Letter from the Campus Head
Dear Parents and Staff
As another week comes to an end, we really are proud of each and every one of our Preppies and Pre-Preppies for their whole-hearted involvement in all that is on offer at our special school. We have had, many Galas, with the Independent Schools Gala being the pinnacle, several cricket matches, girls playing cricket, Water-Polo Festivals and matches for both our girls and boys, Inter-Schools Mathematics Competition, Kids Lit Quiz, Surf-Life-saving, Golf, FGASA(Field Guide Association of Southern Africa) Judo/self Defence, winter sport trials for our seniors and the list goes on and no doubt I have omitted many more. You will also be pleased to know that a whole lot of teaching and learning has also taken place!
We were recently featured in the Leading Schools section of the Weekend Post, below is the original article submitted for your interest:
ST GEORGE’S PREPARATORY … a place to laugh, learn, explore and grow
During the well-known YouTube clip, “Shift Happens”, it mentions, “We are currently preparing pupils for jobs that do not exist … using technologies that have not been invented… in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet”. It also claims that a student starting a four year technical degree, that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study!
Critical thinking for instance, is now required not just by the elite, but by everybody. BUT are we teaching it, and are we assessing it? The most important aspect of critical thinking is the ability to ask really good questions. The problem is, schools today generally ask students whether they have good answers, and not questions!
How do we educate for innovation, educate to provide students these skills? What would it mean to create an innovation culture in our schools? Again these are the questions we need to ask. New research suggests that the traditional ‘carrot-and-stick approach’ which focuses on rewarding sought after behaviours and punishing the behaviours you wish to discourage, may actually inhibit creativity, diminish performance and result in short-term, narrow thinking.
For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions. Sir Ken Robinson, in his book, “Creative schools”, mentions the following: “The challenge is not to reform education but to transform it. As we face a very uncertain future, the answer is not to do better what we’ve done before. We have to do something else.” Dan Pink, in his book ‘Drive: the surprising truth About What Motivates Us’, further proposes a revised approach to motivation which focuses on the innate human needs to direct our own lives (autonomy), to learn and create new things (mastery), and to do better by ourselves and our world (purpose).
Where then does this leave us in the education space today? Whilst at St George’s Preparatory we do not have all the answers, the one thing we do accept is that we, pupils and staff, need to become life-long learners and never accept the status quo at the detriment of the individual children in our care. We have initiated an intentional focus on our curriculum and in particular our learning spaces over the next three years as we grapple with all of this. A thematic project-based approach, encouraging collaboration and creativity, integrating technology and making exciting learning spaces are all just a start. We also aim to enable our teachers the time and the space to ensure that real learning takes place and not just memorisation, assessments and tests. The banks and the corporate world of the early 1900’s are a mere shadow of their former selves today. How much change has been noticed in the educational environment? Sadly, not enough!
We have recently embarked on classroom renovations to suitably match our way of thinking. This project alone was a wonderful exercise in collaboration, flexibility and agility, problem solving and of course curiosity and imagination. As with many schools no doubt, budget limitations are the most trying in a process like this and the need to get “the best bang for your buck” is always in forefront of your mind as well as your Governing Councils as well. It really is a blessing to have a forward thinking Board of Governors who recognise that change is imminent and are wanting to lead rather than follow.
Whilst there are more and more companies entering the classroom furniture/equipment space that is suitable for what our needs are, sadly most of them are European based and with exchange rate challenges, frankly they are not affordable for most schools. We decided to embark on a journey with a local company whose philosophy was not to dissimilar to ours and creativity and intelligent use of space were integral in both functionality and design. It also was a wonderful opportunity to support local business. We are particularly proud of our classrooms and curriculum at this stage and look forward to, in the words of one of our own pupils: “Exploring Today, Leading Tomorrow!”
It is with great sadness to hear about the loss of one of our Grade 3 parents, Lungelwa Mpalala. All of us at St George’s Prep send our heartfelt condolences to Luxolo and his son, Lubabalo. Lungelwa will be sorely missed and we will keep the family in our prayers.
What’s on for the next two weeks – (School Events & Sport Fixtures: 26 February – 10 March 2018)
The d6 Communicator is kept up to date with the daily fixtures. Also refer to your blue Calendars.
Annual Family Camp Out 2018 – Friday 2 March 2018
A fee of R50 is charged for families who wish to attend the evening but do not wish to camp. A reminder that for those wishing to have their tents pitched for an additional R100, please ensure your tent is delivered to the school by 9am on Friday 2 March. Tents will only be pitched if they are labelled with a name, cell number and your campsite number and have the correct equipment e.g. poles/frames etc. is provided and has been paid for in advance.
SAVE THE DATES!!
Thursday 19 April – Our Annual Golf Day!
Current parents, families, Alumni and friends of St George’s – Calling all golfers to save the date Thursday 19 April 2018 and join us for our annual golf day. Details for bookings and sponsorship to follow soon. Enquiries please email our Sports Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
ST GEORGE’S FAIR … Saturday 16 June 2018
Interested in hosting a stall? Please email email@example.com with enquiries.
Kip McGrath Walmer and Psychologist, Dr Tanya Defferary, are hosting two talks on the ‘fear of failure’ at Grey Junior School Hall on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 February. Dr Ard Nieuwenbroek will present the talks. He is from the Netherlands and an expert in the field of family therapy. During the talks, he will explain the link between the family of origin and the fear of failure in children and adults.
A Peek around the Prep
We post photographs, events, announcements etc. on our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram Accounts regularly – keep up to date with all that the Prep and Pre-Prep get up to – click on the links below and like, follow and share!
The Grade 2’s have been enjoying their theme work on Rockpools. They are also learning about plastic pollution and the negative effect it has on marine life. They have started a campaign called ‘Grade-Two-Takes-Ten’. The children are encouraged to remove just 10 pieces of rubbish every time they go to the beach. They are already making such a difference and hopefully, it will inspire others to do the same.
A visit to St George’s Cricket ground by the Grade 1’s to show their support for the Proteas in the one-day decider against India on 13 February
St George’s once again hosted the International Kids Lit Quiz, with New Zealand Quizmaster Wayne Mills. Our two teams acquitted themselves very well, finishing in 2nd and 10th place out of 20 teams from 12 Eastern Cape schools.
Independent Schools Gala out at Woodridge on Tuesday, misty and rainy but the children giving their all!
The Senior Prep Inter-House Swimming Gala was held on Thursday 15 February 2018
The Grade 7’s enjoying the interchangeable space of their new classrooms
Grade 7’s made cards for and read to the Grade 1s during their Life Orientation lessons
Super Fun Day was held during an extended 1st break. The Pre-Prep and Prep pupils enjoyed popcorn and an ice-lolly and had a lot of fun dancing in the Hall Quad.
Proud of our young Grade 4 St George’s equestrian participating in the first qualifier for the year to earn points towards being selected for the Eastern Cape team to attend the National Champs in Pretoria in September 2018. Children ride for their school in the schools league –SANESA – South African National Equestrian Schools Association
The Prep Inter-School Maths Competition was held at the Prep on Monday 12 February. Well done to all the 13 schools that participated.
Gr 6 visiting Kragga Kamma as part of the FGASA course
A Peek at the Pre-Prep School
Mr Hall enjoyed visiting our pre-schoolers and teachers and taking a break from the office.
Our “Stars on Stage” pre-schoolers having lots of fun dressing up