The Ridge believes in balance in boys, which is why the cultural disciplines on offer are almost as extensive as the range of sports accommodated here. The emphasis is not on choosing either to be a sportsman or someone with a more cultural inclination, but for boys to be able to access both and explore themselves and their environment through the variety on offer.
We offer art classes within the academic timetable as well as extra art on scheduled afternoons and evenings. A number of specialist teachers offer additional programmes such as animation classes, skills classes and even a photography club.
Our boys are fortunate enough to receive an hour of art a week as part of their academic timetable. This begins formally from Grade 3. Art promotes cognitive development through intense and detailed observation, sensory exploration, prolonged concentration, experimentation, imagination, fantasy, analysis and synthesis. Art exercises the brain like no other school subject or form of play. We express and exchange, work individually and in groups, learning about painting, sculpture, printing and drawing.
The syllabus includes art history (art movements, masters, contemporary art, South African art and African art), art appreciation, art techniques and visual literacy. The boys are also taken on outings to galleries and museums. Our art programme aims to develop social, cultural, spiritual and environmental awareness, and broaden the boys’ capacity for healthy communication, appreciation, respect and reverence for life.
In addition, we offer drama, both as part of the Senior Prep timetable and as an afternoon club. Traditionally, we alternate between a whole Senior Prep production and a Grade 7 adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s well-loved plays. At The Ridge we have a proud history of bringing Shakespeare back to life since 1921. The most recent Shakespearean offering was A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was received with much appreciation. Of course, the learning experience for boys is the crux of the enterprise and very few of the boys will ever forget the hard work and eventual bright lights of the stage.
Twice a year, boys in the senior prep are encouraged to participate in our Drama and Poetry Evening. Here boys can volunteer to recite poetry, act out a mini drama, perform some choral verse or present something of a dramatic nature on stage. The boys get some ideas from staff but really it’s meant to be “Five Minutes of Fame”. We feel it’s so important for boys to get a sense of their presence on stage and learn from the preparation and delivery in front of a friendly audience of parents and peers. There’s nothing like it to build confidence.
Fireside Tales is one of several annual events, like the Music Soiree and the Art Exhibition, where we celebrate the cultural side of our school and community. Our sister schools have joined us in the past and oral tradition came alive in the school hall as stories and characters were breathed to life in isiZulu.
Chess is a firm favourite with many boys, some coming in early to get that extra bit of practice so that they can confidently face their opponents from other schools when match day arrives. Most often these chess meetings take place in the evenings because of the very busy extra-mural schedule at the school. Congratulations to all those boys who commit themselves to the team and to those boys who always seem so eager to fill in when a slot opens up.
The English Department always seems to be in the thick of cultural projects, and preparing boys to feel confident speaking and presenting is an important part of our syllabus. Besides the classroom opportunities, we participate in and regularly host the inter-school Chatterbox Public Speaking meetings. Boys get to mix with boys and girls from other schools and entertain audiences with interesting and well-delivered speeches. Boys often come away beaming with delight at the Gold or Silver commendation they had earned that evening.
We believe whole-heartedly in fostering a love of reading. Every class and grade in the Senior Prep has some sort of reading scheme and challenge. The Media Centre is a wonderful zone for boys and several fantastic and inspiring reading projects come out of said space. The “Kidz Lit. Quiz” is an example of just one of them.
The school made the decision some years ago to structure a “Modules” hour into the academic timetable. This was designed to give Grades 5-7 an hour slot per week to work in blocks of learning units, for either a half term or term at a time. This also allows for boys with specific interests and needs to see specialist tutors. Many of the private music lessons and additional language classes take place during these module periods. They also allow for disciplines better suited to a less structured sense of space to be created and used. These modules consist of Thinking Programmes, interactive games and cultural projects like dance and debating.
The Ridge is renowned for its music. All our boys discover, are exposed to and enjoy all aspects of music in a myriad of different ways. At The Ridge, our boys are able to explore the extraordinary world of music and experience the joy and magic of making music together. They will, during their Prep School years, have the opportunity to:
- Hear, experience and involve themselves fully in all genres of music, and all it has to offer.
- Experience, and have access to, the most-well equipped, spacious and ‘state of the art’ facilities.
- Have expert tuition on any musical instrument of their choice. Talents are identified, nurtured and developed.
- Be a member of our excellent choirs, bands or ensembles, orchestras, wind and jazz bands, string ensembles, marimba bands and rock bands.
- Spend time in our well-equipped music lab.
- Be involved in our outstanding dramatic productions, musicals, festivals and concerts.
- Be part of our eagerly anticipated music tours.
- Continue to make music, well into their senior school years and beyond.
Music is a very important part of a Ridge boy’s life, and we value greatly our holistic style of education. We are very proud of our music, and all that our boys achieve, and have achieved. Many of our boys have, over many years, won music scholarships to their senior schools.
“Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being human.” (Jewel)
As Suzuki once said, and something which we embrace, “If a child hears good music from the day of his birth, and if he learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.”