SENIOR PREP ACADEMICS

SENIOR PREP ACADEMICS

Deputy Principal: Academics

ACADEMIC APPROACH

At Dainfern College we deem it crucial for every child to develop holistically and therefore focus our efforts on growing each child’s social, emotional and academic ability. We believe every child has the ability to reach their potential when they are fully engaged in the learning process and we therefore strive to create a safe, nurturing and innovative space for this growth to take place.

 

In the Senior Preparatory we have embraced a growth-mindset philosophy in our classes and encourage children to view failure as an opportunity for further growth. Students are encouraged to grow and develop their skills and abilities by trying to learn new skills and to persevere with the difficult tasks. We provide many opportunities for children to develop their critical-thinking skills by providing inquiry-based lessons where students are encouraged to develop their problem-solving abilities, work collaboratively, reflect on their learning and communicate their thinking in a confident manner.

CURRICULUM

The academic year in the Senior Preparatory is divided into three terms. Class teaching predominates in Grades 4 and 5, while Grade 6 and 7 students attend lessons in the specialist teachers’ designated classrooms. All students have specialist teachers for Afrikaans, Art, Computers, Design & Technology, isiZulu, Life Skills, Music and Physical Education. Class teachers are responsible for the overall pastoral care of the students in their classes.

 

Our academic offer in this phase comprises English as the language of instruction (English Home Language); the first additional languages of Afrikaans or isiZulu; Mathematics; Life Orientation (Life Skills and Physical Education); Art & Culture; Natural Sciences (Science and Biology); Social Sciences (History and Geography); and Technology (Design & Technology and Information & Communication Technology.

 

In this phase of their education, students study either Afrikaans or isiZulu as their First Additional Language. The choice of language is made in Grade 3 so that students start their chosen language from the start of Grade 4 to enable more academic teaching time in that language during their Senior Preparatory years.

FLEXIBLE CLASSROOMS

Recognising that the traditional classroom space does not match the high-tech, colourful, digital, connected, social world that today’s pupils 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 21st 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.

TECHNOLOGY & BYOT

Dainfern College is well resourced in technology and has four fully equipped computer labs for use by all students. While never using technology for technology’s sake, we do recognise that it can enhance the academic potential of a lesson or task. We therefore strive to offer our students a technology-enriched environment that speaks to real-world learning and content creation in the form of project or inquiry-based learning.

 

To facilitate this approach we supply iPads in the classroom in Grades 4 and 5. From Grade 6 students are required to have their own tablet device (‘Bring Your Own Tablet’) for use in class. Grade 6 students first have to complete a ‘Tablet licence’ course in order to qualify. Once they have completed the licence they are then required to bring their tablet to school for use in class each day.

EXTENSION & SUPPORT

Dainfern College prides itself on providing academic extension and remedial support to our pupils.For academic support, extra lessons in English, Afrikaans, isiZulu and Mathematics are offered by our teachers after school while more specialised academic support is available from a team of external therapists who work on our campus. Remedial academic support, speech therapy and occupational therapy are all available: the cost of these additional therapies is for the parents’ account and is paid directly to the therapists.

 

We also have an extension and enrichment programme in place in our Senior Prep that gives academically strong pupils the opportunity to delve deeper into the academic programme in English and Mathematics. Pupils who are offered this opportunity meet once a week in small collaborative groups during the school morning where they explore topics and material that would not normally be covered in day-to-day classes. The cost of these sessions is also paid directly to the programme facilitator.

RECOGNITION & AWARDS

In line with our motto of ‘Celebrate’, we love to recognise and award our students’ positive behaviour and achievements.

HOMEWORK CLUB & AFTERCARE

Aftercare facilities are available every afternoon for our younger students. We also have Homework Club after school each day.

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