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 provide a solid foundation for lifelong teaching and learning.
In our English curriculum, sounds are taught through the use of picture cards, which link to handwriting rhymes, ensuring that the correct letter formation is grasped right at the start. The principles of READ WRITE INC/RML (Ruth Miskin Literacy) underpin the teaching of sound-symbol relationships and developing phonemic awareness in all boys. The programme embraces the principles of pace, passion, perseverance, purpose and praise to engage all boys in learning their sounds. Oral blending, using our special friend Fred the fish, equips boys with the skills needed to later begin reading and spelling. 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 boy’s daily functioning.
Mathematics is taught through 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. Teachers use CAMI for extension and revision of concepts taught. Engaging with problem solving using numbers and everyday life as the primary source is also a very important mathematical concept.
Boys enter our Grade 0 in the year that they are five turning six. Our Grade 0 class teachers (aided by student teachers and a teacher assistant) cover perceptual skills, pre-reading, pre-maths and pre-writing skills.
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.
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.
The Grade 3 year is a gentle transition to a longer day with more exposure to the Senior Prep staff members. The academic day ends at 13:25 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.
The boys have specialist teachers for music and movement, Physical Education, ICT, isiZulu, 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.
We have recently opened a brand-new Junior Prep Block which houses 9 classrooms (Grade 1-3), a library, an ICT/coding space, a multi-purpose classroom (Imagination station), a meeting room (home to the TCL Saturday morning training classes), a kitchen area for staff, adult and boys’ bathrooms on both floors, the revamped Aftercare (Curiosity Cave) and admin offices. As the environment is ‘The 3rd Teacher’, these classrooms further enhance the skills of Collaboration, Critical thinking, Communication, Creativity and Curiosity.
We want 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. Our Lighthouse is the Academic Support Centre, which is made up of two remedial therapists, one occupational therapist, one physiotherapist, a psychologist and two speech therapists.
Great emphasis is placed on the social and emotional well-being of each boy. The importance of play is an integral part of learning. In the playground the boys are starting to formalise their play activities by initiating rules. A sense of fairness and justice begins to prevail. 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.
For children, social and emotional skills need to be taught explicitly. It is therefore our goal in the boys’ foundational years to create an inclusive, emotionally literate environment. Conscious discipline is a comprehensive self-regulation programme that integrates social and emotional learning, school culture and discipline. It is evidence-based and research-backed, and we believe it has the most transformational potential for schools, families, teachers, parents and children.
For our community awareness, our big hearted Ridge Boys collect ‘Task money’ each term and through this we are able to highlight various charities and non-profit organisations. Over and above the termly task money collections (where we have friendly inter-grade competition to see who can raise the most money) we also support the Grade 7 leadership projects, collect Easter Eggs for the Mini City Council, support Fruity Friday collection for The Hope School, Grade 0’s put together Santa Shoeboxes and Grade 1-3 boys collect Christmas Presents for Rotary Club (JHB North Central).
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 tag rugby, soccer and hockey in Term 2.
In addition to these activities, our Junior Prep boys are able to take lessons in Judo, Pottery Tennis, Chess, Speech and Drama, Yoga and Art should they wish to do so.