Questions

That we feel are important for parents to ask us
    • What makes Capella House a progressive school?

      Capella House is a progressive mainstream school and our approach is different from traditional South African schooling. By this we mean that we regard the relationship between teacher and child as impacting learning way more than any curriculum, facilities or resources. We are a proudly child-centred learning environment where the teachers work with the natural curiosity of children to discover ‘the magic of learning’, capturing their attention, wonder and delight as the teacher follows what they are interested in. Almost taking the Early Childhood Development model throughout the primary school. As opposed to a traditional “industrial” instructional approach (ref Sir Ken Robinson – ‘How School’s Kill Creativity’), we have a facilitative, child-centred, relationship focused approach.

    • How do you ensure that the academic aspects are covered within your progressive school approach?

      We are registered with WCED (Western Cape Education Department) and ISASA (Independent Schools Association of SA). ISASA evaluates schools on the basis Quality, Diversity and Values.

      We follow what we call an EMERGENT CURRICULUM covering the academic requirements of the grade (with CAPs as a baseline) via what the children are interested in. So, the concept of graphs is covered by looking at how far the different planets are from the sun within a chosen theme of The Solar System. Or how fast the different wild Animals run. We aim to address the multi-intelligences using running games, standing desks, outside work in the garden to ensure that all children’s learning styles are catered for.

      This is underpinned by our HIDDEN CURRICULUM, which is all about the competences within Emotional Intelligence. Working with children (and adults) to identify their emotions, to manage their emotions, to be aware of the impact of their emotions on others, to work with other’s emotions and work in a team of different emotions. EQ in action on a daily basis.

    • How does Capella maintain boundaries with the children so that they are not just doing what they want to, when they want to?

      Capella House does not have a ‘discipline policy’. Accountability being one of our main values, classes have community chosen boundaries in place that children are held accountable to maintain. We have what we call a ‘Behaviour Management Guideline’ process which recognizes that children generally do not act deliberately to create a negative experience for themselves, but rather that it may be a consequence of how they are feeling within themselves, given their home circumstances, relationships within or outside of the school, or simply something they are wrestling with personally.

      Therefore, rather than make a child feel ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, we use classroom agreements as a basis for how we will co-exist in the space. If a child is not able to manage within those agreements, we follow an enquiry based investigative approach of what the teacher is observing, what is not working and what support may be required to enable the child to work within the classroom agreements going forward.

    • Does Capella House offer support for children with learning difficulties?

      We are very clear that we are not a remedial school and do not offer in-house OT or physio support, etc. At the same time our small classes and nurturing environment supports some children who do not thrive within the traditional school environment and larger classes.

      We have chosen to be an inclusive school with currently 10% of our children identified as ‘Sensitive Enrollments’ i.e. where we review the enrolment on a termly basis. We also have many experiences of children who are perceived as ‘different’ in a traditional school, finding their space within Capella, realizing that they are valued for who they are, whilst still ensuring that things work for the class as a whole.

      Our experience is that children “relax” into what they experience as a safe and nurturing space for ALL children. Our focus is on working with the individuality of each child. At the same time we build empathy and acceptance of difference.

    • How do I know if Capella House will suit my child?

      We have a carefully planned enrolment process which includes a tour, a pre-visit meeting followed by a three day visit for your child to experience the Capella Way in action and for our teachers to experience and (lightly) assess where your child is, as well as looking at the current make up of the class. Based on this feedback we have a post-visit meeting sharing both the school’s and your child’s experience of the school. This will inform the decision as to whether to enrol your child or not from both the school’s and your perspective.

    • Tell me about my child’s experience of Capella House

      Children at Capella House have a voice, and that voice is encouraged, recognized and acknowledged within boundaries that are clearly communicated in terms of the teacher’s requirement and the needs of a class as a whole in order to function effectively. Trust, respect and dignity underpin all relationships and that includes communications between and amongst teachers, children, parents, staff and board, with an open approach to resolving challenges between and amongst people – adults and children alike.

    • What is expected of me as a parent?

      We believe that educating your child is not our responsibility alone. As parents your children will follow your lead, they will follow what you do, not necessarily what you say, and if the two are not aligned, they will pick it up. We are not a ‘drop and go’ school where the gates get locked behind you. Parents are welcome at our daily Social Integration – the first half hour of the day where they can play with their children, engage in a creative activity, chat to your child’s teacher, or catch up with friends.

      At the same time we recognize that many more parents are working, so we see ourselves in a partnership, supporting your child’s growth and development and social integration is not a daily requirement. We have a Parenting Support Program which requires a commitment to do the ‘Nurturing of Self Esteem’ workshop which supports our parents in gaining the skills to deal with their children in the same way the children are engaged at school. Parents are also required to attend the two report meetings and two of the four school shares in a year.

    • Where do Capella House children go and how do they fare?

      We have had children go on to Fish Hoek High, Silvermine Academy, Reddam, Hout Bay International and Cedar House. Generally the feedback has been that our children walk into natural leadership positions as they have high self-esteem, a very clear sense of who they are and share what it is that they are needing in a respectful way. Capella House children have been recognized for their independent and self-managed way of working. We feel this is a result of our co-operative mutual agreements rather than an imposed structure and way of working that children have to comply with. They have also been recognized for being more than able to cope with the academic requirements.

    • What do I need to do if I want to explore enrolling my child?

      Contact us to book a tour to experience our school in action. Tours generally take place on a Wednesday at 9am. but open to booking to suit your convenience. If you like what you see, we can book a three day visit for your child/ren which will involve a pre-visit meeting (20 mins) on the day of the visit or another convenient time. The visit is followed by a post-visit meeting to share the teacher’s experience of your child, your child’s experience of the school, and to determine whether Capella House is the right environment for your child.

    • And Homework?

      There is a minimal homework policy at Capella House. We believe that loading children with homework just for the sake of providing homework is not necessary or educationally sound. Our teachers support this view and the research that argues that unnecessarily intense schooling environments create unhappy and unmotivated young people. Learners learn more from exploring as many interests as possible after school in the time they have at home.

  • I have really enjoyed the experiences and sharings that have come out in the classroom linked to our Celebration theme, around individuality and family traditions. It was so beautiful to see the children share their family traditions and to see how the class embraced that. I love how our children are so accepting of different beliefs and traditions and the conversations that emerge around that.

    — Capella House Educator