Growing Minds offers four classes - Grade 1 and 2; grade 2 and 3; grade 4 and grade 5, 6 and 7. Each class has a maximum of 10 learners. The interaction between children of different ages has many advantages. It provides opportunities for the children to learn from each other, it encourages team work and mentoring and builds confidence and self-esteem. A child that can explain a concept to another child, knows the topic well! However, in all cases the grade appropriate level is taught.
We recognize that all learners have different abilities. Some children may have missed foundations in subjects such as English, and Afrikaans and Maths and need to consolidate that knowledge first before learning new concepts. Children may have fallen behind in the curriculum because they find it difficult to complete work in the required time or work independently, other children cope well with the curriculum but work better in a smaller environment, needing a more individualized, less pressurised learning environment to thrive. There are also children who have worked beyond their grade curriculum and in our mixed grade classes, children are given the opportunity to extend their learning opportunities.
Children are empowered to work through the curriculum at their own pace, at their own level, ensuring understanding and competence before moving on to the next concept and the next stage. As a result these learners can work together without any one of them feeling out of their depth or inadequate because they don’t understand certain concepts.
The Learning Environment
At Growing Minds we recognize the importance of the learning environment. Our learning areas have been carefully designed – always considering the needs of individual learners. From the colours on the walls and the heights of the desks to different seating options, every detail has been examined to make sure the child has the best opportunity to learn.
Remedial equipment, such as scissors for both right and left handers, incline boards to support handwriting, posture and vision, as well as a fidget toys for children who need to move whilst learning, are all available in the classroom to support those learners that need them. We continually look to different products and opportunities to support our children and enhance their learning ability.
Individualised Learning Programmes
Some children need an individualised learning programme to best meet their needs. These programmes outline each child’s areas of competence and includes a plan of action to assist the learner to develop and grow within the framework of the curriculum. The Individualised Learning Programme outlines clear goals as well as the support and strategies to be implemented into the classroom to help that specific child. These programmes also help us to plan for the full year, giving the teachers and the parents clear understanding of the goals we look to achieve and how we plan to reach them.
We follow the guidelines of the CAPS curriculum within each of the grades. We ensure that our academic standards are of the highest level and undertake the necessary assessments as required by the WCED. However, our interactive teaching and assessment methods ensure our learners focus on understanding and application rather than ‘marks’.
We offer the following subjects to all our learners:
- Natural Science
- Social Science
- Life skills
- Physical Education
Interactive Learning and learning styles
All children learn differently and it is important that we fully understand how best individual children learn so that we can adapt our teaching methods to suit their learning styles. Some children learn well with auditory input, others through visual reinforcement, others learn best by doing. Some children need all of that to least best. For all children, regular field trips and excursions are held that complement the curriculum to enhance understanding and knowledge.