My eldest daughter wasn’t planned, but to this day she is the happiest surprise I have ever had. I was younger than most moms of my generation and extremely naïve. I didn’t really have anyone guiding me in the right direction and hoped like hell I wasn’t gonna mess up my kids for good! I chose my daughter’s first formal school based on location, (yes, emphasis on naïve). The school was a private school, around the corner from my house, has a very good reputation and honestly, the only way you’re going to find out if a school is right for your child, is to send them there. I can assure you, schools do not divulge any bad habits on their part when you’re on the school tour. Once K started, I was quite surprised to find out that the Grade RRR classes only had an assistant for the first two weeks of the year until the kids were settled. Considering the amount of money you pay for private education, I truly wondered how one teacher was supposed to be responsible for twenty-five 3-4 year olds! Although I was not impressed with the situation, the other moms seemed OK with the idea, and heck, they probably know what they’re doing! K did her first two years there, Grade RRR & RR, and although she flourished educationally, we didn’t feel this was the right cultural fit for us. Due to my husband being Afrikaans, and both our kids are fully bilingual, we decided to try an Afrikaans school next which happened to be a public school as there aren’t too many private Afrikaans primary schools around.
To sum it up, this was disastrous. Admittedly, I was now used to the private school thing, but at the end of the day you at least expect the parents to wear shoes when fetching their kids and to not smoke on school grounds. Judgment aside, K’s education suffered. They watched a movie every day and coloured-in every day. This was not just based on my child’s testimony, but was evident in the work she brought home at the end of every term. She was now in Grade R but doing less work than she had in Grade RRR. To say the least, we were concerned. K’s teacher looked overworked and underpaid. You could see this was not where she wanted to be. The last straw for us was when a child on child molestation incident occurred at school, during playtime, on the school field – involving K. Naturally, as concerned parents, we contacted the school and demanded answers. To say the principal was not interested would be an understatement. He refused to believe that K had sustained any emotional damage and would only consult the other parents with a letter from K’s therapist. Even with the letter in hand, we, to this day, do not believe that the situation was ever brought up again. At this point we thought the best thing for K would be to remove her from the school, from the lack of education that she was receiving and from a spineless principal that really doesn’t have the children’s best interests at heart.
After that we found a lovely private school for K that is dual medium. Walking in there was like a breath of fresh air. The principal demands respect from her pupils and punctuality is non-negotiable. K’s teacher has such a passion for teaching and connects with each child on their level. We feel K is now receiving the best education available and it feels like home. Our motto is: third time lucky!
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