strong emphasis on the foundations of literacy and numeracy, using the best programmes available, it also includes subject areas such as:
- poetry and recitation
- Bible reading
- history (both local and global) learnt in large part through narrative
- science, which includes experiments and nature walks
- isiXhosa in addition to Afrikaans
- music and art appreciation
- practical art and handicrafts
- physical education and sport
- regular educational trips
'Disciplinary' subject lessons are alternated with 'inspirational' lessons, helping sustain the children's interest and concentration. Wherever possible, learning happens through the reading of excellent literature rather than merely through textbooks.
A narrowed curriculum could fail to cultivate the diverse range of gifts or aptitudes amongst our students or undermine the love of learning.
The curriculum content is sourced from Charlotte Mason experts in the UK but contextualised for the South African setting. Our aim is to ensure that the children reach, and in most cases, surpass the national curriculum (NCS and CAPS) requirements for numeracy, literacy and languages.
One of the educational tools advocated by Charlotte Mason is narration, initially verbal (and sometimes drawn), and then written in the higher grades. This is where the children are asked to take turns ‘telling back’ in detail what they have just heard read to them. Teachers who employ the regular use of narration in the class or homeschool attest to its value on a number of levels.
The practice of narration helps:
- develop the ability to pay close attention
- make the subject content ‘stick’ as it is verbalised
- stimulate a greater curiosity around the core ideas as they are discussed
- develop the ability to order thoughts and clearly articulate them to others
- develop the ability to engage fruitfully in group discussion, listening carefully to others and waiting to take your turn
Needless to say, these are extremely important life-skills to acquire.
At Grace Primary, because of the individual attention and effective learning afforded by smaller class sizes, and the value we place on time for unstructured play as well as for out-of-school activities, we try and keep homework to a minimum, particularly for the Foundation Phase.
We employ a part-time sports teacher and the children enjoy physical education classes twice a week and coaching once per week in team sports.
Every child participates in these classes with the aim that they each grow their enjoyment of exercise and games, push themselves to achieve personal goals, and develop their ability to be excellent team players, as well as to both win and lose well!
Extra-mural tennis lessons are also available at an additional charge.
Music and Art
Music and art are highly valued elements of the curriculum at Grace Primary. In addition to weekly lessons which foster art and music appreciation, the children receive lessons in practical art, basic music theory and singing from specialised teachers.
Recorder, piano and guitar lessons are also available in school time at a small additional charge.
Each term there is day dedicated to a different handicraft. These have included sewing, woodwork, mosaics, and French knitting. There is sometimes a small additional fee charged for these activities when specialised practitioners and materials are used.
The children go on educational outings twice per term. We are very grateful to parents who make these outings possible by offering lifts and joining us as helpers. These outings include Boulders Beach, Kirstenbosch, a visit to the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at the City Hall, Rosen Castle, Aquarium, Intaka Island, Science Museum, Planetarium, Isiziko Natural History Museum, Gordon’s Gym and local youth theatre.
We also have an informal link with Trinity Children’s Centre in Mitchell’s Plain and enjoy an outing to or visit from them at least once a year.
We currently offer drama, chess and Master Maths as extra-mural clubs (at no extra charge).
The school is based in beautiful, newly-built premises (Phase 1) just off Ringwood Drive in Pinelands. The property has a small area for play (currently being landscaped), but the children use the park adjacent to the school for break-time play and informal physical education. Formal sports coaching takes place at various venues around Pinelands during and after school hours.
Grades and Times
The school currently has a joint 4 classes up to Grade 5 (Grades 4 and 5 are in a combined class). We will grow by a new Grade 1 intake each year until Grade 7 is established in 2019 and the school will then have the full complement of classes.
School hours are:
- Grade 1: 7.50am to 1pm
- Grade 2: 7.50am to 1pm (and 2.20pm on Wednesdays)
- Grade 3: 7.50am to 2.20pm (except 1pm on Fridays)
- Grade 4: 7.50am to 2.20pm (except 1pm on Fridays)
- Grade 5: 7.50am to 2.20pm (except 1pm on Fridays)
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer after-care facilities at this point, but hope to in the future. We we do have a list of local options for those interested.
There will be a maximum of 18 children in each class. Small classes lend themselves to a better quality learning environment, to stronger relationships between peers and teachers and also provide a better platform for instilling confidence and support within, and for, each and every child.
Children must wear compulsory uniform items. A uniform list may be obtained from the school.