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A day in the life of Summerhill

6:30 - The peace of dawn is shattered by the arrival of Teacher Sweetness, clanging the keys to open Summerhill Prep School and to the world of learning.

7:30 - The leader rings the bell as the last of the pothole-dodging parents veers into the car park; breathless and enthusiastic children flood from their cars to begin another exciting day at Summerhill. Everything kicks off with a prayer!

7:45 - The Grade 5 day sometimes starts on a low note, because most of them are still half asleep and the pace is a little slow. Off they go for library. Who knows what happens there, but they are suddenly awake and chatty. While the Grade 4s noisily feed the quails in their quail run, the Grade 2s practise some reading out loud and the Grade 7s get into a healthy debate about what constitutes great leadership, with reference to schools and politicians alike. The school's mock general election is coming up and canvassing is under way by the Grade 7 candidates.

9:10 - The Grade 1s make name badges for each other, then find names of people and places to stick on their class poster! The Grade 5s have to leave for maths, a sight to behold as they put their stuff together and grab everything in case...something very important is left behind. It's a long walk from the maths classroom back to theirs, so better to carry all that belongs to them.

9:40 to 10:00 - first break – soccer between the trees and a bit of throwing around on the jungle gym, while a group of girls from all Grades makes mud pizzas in the shade behind the Grade 3 classroom

10:00 - The Grade 1s are making letters out of clay before reading to each other from flash cards showing new words. And on the hour, every hour – a new class enters the maths room, ready to tackle the challenge of Singapore Maths! Is it the work book today – or the text book, the enrichment book or the homework book? Will it be a Review or a Revision or a Semestral Test? How tricky will the word problems be and will they be able to draw the correct Bar Model? Maybe it will be a mathematical debate again, using the manipulatives to help set up a solution. Which heuristics shall we use? Will the Grade 7’s remember all the circle formulae in order to find the area and perimeter of the gardens in the Palace of Versailles? The miracle is that whatever the problem or degree of difficulty – the homework is always done! Maths ROCKS!

Whoever takes them after any break is blessed with a sweaty bunch of excited kids. About 5 minutes is needed to have them calm down and start working again. A few minutes into the lesson and you have someone raise a hand,  'May l please go to the bathroom?' To think they have just had break and could have done all that during the whole 20 minute break! If you take the time to ask why they didn't do the pressing business at break time, thou shalt receive a looooong winding answer about how it was all forgotten and how the individual had so many errands to do for so and so. After listening rather impatiently you will let him go. As soon as you say yes, there are 5 more hands up with the same request. Now the teacher will have to exercise all the psychology she learnt in college!

11:00 - Knowledge Network for Grade 1s consists of E-learning on Excel, Word and PowerPoint while the Grade 5s make a loud explosion in the background. It's science with Ma'am Linda, the Zimbabwean Nutty Professor!

12:00 - Second break, but it’s a bit hotter now, so we are feeling a bit less energetic. Time to get stuck into our lunchboxes perhaps, and drink some water from the Tuck Shop.

12:20 - Time for the Grade 1s to look at fruits, discuss their textures and then make some fruit kebabs

12:40 - It is Show-and-Tell time in Grade 1. They are doing pets – and one of them has brought a tortoise to school.

13:00 - Junior School Sport today consists of some stretches and then down to the Gym Park on the river for balancing on the beams and rope-climbing. Who will be first over the cargo-net and then best at swinging from the monkey bars. Then maybe they can have a go at the hoops and beanbags. We have a match coming up so we need to stay fit!

14:00 - It's home time. Some hurtle to their parents' cars but there are always some who will stroll lazily from the classroom to the waiting area. It is comic to watch. The parent is waiting impatiently and the child sits down half-way to tie his or her shoe laces. Very slowly!!! Off they go and the school is as quiet as a morgue. The teachers take the time to hold meetings and prepare for a very unpredictable tomorrow.

But not everyone is going home yet. It is Wednesday so the choir are limbering up, ready to belt out a couple of spirituals and wing off some Gumboot Dancing.

16:30 - The valley breathes a sigh of relief as the last of the teachers leaves for the day and heads home to mark some classwork, whilst the children, now home, get on with their homework.

About Us

Summerhill Preparatory School is situated amongst spectacular pristine riverine forest in the Hazyview area of South Africa. It is an independent English-medium pre and prep school, catering for children from playgroup to Grade 7. Its unique situation along the banks of a perennial stream makes it one of the most beautiful schools in the area, lending itself to much outdoor education.

Summerhill is a registered ISASA school, with full provisional UMALUSI accreditation. It is open to all families, believing in the value of a good, sound education in a safe, nurturing, and loving environment. Small classes allow for individual attention and the Christian based ethos ensures that the underlying essence of their life here is grounded in strong moral integrity.

 

 

 

 

01 Belief   02 Bravery    03 Respect   04 Responsibility

05 Initiative   06 Integrity    07 Communication   08 Consideration

09 Kindness  10 Endurance    11 Diligence  OUR VALUES