2013 – Message from the Principal – Annaliese Brink
With the new academic year to start soon, parents (and students) should be aware that substantial changes have been implemented during the December holidays.
We have invested in the new “Breadbin” system that should be a great benefit to students in future. This system is a South African developed education assistance product. Hopefully it will become fully operational during February 2013. We will be the FIRST SCHOOL in the Western Province to use the new system. It is expected that all schools will adopt this system in the near future. It operates like a huge Hard disc memory with all educational material downloaded on the system. Teachers can download educational material (including UTube material) which students then have free access to copy. Students therefore will not have to download from the internet and this will in turn reduce our internet account. All Education Department information, including all syllabi from grade R to grade 12 will be available. Other educational material, such as The Learning Channel, The Khan Academy etc will also be available to all students. All info will be automatically updatedby the suppliers. Ultimately all handbooks will also be electronically available (hopefully cheaper than at present!). We hope to load our own electronic library onto the system that will give our students access to hundreds (maybe thousands?) of digital and audio books. In order to make this system work properly we had to upgrade the electronic infrastructure at the school. When you visit the Principal’s office in future do admire the new server box behind the door! Because it will be expected that all students should work more independently in future, our 3 main classrooms have already been fitted with work stations along the walls to allow students to concentrate better. We will also start to video record certain classes and put this on the facility for students to download if they want to revise work. Luckily we have previously invested heavily in video facilities as each classroom is equipped with a high definition TV.
What does this mean for the student/parent?
From 2013 EACH student must have their own memory stick to download their required educational material. Although we will try to make more computers/tablets available to students in the school, we are really assuming that each student will at least have computer access at home. From 2014 we would prefer all students to come to school with either their own laptops or tablets. This in turn will allow us to take down all test/exams and work assignments electronically. The school has come a long way in our vision of individualised education and the new system is seen as another important step along this process.
These new systems will at first be strange (and probably stressful) to both students and teachers. All students will receive a thorough induction at the beginning of the academic year. We will however implement these systems slowly in order to make the transition as painless as possible. As in the past we expect those students who want to excel will find the new system full of opportunities to do even better. We are living in changing times and we need to adapt to even do better.
Natural Learning Academy (NLA), is located at 68 Mills Street, Strand, 7140, Western Cape.
We are a small private school, currently consisting of 55 learners and 11 teachers. We specialize in the tuition of children aged 13 to 18 with learning barriers like ADD(H), OCD, Tourette’s, Dyslexia etc. We also cater for children that “just do not function” in mainstream education, as well as children primarily interested in the Arts. Our classes typically consist of between 5 and 13 learners. You can thus be assured that your child will receive the maximum individual tuition and attention that he/she may need.
If your child is unhappy at school, or simply “not functioning” in mainstream education, or if you would just like more information about us, please call us on our office number +27 21 854 5905, or, call our Principal (Annaliese Brink) on +27 84 423 5063
“A Balanced Life Comes First”
From the Principal – Annaliese Brink
Every year we are moving ever closer to our dream, our vision, to create a stress free learning environment where more and more young people can reach their full potential.
My husband George, who is also co-owner of the school, and myself have visited a variety of schools in South Africa and the Netherlands during the past year. There were highly experimental schools, exclusive private schools but also schools where we saw incredible hardship. These visits resulted in a lot of debate and soul searching. One central idea that emerged was that creativity would be a core competence demanded from employees in future.
In order to create jobs, to empower people, to grow the economy, learners must learn to deal creatively with their learning material. The mere collection of knowledge is going to make little difference to the individual who wants to make a contribution to the economy and the country.
It is therefore our mission to create an environment wherein our students can develop their creativity. The name of our school, Natural Learning Academy, refers to a psychological term that says that every person approaches learning material from his or her unique perspective and that the learning material should be approached from that perspective. Some people, for example, learn through memorization, others through association, others through visualization, etc.
The approach of Individualised/personalised education, not to be confused with individual education, will make a huge difference in future. Every student must ultimately have a unique syllabus for his or her educational needs but within the framework of learning outcomes of the official syllabus. One learner will, for example, do only digital design, while another will specialize in mosaic work, or within a variety of multimedia.
We aim to create a caring environment for our students. We treat them with respect. We teach all that while students cannot choose their individual talents, everyone can be hardworking, honest, reliable, well mannered and punctual. Most importantly, that we respect ourselves and each other and develop the talents we received in a responsible manner.
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Elke jaar kom ons nader aan ons droom, ons visie, om vir meer en meer jong mense ‘n kreatitiewe, spanninglose leeromgewing te skep, waarbinne hulle hulle volle potensiaal kan ontwikkel.
Ek en George, my man en mede eienaar van die skool, het die afgelope jaar kanse om ‘n groot verskeidenheid skole te besoek, in Nederland en ook Suid-Afrika. Van hoogs eksperimentele skole, eksklusiewe privaatskole tot skole, waar kinders so swaar kry dat mens net wil huil. Die besoeke het ons verryk en ook laat dink. Die gedagte wat die duidelikste na vore kom is dat kreatiwiteit die kern van alle leer behoort te wees.
Om werk te skep, mense in Suid-Afrika te bemagtig, en die ekonomie te laat groei, moet ons leerders toerus om kreatief met leerstof om te gaan. ‘n Blote versameling van kennis gaan min van ‘n verskil maak as ‘n individu ‘n bydrae in die land wil maak.
Daarom is ons misie om vir leerders ‘n situasie te skep waarbinne hulle kreatief kan ontwikkel. Die naam van ons skool, Natural learning, verwys na ‘n sielkundige term wat bepaal dat elke persoon uit dieselfde leerstof ‘n eie unieke patroon haal, en volgens daar die patroon onderrig moet word. M.a.w. party mense leer deur memorisering, ander deur assosiasie, ander deur visualisering. ens. Dit is ook “natuurlik” vir alle mense om te wil leer. Leer is die mees algemeenste aktiwiteit van die mens. Die mens is n patroon soekende wese.
Ge-individualiseerde onderrig, nie indiviuele onderrig nie, maak die groot verskil. Elke leerder kry ‘n eie unieke sillabus, vir sy/behoeftes binne die raamwerk van uitkomste waaraan voldoen moet word. Een leerder sal bv. slegs digitale ontwerp doen, terwyl ‘n anderspesialiseer in mosaiek,of in ‘n verskeidenehid van media.
Ons leerders word gekoester. Ons behandel mekaar met respek. En ons almal begryp, dat alhoewel mens nie jou natuurlik talente kan kies nie, almal hardwerkend, eerlik, betroubaar en betyds kan wees. Dat ons almal onsself en mekaar genoeg respekteer om die talente wat ons wel ontvang het, verantwoordelik te ontwikkel.
Die skool probeer ook op die voorpunt bly van nuutste ontwikkinge wereldwyd. Ons gaan dus van volgende jaar al groter klem le op groep werk en die vaardighede wat aangeleer moet word om effektief binne n groep te funksioneer.