Academic Overview

Academic Overview

The Grove is committed to excellence in education. The Grove has enjoyed a deserved reputation for academic excellence but we recognise that excellence is never a static end point: it requires constant renewal, improvement and innovation if it is to be maintained.
 

Overview

The focus of excellence is the children of the school. We will have achieved excellence if the school provides our children with the foundation they need to be all they can be and if they develop as happy well-rounded individuals who are highly equipped for their next stage of life with all the capabilities to be successful and to make a contribution in a competitive globalised world. The Grove in short seeks to produce children who are leaders – each in their own individual and unique way.

This involves enabling them to be self-actualised, adaptive and confident with a broad range of skills and capacities encompassing the academic, cultural and sporting realms. Within this holistic approach to education, The Grove has a particular emphasis on arts and cultural excellence which helps differentiate it from other primary schools in the area that might, for example, have a stronger sports emphasis.

 
The Grove follows the revised New National Curriculum statement and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy (CAPS). The language of teaching and learning is English. Afrikaans is incorporated as the 1st additional language and Xhosa is offered on a conversational level.

Learners’ needs are further enhanced by a team of specialist teachers who work closely with the class teachers in diagnosing and addressing any remedial or enrichment needs with appropriate tuition in individual or small group programmes.

The school adopts a mainly class teaching approach from Grades 1 to 6 except for the specialist areas of art, music, technology and physical education. In Grade 7 there is subject teaching in order to prepare the pupils for high school. The class complement for Grades R to 6 is, as far as possible, a teacher to child ratio of :25.

Grade R

Grade R

We have two Grade R classes, located in a house adjoining the school. This space provides a safe and secure environment for our ‘Ladybirds’ and ‘Dragonflies’. The location allows the pre-schoolers to enjoy the use of The Grove’s field and facilities, and the children are able to familiarise themselves with the school, before spreading their wings.
 

Grade R at The Grove

In Grade R our primary concern is with holistic development. This includes physical, perceptual, social and emotional and language development.

Routine is structured in such a way that children encounter opportunities to make free choices as well as engage in structured tasks.  The focus is on children learning through play and sensory experiences. They are encouraged to get dirty, run around barefoot and climb trees.

If “play is children’s work”, then our children work hard! The children experience a variety of excursions that are aligned with a theme.

Art

Art

 
Art at The Grove
The corridors of The Grove are decorated with the constantly changing artwork of our children – the result of time spent dedicated to art both in class and in our spacious Art Room.

All children attend at least one art class a week, and we also have a popular extra-curricular Art Club for both our Junior and Senior children.

In addition, the imagination and craft skills of everyone – teachers included – is put to the test by regular chances to dress up.

Computers

Computers

The Grove strives to set trends in education and also to keep up with world-wide education trends. Needing to be able to cater for the C21 child and understanding that technology will drive learning and enhance education of all kinds, The Grove, over the years, has invested a significant amount of money into infrastructure, devices and training. As technology becomes increasingly mobile, learning opportunities exist everywhere.

Computers at The Grove

The Grove was a pioneer in the adaption of Google for Education. Our teachers are continually being trained in how to integrate technology into the curriculum in the classroom. The Grove has achieved a ratio of 4:1 in respect of devices to children. Our aim is to have a ratio of 1:1.

Wireless coverage exists throughout the entire school and we were able to install our own fibre connection to allow fast and easy access to the internet.

 
iPads are used in the Foundation Phase mostly as well as in the Library, Enrichment and some Maths classes to enrich learning and enhance the experience for learners and teachers.
Chromebooks are used higher up in the school. This means that every child has their own Grove Google account which IT administration staff are able to manage and control. This also allows quick and easy sharing of documents with other children and teachers.
Collaborative learning is enhanced and apps like Google Classroom allow teachers to set online tasks and enable monitoring of where and when they are being completed. Teachers can mark and comment on these online.

isiXhosa

isiXhosa

isiXhosa at The Grove

The Grove values and promotes multilingualism through our teaching of isiXhosa and we hope to reach a point where this concept of multilingualism does not remain an abstract idea but to model it in our day to day lives. Our aim is for it to form part of our culture and traditions.

We hope to encourage isiXhosa speaking students to take pride in their home language and not shy away to use it in the classroom or school grounds but to create opportunity to facilitate teaching and learning for both the teacher and the students.

 
The Grove aspires to produce children who are active citizens and leaders in promoting social cohesion, within our school community and beyond. Learning isiXhosa goes beyond learning grammar but an understanding of aspects of culture and beliefs of the native speakers of this language.

With understanding we can then begin to respect, be kind and develop tolerance towards one another regardless of our differences.

The Grove aims to raise the focus and status of isiXhosa as we strive to become a more multilingual community.

Learning Support

Learning Support

 

Support Team at The Grove

The Grove recognises that children have different learning styles, strengths and abilities. The school strives to enhance the social, emotional and academic needs of every child.

The learning support team works alongside class teachers to provide opportunities for all children to experience success and aims to strengthen individual skills. Support is continually reviewed to keep up with The Grove’s needs as well as to keep abreast of new trends in education.

Learning Support Team meets weekly to discuss children who need additional support. This team decides on strategies that will best support each child and these recommendations are then discussed with the child’s parent/s.

These may include class-based accommodations, remedial intervention, counselling, enrolment in the enrichment programme and/or referral to outside professionals such as educational psychologists, paediatricians, doctors, psychiatrists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

 

What We Offer

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Remedial Teaching

Remedial teaching: Two private teachers use the school’s facilities to offer individual remedial support to children from all grades. In addition, two teachers employed by the school offer either class-based or pull-out groups in both the Foundation and Intermediate Phases.
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Language Support: Intermediate Phase

Language support in the Intermediate Phase is offered to those who experience difficulties with comprehension and language skills. Lessons are based on work being taught in the classroom, practising new vocabulary and academic language pertaining to class themes.

Speech and Language Support: Foundation Phase

The Speech-Language Therapist offers support to the Foundation Phase in the following areas: common articulation error correction, language support for those children who experience difficulties with written and spoken English (either as mother tongue or multilingual learners), and phonics support. This support is offered in pull-out groups and whole class support.

 

Enrichment

Enrichment offers children an opportunity for extension by exploring a range of subjects and themes outside the set curriculum.

Social Work

Social work / counselling: The school social worker provides assistance in the prevention and solution of personal, social and emotional problems of children that involve family and school relationships when such problems have a bearing on the quality of the school work of the child.

Assistance

Concerns brought to the attention of the counsellor, either by referral from the Learning Support Teacher or directly by the class teacher. Support can also be requested by a parent or a child directly. An outside professional who is working with the family may also ask the school to assist.
 
The range of services provided by the school social worker/ counsellor is very wide and includes: individual counselling to learners, mediation between learners and between parents (for parenting plans/ contact arrangements), parental guidance (for example about discipline issues) and support, short term couple counselling (if the relationship impacts on the child’s learning) and liaison with and referral to outside sources and professionals.

Inclusion in the above programmes is a carefully thought through process, case-dependent and is made at the discretion of the teachers.

Library

Library

 

Readathon at The Grove

The library at The Grove is a vibrant, busy and exciting place bursting with wonderful books. There are often queues of children wanting to swap and get the latest books at the issue desk when school starts in the morning, during breaks and at the end of the school day. Literacy and information skills are taught during weekly library lessons.
The highlight of the year in the library is the annual three week long Readathon. A different theme is chosen each year and the library is decorated accordingly.

The Readathon is launched at a special assembly and a countdown heralds the start of the reading frenzy! Children and classes are awarded prizes for the most books read as well as the best selection of books read.

 
Displays are changed regularly to focus on new books, current events and interesting topics.The library has its own site called library@thegrove which keeps the children up to date as to what’s happening in the library and what new books have arrived.We subscribe to several children’s magazines as well as an online weekly newspaper.

This is available via the library site. Book sales and author visits are organised regularly.We also have a collection of books on parenting issues which is available to parents in the school.

 

Library at The Grove

Library Integration

The library has a bank of ipads which are used during these lessons. Computers are available in the library for research purposes. The library is open from the start of school to 4pm from Monday to Thursday. Many children make use of the facility in the afternoons to do homework or to relax on one of the couches and read!
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Skills

Each class from Grade R to Grade 6 has a weekly visit. During this time, the children are given an opportunity to swap their books. They are also introduced to new books and authors, taught how to care for books, how to find books in the library as well as learn referencing skills.

Work at the Library

A wonderful team of moms (and dads) help with the covering and repairing of books. A dedicated Grade 7 library committee member mans the issue desk and assists with the shelving of books at break times.

Library and Outreach

Each year the library committee embark on an outreach project. During the year they collect and cover nearly new books for a classroom library. Towards the end of the year, they visit Newfields Primary School in Athlone and hand over a bookshelf complete with cushions and teddies to one of the classes.

Music

Music

‘Music is the soul of society’

Itzhak Perman – Israeli-American violin virtuoso, conductor and master-instructor.

Music at The Grove

Welcome to The Grove’s Music Department.

The Grove has a dedicated team of highly qualified music teachers working together to create an awareness of music in our school community at large.  Music enriches our lives by promoting a higher order of thinking skills and teamwork. Music also fosters creativity and cohesiveness while generating discipline and commitment.

 
To enable budding musicians to grow to their full potential, we offer a large variety of instruments. We are also closely associated with the Beau Soleil Music Centre. Once a certain level of competency is attained on their chosen instrument, the children are able to sign up for bands and orchestral ensembles.

The Grove enters children for Royal Schools, Trinity College and UNISA exams provided that the child shows an aptitude and is motivated to enter. Both practical and theoretical examinations are recommended provided that the children are ready.

 
If a child hears music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. The child gets a beautiful heart.” Einstein
Requirements for Practicing
Space:
Music stand and space at home to ‘blow your trumpet’.
Time:
Time to be scheduled each day for practising.
Discipline:
Self-discipline and concentration is essential.
Enthusiasm:
Must be motivated to learn music.
“Music feeds the soul of our nation”
 
Recorder
The recorder is an ideal first instrument as it is both manageable in size and technical scope whilst the actual instrument (Yamaha/Aulos) is inexpensive. Learning to play the recorder enables the student to form the best possible background and preparation for learning an orchestral instrument. Students may be tutored individually or in small groups, from Grade 2 onwards.
Piano
Once students are able to read they may start piano lessons provided that they show an aptitude for music. For practice purposes it is imperative to have either an acoustic piano or a weighted keyboard in the home.
String Instruments
VIOLIN, CELLO, DOUBLE BASS

An excellent musical ear is essential to learn a string instrument as this section requires plenty of discipline, dedication and musical ability.

An ideal grade to start the various instruments is:
Violin: Grade 2 – 3
Cello: Grade 3 – 4
Double Bass: Grade 5 – 6

 
Wind Instruments
FLUTE, CLARINET, SAXOPHONE, CORNET, TRUMPET

These instruments are a natural transition from learning the recorder.
The ideal age group is Grade 4 – 8 with lessons taking place individually or in very small groups.

Students usually progress fairly quickly once they have made the transition.

Guitar
Classical or contemporary
The guitar is a versatile instrument that provides a solid musical foundation although it is initially a challenging instrument to master.
Drum Kit
Learning the drum kit provides the students with the opportunity to learn the various styles and techniques of ‘drumming’. It also develops co-ordination and a strong sense of rhythm. The ideal age group to start is in Grade 4.
At The Grove we offer a wide variety of instruments for individual tuition:
Recorder
Flute
Fife
Oboe
Piano
Trumpet
Saxophone
Violin
Drum kit
Cello
Guitar
Ukulele
Voice
Cornet
French horn
 
We also offer a variety of ensemble and orchestral groups:
Recorder consort
Orchestral ensemble
Senior choir
Junior choir
Chamber choir
Guitar ensemble
Violin club
Marimba bands

Technology

Technology

Technology plays a vital role in the curriculum at The Grove from Grade 2 through to Grade 7.

It forms part of the STEAM educational approach which includes Science, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics to solve a problem. Our children are encouraged to be more critical thinkers.

In doing so they improve their analytical skills and learn to solve problems systematically through hands on experiences and experimentation.

 

The Three Areas of Learning

Systems and control – e.g. hydraulics, electrical circuits, pulleys, levers
Basic engineering – e.g. triangulation, stability
Processes – e.g. textiles, plastics, paper, food tech, beading

The children are taught to work through the design process and:

Investigate problems
Research appropriately
Design by recording their ideas using graphical drawings and plans
Make a prototype
Evaluate their product
Communicate their findings and experiences

In Technology the possibilities are endless… This gives a large number of children the opportunity to excel.

Technology is not about the product. It is about the process, problem solving and innovation.

Thinking Philosophy

Thinking Philosophy

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements, CAPS, states the importance of developing critical thinking skills. However, it is predominantly an instructing syllabus which focuses on the recall of content which in turn forms the basis of assessment.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the school to empower our children to think and not just be passive recipients of content.

Thinking Schools South Africa

Teachers need to understand how to teach thinking routines, to incorporate reflection into the learning process and to encourage metacognition. To this end, and in order to build a common language of thinking, the school has embarked on ongoing whole-school training of specific thinking skills and strategies.

We have participated in several workshops facilitated by TSSA (Thinking Schools South Africa) and a designated team of teachers assists with the follow-through of training. We are using David Hyerle’s Thinking Maps and the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy as specific tools to structure, refine and integrate thinking.

In addition, various routines are chosen with teachers using the common language and frameworks that are developed as children progress through the grades.

 

Developing Skills

It is important for each child to adopt an awareness of their responsibility in the learning process. For this reason, the school’s thinking philosophy incorporates five core values: kindness, integrity, pride, respect and responsibility.

In conjunction, we promote the Habits of Mind identified by Art Costa & Bena Kallick, dispositions which encourage intelligent responses when faced with problems.

Grovites are continually taught strategies to practise, reflect on and improve these behaviours. Developing 21st century skills means nurturing growth-oriented mindsets.

Our children are encouraged to understand that they are capable of growth; to learn from mistakes; to build resilience and to take effective action to change and improve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply Brilliant

We are excited about the introduction of the COGZ logo, the chameleon that represents and encourages thinking at The Grove.

The symbol is seen in a variety of situations, reminding us to apply thoughtful behaviours at all times.

Visual Motor Integration

Visual Motor Integration

The Visual Motor Integration (VMI) programme at The Grove was developed as a means to balance the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the modern child.

It is a child’s “job” or “occupation” to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other children, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new environments.

VMI at The Grove

The VMI programme is a body movement programme which affords the learners this opportunity through structured play activities. Classes are run by a qualified Occupational Therapist

All Foundation Phase children attend a half-hour session once a week. Classes are broken up into four smaller groups and rotate through stations on a 4 week program.

During this time teachers are given the opportunity to freely observe their pupils in non-academic situations.

Teachers witness and observe learners strengths and weaknesses in foundational skills.

This enables them to make more holistic evaluations and if necessary referrals to relevant therapies.

Some interesting links between their performance in the classroom and during the VMI programme have been observed, e.g. children who struggle with balancing activities also appear to be more distractible in the class.

 

VMI in action

Stations incorporate skills such as visual tracking, balance, postural stability, midline crossing, bilateral integration, feeling one’s body moving through space, sequencing, calming and sensory input to name a few.
Besides developing physical aspects, the social development of the children is enhanced through having to work co-operatively, share, take turns, evaluate and respond in a responsible and self disciplined manner.
The programme will remain in flux and develop with the children in accordance with their needs. Both the teachers and the children have found it to be an exciting, rewarding and very valuable experience.