It truly is an honour to guide young boys in their foundation phase. We have a dedicated team of teachers who strive to ensure that the boys in their care are happy and excited about learning. We believe that life is a journey, not a race, and childhood should be celebrated. Our curriculum is tailor-made to be boy-friendly and fun. We believe that we provide a wonderful introduction to first learning.
Boys enter our Grade 0 in the year that they are five turning six. We have three classes of twenty boys. Our Grade 0 Class Teachers (aided by a Teacher’s Assistant), cover perceptual training, the setting of pre-reading, pre-maths and pre-writing skills. Emphasis is placed on the social and emotional well-being of the child. The boys have specialist teachers for music and movement, physical education, IT, Zulu, Afrikaans and library skills.
We organise appropriate outings, which complement themes that we are exploring. Our boys enjoy a happy and full morning at school, laying a strong foundation in all the learning areas for life in the senior part of The Ridge School.
Grade 1 is an exciting year of formalising the skills that the boys have been acquiring since pre-school and Grade 0. This involves learning to read, write and build on their existing pre-number concepts. In Grade 1 the boys learn formally to use these skills to express themselves through the books that they learn to read and in the creative sentences that they learn to write. Their pre-number concepts become more formalised as they are taught to use the mathematical symbols and vocabulary necessary when recording number sentences. Engaging with problem solving using numbers and everyday life as the primary source is also a very important mathematical concept.
The importance of play is an integral part of Grade 1 as this is a significant means of how boys learn their social skills. In the Grade 1 playground the boys are starting to formalise their play activities by initiating rules. A sense of fairness and justice begins to prevail and the playground is a busy place to be. Play activities are supervised by a teacher at all times to ensure that the uniqueness of each boy’s development on a social level is protected and acknowledged.
The boys spend the morning with their Class Teacher and the Teacher’s Assistant (who rotates among the three classes). After snack and playtime, they are taught by specialist teachers. This specialised tuition involves class music, marimbas, Afrikaans, Zulu, media and ball skills. The boys enjoy the lessons and benefit from the expertise of each teacher.
Grade 2 is a year of extension. All the basic skills have been introduced and the boys now seem to fly. They have exposure in the classroom to group projects as part of the co-operative learning approach.
Mathematics is taught by the problem solving or investigative approach, and has proved to be very successful in the setting of sound mathematical concepts absorbed by the individual’s own learning style.
Boys are taught using the RML method which is incorporated to teach phonics, spelling, decoding and reading.
In addition, each pupil’s reading programme is structured at his own individual level of competency, drawing from the large and varied range of reading material available to him. Ongoing comprehension skills are applied and developed to assist each pupil’s daily functioning.
Each term a variety of themes are covered; these are used to integrate all learning areas.
The Grade 3 year is a gentle transition to a longer day with more exposure to the Senior Prep staff members. The academic morning ends at 13:15 and boys can choose to have “hot lunch” in the main school dining room. Grade 3 boys stay three afternoons a week for cultural or sporting activities. Zulu and Afrikaans have now become written subjects and art, design & technology and computers have specialist teachers.
The main aim in the Junior Prep is to ensure that each boy develops a good self-esteem. A learning difficulty can easily develop into poor self-esteem, so we seek early intervention. We have a ‘Learning Support Centre’, which is made up of two remedial therapists, one occupational therapist, one physiotherapist, a psychologist and two speech therapists. Any boy who is having any difficulty at any time may leave the classroom for a one-on-one lesson and will re-join the class better prepared.
After School Activities
The Ridge offers an in-house after-school sports programme for the Grade 1 and 2 boys. This programme includes cricket and swimming in terms 1 and 3 and soccer, hockey and rugby skills in term 2. On Monday afternoons we also offer a “Clubs” programme which is run by our teachers and includes different fun activities ranging from baking, woodwork and drama to construction and art and crafts. In addition to these activities, our Junior Prep boys are able to take lessons in judo, tennis, chess, yoga and art should they wish to do so.