Issue 4

Pre-primary

MRS G HAUX
Head Pre-primary

A burst of colour

According to some childcare experts, colouring books which see children colouring in a pre-drawn picture, could be doing more harm than good.

However, giving them a blank sketchbook and some crayons, pencils, pens or paints and letting them draw whatever they like, stimulates creativity.

Finding a level-headed balance is possibly the best approach.

Here are a few benefits that children (and even adults) derive from colouring in or other art activities:

  • Art is an outlet of self-expression.
  • It helps with nurturing and stimulating creativity.
  • Art is a form of therapy and can reduce stress levels.
  • The time spent can help develop colour recognition and awareness.
  • Art can help develop spatial awareness, seeing structure and boundaries.
  • Art improves hand-eye co-ordination and focus.
  • Art improves motor skills.
  • It prepares children for school.
  • It improves the skills needed for handwriting.
  • It keeps children busy in a positive way.

Colouring books and other forms of art are popular amongst parents and children alike. They are a pleasant way to while away the time and have fun while still learning.

Let’s enjoy being creative and using colour to glorify our Creator!

Foundation Phase

MRS L STEGEN
Head Foundation Phase

Teaching Thoroughness

Some people can do multiple tasks but the quality of completing and not overlooking important details and being thorough, is often neglected.

It is said that the thoroughness of a person can be seen in his/her handwriting. ‘Dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s.

On the other hand, thoroughness also means the ‘whole’ of a matter. Some individuals cannot see the forest for the trees and others cannot see the trees for the forest, but thorough individuals see both the forest and the trees. From its greatest and most obvious aspects down to the tiniest details, thoroughness allows nothing to fall through the cracks.

Thoroughness ensures the quality, effectiveness and completion of a task. Quality work is lasting work. Effective work is the practical side.

We as teachers and parents have had the opportunity to teach this very important quality and skill, to our children during a very special time the last few months. If well done, each child should have learned and improved on his/her thoroughness. We have observed children improving, thriving and learning wonderful life lessons through new and difficult situations.

This concept can also be found in our spiritual walk with the Lord. In Matthew 5:48 we read what the Lord requires of us: “Be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.” The Greek word for ‘perfect’ here is telious. It means ‘brought to the end, completed, or perfect’ i.e. to be completed in Christ. Philippians 1:6 says that completion is the work of God. This does not refer to strict conformity to unreachable ideals. Perfect means perfectus, in Latin meaning ‘complete’ or’ finished’. He created us, saved us and is faithful to perfect us in completing His work in us.

Teaching children thoroughness – taking care of the details – will also enable them to focus on their heart’s condition. Prepare them as early as possible for their own walk with God, which only God can perfect and complete.

Intermediate Phase

MRS E GOUWS
Head Intermediate Phase

Responsibility

Children and responsibility are two words that are not often coupled together nowadays.

‘Being responsible’ is one of the most common traits that parents would like their children to have now and as adults. Responsibility means various things, including being dependable so people know they can count on you, keep your word, to meet your commitments, to do something to the best of your ability and being accountable for your behaviour.

In explaining this to a child, it becomes much simpler: Responsibility means you do the things you are supposed to do and accept the results of your actions

  • A responsibility: something you are expected to do
  • Being responsible: doing the things you are supposed to do
  • Accepting responsibility: taking the praise or the blame for something you have done

This is an important trait to instil in children, but it seems incredibly complex. How do you teach a child to be responsible? Dr Karen Ruskin, PsyD., says, “Ingraining responsibility in children is not a trick but is simply teaching them life skills.” She adds, “Kids who do not have responsibilities feel entitled and think the world will always do for them.”

Age-appropriate chores help children develop responsibility. Focus on the Family provides a detailed list of age appropriate chores for children aged 8-11 years. I have added a few more that I have gleaned:

Personal chores
Take care of personal hygiene
Keep bedroom clean
Be responsible for homework
Be responsible for belongings
Organise his/her cupboard, drawers
Vacuum a room
Write thank you notes for gifts
Wake up using an alarm clock

Family chores
Answer the phone politely and take a message
Clean the bathroom with supervision
Learn to use the washer and dryer
Order for him/herself at restaurants
Pack own lunch and make own breakfast
Prepare a few easy meals on their own
Put the laundry away with supervision
Rake leaves
Wash dishes
Wash the family car with supervision
Wash windows and mirrors
Use a phone to call grandparents, friends etc.

It is true that children mature at different paces, but parents would be surprised at how much their children are capable of when they are given responsibility.

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Abigail van Buren

Sources: https://talkingtreebooks.com
https://www.care.com/c/stories/5219/9-tips-for-teaching-kids-responsibility/https://www.focusonthefamily.com/uncategorized/age-appropriate-chores/

Senior Phase

MR D VAN STRATEN
Head Senior Phase

Reduce, repeat, revise

Most parents want their children to do well at school and to achieve good results at the end of the year. What is my child’s aggregate? What position did my child achieve in class? How many As are there on my child’s report card? 

Success is the yardstick by which we measure most aspects of school life. What we often forget in our deliberations, however, is to consider the means that enable some children to achieve well in the classroom, while others seem to struggle.

The traditional theory that a high IQ (Intelligent Quotient) is the only means to academic success is flawed in many ways, and therefore the current attention that is given to other aspects as well, such as effort, motivation and organisational abilities.

Personally, I have built my theory for academic success on three important pillars: reduce, repeat and revise.

Reduce. Small chunks of work are more manageable than volumes of content. Learners should be encouraged to reduce the work that they receive daily by making summaries, mind maps etc. on a regular basis.

Repeat. Repetition has made it unnecessary for us to think about the steps we follow to perform most of life’s elementary actions, such as eating or riding a bicycle. Similarly, with enough repetition – reading through notes on a regular basis and memorising basic concepts repeatedly – learners will gain mastery over most subject content. (That is also why Mathematics is not a “learning subject” but mastered through repetition.)

Revise. Learners must be encouraged to work on past papers before an examination. This not only prepares learners for the format of a paper, but also helps them to get used to the type of questions they may expect.

Not only has IQ been shown not to be as important as we think, but more emphasis is also being placed on EQ (Emotional Intelligence).

An IQ score doesn’t measure your practical intelligence: knowing how to make things work. It doesn’t measure your creativity…curiosity…emotional readiness.

Richard Nisbett

Why is it that top school performers do not always end up being the most successful students at tertiary level, or having the most successful careers, or occupying the most important positions in life?

In addition to asking ourselves how we can help our children achieve at school, perhaps these are the issues that require more of our attention: How can I prepare my child to cope with and deal with situations and circumstances that are new or challenging, in a socially acceptable manner? How can I help my child to reduce their levels of anxiety under stressful or trying circumstances? How can I help my child think in creative ways that are outside the box?

In short – it will help us if we remember that measurements of school success relying solely on IQ will leave our children with only temporary academic achievements to show for all their years of schooling.

FET Phase

MRS A DU PREEZ
Head FET

A stream trickles round rocks

The end of Term 3 brought with it the natural inclination of any good teacher to linger a little and reflect on what lay behind – what worked well and where we could improve. I was surprised to find one single theme running through all the teachers’ reflective reports:

There were various Covid-19 related obstacles and new challenges, but around each one of them, there was a way.

There were Mondays to Fridays. There were also Day 1s to Day 7s. And for the sake of social distancing, there were Day As and Day Bs on top of it to reckon with!

Along with normal classes, we taught learners who studied from home by means of Microsoft Teams, hard copies and even telephone. We found meaningful ways to cater for assessments keeping fairness, reliability validity and transparency in mind at all times.

One cannot miss the similarity: A stream trickles around rocks that happen to be in the way. When a bigger obstacle appears, it might dam up for a while, but sooner or later it will wash over and continue on its way.

May we always be clear, running water following God’s cause, wherever it might lead us. How wonderful to know, where God is, there is a way – in little things and in big things. He prepares a way out of temptations and through difficulties.

Why? Because Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light. John 14: 6

Academic Head

MRS H PRETORIUS
Head Academics

Career planning

On Monday and Tuesday, 21 and 22 September, the school held two virtual meetings on subject choices which were attended by Grade 9 parents. Usually this meeting forms part of the annual Senior and FET Phase Open Evening, but for obvious reasons we had to meet virtually. One of the advantages of these electronic meetings was that we were able to spend much more time discussing this than we ordinarily would have.

At the meeting I gave a link for parents who would like their children to do an informal career choice questionnaire: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/career-planning/quizzes

There is also another, more focused and meaningful, opportunity for Grade 11 and 12 learners that has been brought to our attention.

Dr Louise Holman, who has done career assessments for many South African schools, sent the following notice to the school (extracts coped below):

I have a remote Career Choice test for Grades 11 and 12. The cost per person is R350,00. Grade 11 learners are probably considering their career choices now, while Grade 12 learners may need help when/if they don’t get the matric marks they expect.

This unique Career assessment is based on my book “Work Book – Choosing a career you will like”, which classifies work into Fields, environments and Duties, linking them to interests and personality. Hundreds of schools around the country use my assessments to help learners choose subjects and careers based on what will be their ultimate job choices.

After doing the tests on their computers at home, learners email me a one-page answer sheet and I send back the report. The school also gets a schedule of results.

The R350 can be paid by EFT (with the learner’s name as reference) to account:

L E Holman, Standard Bank Bedford Gardens 018305, Account number: 022574018.

If parents do this, please [ask] them to contact me on 0824633710 or [email protected] so that I will know where to send the test material.

I look forward to hearing from you, or from parents direct.

Dr Louise Holman

If you have more queries regarding the above, please feel free to contact the school.