With the fast-changing nature of the world in which we live, it is essential that we prepare our children for the future by giving them the right tools, skills and values. This means updating and changing the way education is designed and delivered to ensure that our children are well prepared and equipped.
In the classroom, our passionate and progressive staff are constantly assessing teaching methods and curriculum delivery to ensure that the latest thinking and methodologies are incorporated. The Grade 8 and 9 Xtend-it programme that is based on the latest educational thinking to come out of Finland is an example of curriculum changes that have been successfully implemented. This year now sees the formalised implementation of inquiry-based cross-curricular learning in the Senior Preparatory, with the consequent reduction in mark-based assessment and homework. Experiential learning, a growth mindset, thinking skills, learning through play – all of the latest thinking is thoroughly researched and introduced in ways to ensure that our academic delivery remains both relevant and excellent.
Technology is incorporated in the classroom to augment the teaching and learning experience. Through the use of various Google platforms, online learning programs, video conferencing and flipped classroom experiences, the ‘Bring Your Own Tablet’ initiative and the extensive computer, design and technology facilities on campus, we ensure that our students are both computer literate and competent users of technology, confidently applying these skills in new and innovative ways.
Our classrooms themselves have also undergone transformative change. The introduction of flexible classrooms, where there is a variety of furniture to suit every teaching opportunity and student personality, has seen a marked increase in student engagement and enjoyment during lessons. Age-appropriate transformation of the classroom space has now been rolled out throughout our Prep School and we will extend this to the High School from 2019.
Round Square opportunities also extend the holistic offering both in and outside of the classroom. In addition to the well-known IDEALS, the new Discovery Framework of 12 key skills and values is also driving curriculum re-evaluation and change to ensure that our students are engaged and curious learners, equipped with the necessary 21st Century skills.
Recognising that the traditional classroom space does not match the high-tech, colourful, digital, connected, social world that today’s students inhabit, our Prep School classrooms have undergone a complete revamp in the last year. They are now welcoming colourful and innovative spaces where students can choose from a variety of seating and desk options.
These new learning spaces immediately sparked interest and engagement in our students. Our teachers have found it easier to connect with students, group work (a core 21 st Century skill) is much easier and students are able to concentrate for longer periods as they do not stay in the same position and space for hours on end.
Dainfern College embarked on a cutting-edge modular curriculum for the Grade 8 and 9 students last year. The ‘Xtend-it’ programme is unique to Dainfern College and was developed by our High School staff in response to international education trends that emphasise collaboration, creativity, collection of information, critical thinking, character development, reflection and communication.
The programme comprises three or four cross-curricular modules that focus on skills rather than knowledge. There is far less formal assessment in the Xtend-it modules as the emphasis is on learning skills rather than content. During the Xtend-it weeks, students follow a different timetable from their usual programme.
We are very excited about this new and innovative addition to our academic offer for our Grade 8s and 9s.
Dainfern College embraces the latest technological trends and teaching methods to augment curriculum delivery to our students and equip them with vital 21 st Century digital skills. From ‘flipped classroom’ activities to digitally streamed debates with other schools, Google Classroom file sharing and online extension and support programs, our students make use of a variety of technological and digital resources to assist and extend them in the classroom. Students have access to several well-resourced computer labs and are also expected to ‘bring their own device’ to school from Grade 6. In Grades 6-9 this device must be a tablet (either iPad or Android), but from Grade 10 students have the option of using their own laptop.
2019 sees the introduction of our international educational offer of Cambridge Studies. This two-year programme offers our students the option of following the Cambridge International A Level curriculum from Grade 11. Students write AS Levels at the end of Grade 11 and A2 exams at the end of Grade 12, to give them the internationally recognised A Level qualification as their school exit qualification. Our Cambridge students study in parallel with our Grade 11 and 12 IEB students and all other aspects of their holistic education at the College remain the same.
96 Broadacres Drive
PO Box 3199
Tel - Main Reception: +27 (0)11 469 0635
Tel - Junior Preparatory: +27 (0)10 020 5457
GPS coordinates: 25° 59' 23.21"S; 28° 00' 25.55"E