Principal’s school dream comes true

2017-12-06 06:00
A view of the new Capstone Primary School grounds, as the pupils learn lessons while fishing.                                  Photo:SUPPLIED

A view of the new Capstone Primary School grounds, as the pupils learn lessons while fishing. Photo:SUPPLIED

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FOLLOWING a 20 year long dream, The Capstone School, a progressive Reggio-inspired independent primary school in Heatherbank Road in Charlo, has officially been registered.

Situated on the Heatherbank farm in Port Elizabeth, the school’s campus is located on the original Lovemore homestead, surrounded by an abundance of trees, open spaces, natural birds and farm horses and cattle.

Capstone’s official registration marks the realisation of a lifelong dream held by founder and principal, Jacqui Zeelie, a mother of four, who had run a pre-primary in Walmer for the past 20 years.

“Education of young children in a loving environment, is a passion and for many years it has been my desire to open a primary school, where larger numbers of children could be nurtured and educated,’’ Zeelie said.

She described that the sacrifice and effort that went into physically building the school and registering it is finally worth it.

The school presently offers Grades 1 to 3 classes, as well as two classes in the pre-primary division.

However, Zeelie, who has a vision for further growth, said an additional grade would be added each year until the school has classes from Grades 1 to 7.

She further described that the school aims to create a home away from home where children are happy, loved and enjoy learning in an environment where pupils can fish, explore and tend to a vegetable garden.

The school also follows an integrated curriculum where subjects are introduced through a series of stories that spark the child’s imagination.

“This approach expands the child’s knowledge by providing a connected curriculum rather than a mix of unrelated bits of information.”

In keeping with the Finland education model approach, the school has a no-homework policy, which allows children to play and be happy and families the freedom to spend their afternoons as they choose.

“The class sizes are small and children progress at an individualised pace and are assessed on a continuous basis in a non-intrusive manner,” Zeelie said, adding that this encourages the pupils to observe, to question and to think deeply.

“They look, listen and touch. They ask, answer and discuss. They measure, move and create.”

Zeelie said the teachers are the facilitators who create environments that stimulate extended exploration, problem-solving, cooperation and debate, which allow the children to discover creative and useful solutions to problems.

“A strong emphasis and value is placed on hands-on learning in and through nature.

“The school’s location in this beautiful part of the Bay is a key part of the dream,” Zeelie said.

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