A strong focus on academics is one of the most fundamental pillars of a quality school experience. “Mainstream” academic education refers to the Department of Education’s CAPS academic programme which is followed by the majority of learners at Greenwood Primary School.
The school is conscious of the importance of academics, but also understands the significance of incorporating life skills as well as norms and values into a balanced package, thus enabling learners to play a meaningful role in present-day society.
The school strives to maintain its high academic standards, offering a number of rewards and incentives for academically-inclined learners.
Greenwood Primary School grades:
- The two English grade R classes follow the prescribed syllabus from the Eastern Cape Education Department, and also include various fun-filled educational activities throughout the year.
- The Foundation Phase (grade 1 to grade 3) has four English classes in each grade. Learning areas in this phase include Literacy (English, Afrikaans), Numeracy and Life Skills.
- The Intermediate Phase (grade 4 to grade 6) and the Senior Phase (grade 7) are made up of three classes per grade. Subjects include: English, Afrikaans, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Life Orientation, Arts & Culture and Reading Rocket (a computer-based reading programme).
Parents are regularly informed about their child’s progress via termly reports and parents’ evenings. Parents are encouraged to participate in the evenings where they can discuss any concerns or issues they may have directly with the relevant teachers.
- A remedial teacher and occupational therapist provide extra lessons to learners who require their services. These lessons are given at school, during school hours.
- Reading is continually encouraged and promoted. Greenwood Primary School has a well-stocked media centre and all learners are encouraged to check out books on a regular basis.
The computer room is well-equipped with modern PCs.
The Greenwood Primary School approach to learning
Greenwood Primary School prides itself on a high standard of teaching using the latest techniques, resources, and equipment. The school encourages learners in the practical application of digital learning through the use of whiteboards in the classrooms.
The computer room is equipped with modern equipment, and digital skills have been introduced into the classrooms through the use of interactive whiteboards.
Reading Rocket helps determine the reading age of the learner, and based on this information, it provides effective strategies to improve reading skills. “It forms the rescue vehicle from illiteracy to literacy.”
The aspects mastered on the journey to adequate reading skills are:
- Establishing an extensive vocabulary base
- Spelling skills
- Advanced reading techniques
- Advanced levels of reading comprehension
- Reading motivation
- Reading speed according to international standards
Through the application of Reading Rocket, a culture of mature readers unfolds that can help change households, schools, communities, and countries.
Reading Rocket is suitable for learners needing support, as well as learners wanting to rise above the level required. Literacy levels and performance are monitored continuously.
With this accurate information so readily available, teachers are able to:
- Identify problem areas regarding literacy and reading levels;
- Identify the causes of learning problems (many learning problems are preceded by a reading problem);
- Identify the causes of disciplinary problems (many disciplinary problems are caused by frustration due to a reading problem);
- Take action to solve these challenges.
At Greenwood Primary School, Reading Rocket is offered from grade 1 to grade 7 for an hour per week per class. Reading Rocket is administered by Mrs K. Ah Shene who has undergone specialised training in this programme.
An interactive whiteboard (which has revolutionised the role of the traditional chalkboard in the classroom) allows for the use and display of digital elements in the classroom. The teacher can manipulate the projected elements on the board by using their finger as a ‘mouse’. Items can be dragged, clicked and copied, and the teacher can also handwrite notes, which can be translated into text and saved.
Interactive whiteboards are a powerful tool in the classroom – they add interactivity and collaboration, and allow for the integration of media content into the lesson while supporting collaborative learning. Used innovatively, they create a wide range of learning opportunities.
NeuroNet is a research-based learning readiness programme designed to help students develop proficiency in essential Reading, Math, and Handwriting skills. NeuroNet programmes are focussed around four key concepts:
- LEARN INDEPENDENTLY
Watch and learn, then think and do.
Engage in productive trial-and-error problem solving.
- MAKE THE SPEED AND ACCURACY NETWORK
Develop fluency in early Reading, Handwriting, and Math skills.
Learn to use current knowledge to enhance new learning.
- GET THE BRAIN TO PRACTICE WHAT ONE WANTS THE BRAIN TO LEARN
To develop fluency, one must practice fluency.
- SELF-EVALUATION IS THE KEY TO MOTIVATION
Learn to self-evaluate and to equate effort and practice with improvements in performance
In accordance with the Department of Education’s White paper 6 ( DoE, 2001) “all schools are expected to have functional Institute Level Support Teams (ILST) which comprise of school management, educators, parents or caregivers, community members and learners where applicable. The role of the ILST as envisaged by the White Paper 6 is to ensure an enabling environment for teaching and learning, to provide support programmes for addressing barriers to learning.”
Teachers face numerous academic, behavioural and emotional challenges in the classroom environment on a daily basis.
At Greenwood Primary School, there is a group of qualified professionals on hand to help educators with any of the challenges they may face.
The school employs the services of a full time speech and language therapist as well as a remedial therapist who works with individuals or groups of pupils during the school day. Remedial classes, which concentrate on consolidation of the work done in class, are also offered on the extramural timetable.
Any issues that cannot be dealt with at the school level are referred to the District Based Support Team with a view to placement at a special school which will cater for the specific needs of the child.