Due to an overwhelming demand and on the back of our huge success with our Middle School, GCSE and AS levels, we decided to introduce the Junior phase in 2018.
This phase acts as the preliminary or feeder phase for Middle School which is the first level of ‘high school’ (if you will).
Following the model of the other phases, the Junior Phase is also ability based and not age based. This means two things for the students.
Firstly, the group is made up of children of mixed ages, the foundation level and the primary level, ranging from roughly 6 – 13 years of age. This is what is called Vertical Grouping. The Montessori system has used it for over a hundred years with great success. It has many advantages one of which is that it caters for both academic intelligence (I.Q) and emotional intelligence (E.Q). This means that, while a child may have the I.Q. of, let’s say, a 10-year-old, they may have the E.Q of a 13-year-old. Socially they are now able to fit in with the children of the same emotional level.
This is something that traditional classrooms are not very good at accommodating. Another benefit of vertical grouping is that the more advanced students reinforce their learning by teaching the less advanced while the less advanced can learn from their more advanced peers. This creates a more natural and realistic social environment.
Traditional education has become more content based rather than skills based, where a child’s ability to memorise and regurgitate information is valued most. In a world where children have information available at the click of a button, it is no longer necessary for them to have to memorise huge amounts of information. What they do need to know is what to do with the information. The focus at Alpha will be to develop skills such as questioning, problem solving, research, critical thinking, evaluation, analysis and reporting. These are the skills of the future. These are also incidentally the skills they will need to get through university one day…if they choose that path. I say if, because contrary to what schools are telling our children, University is not the only path to success. But more on that when they reach the GCSE level….
The bottom line is, we at Alpha Study Centre would like to bring back learning for enjoyment. We want students who are excited about learning for themselves and we want children to develop a lifelong love for learning. At ASC they will become self-motived learners – learners not driven by marks and reports but by self-development. We believe that is as it should be.
We look forward to having you and your child join us on this path of self-discovery and learning and we are confident that you won’t be disappointed.
Secondly, the child will not be assessed by age but rather by ability. Within each phase a student needs to complete 3 stages or modules. In our environment the student’s progress through each stage is based entirely on their individual abilities and mastery of the skills required. We don’t place strict timeframes on their progress. In other words, they are not forced to begin at the start of the year and end at the end of the year to pass. This will mean that some student’s may take 6 months to finish a module while others may need a year or more. This way a child isn’t made to feel like a failure because everyone is working at their own pace and ability.
At Alpha Study Centre we have chosen to use the International British syllabus as our vehicle to teach the fundamentals of each subject. We use many different resource providers to ensure we are always up to date with new developments and resources available. An syllabus is used to ensure that we consolidate the skills required in what we call the formative areas, in other words, English and Mathematics.
As most of you are aware, in South Africa students are required to study a second language in order to get a matric certificate. At Alpha our chosen second language is Afrikaans. While most of the learning at the junior phase will be conversational Afrikaans we will also be using a book series to ensure that some reading and writing is being developed.
Once a student has registered with us we will then assess them through a progressive written test to establish which of the skills sets for the Junior phase have already been established and which ones still require attention. This will allow us to offer a personally tailored programme that covers any gaps that may have occurred coming in from another system. It also allows us to monitor progress as each student will work at their own pace.
How will the typical day in the junior phase look? The day will begin at 8:30am and will finish at 1:00pm with two breaks. The day is divided between different learning areas and skills throughout the day. These learning areas include the formal or structured part of the day the students will work on English, Mathematics and Afrikaans and the ‘unstructured’ or ‘informal’ activities including Montessori principles, art, cooking, gardening, educational games, woodwork, sewing and going on educational outings to name a few.