What does Grade-R look like at SPARK Schools?

Have you ever wondered what Grade R looks like at SPARK Schools?

This article takes a look at what Grade R offers at SPARK Schools.

In Grade R learners get introduced to fundamental skills to prepare them for Grade 1.

Introduction to literacy and numeracy 

A child has to be introduced to skills such as literacy and numeracy at an early age. This is crucial to their development as it lays a strong academic foundation for the future.

Numeracy Chair at the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Hamsa Venkatakrishnan, believes that children should learn fundamental maths skills before they even start school.

“In other countries by the time children start reception (pre-school) they already know how to count to at least 20,” says Professor Venkatakrishnan. This is not the same for South African children. 

Some of the skills that Grade R learners are taught at SPARK Schools include number formation, letter formation, the difference between alphabetical and phonetic knowledge, reading, writing, spelling, counting, adding and subtracting. 

“They solve problems and are exposed to literature which increases their vocabulary and interests. Even when they colour, it comes with certain skills such as colouring the sun yellow and grass green since they are taught about relevant concepts,” explains SPARK Rosslyn Hub Literacy teacher Siphesihle Sithole. 

Easy transition from pre-primary to primary schools 

The transition from nursery school to primary school is daunting for children. The unfamiliarity of the environment and routine can cause anxiety and frustration. By enrolling a child for Grade-R, this ensures a smooth transition, as they become familiar with the school environment and the routine. Sithole elaborates on how SPARK Schools makes this transition seamless for Grade R.  

“They get to understand that there is a set time for everything, and they should work towards a goal at a particular time. The social interactions that they have to expose them to diversity and solidifies respect and acceptance towards others,” she says. 

Additionally speaking and listening are integrated skills in the curriculum, which helps to build children’s confidence and encourages them to have a voice. 

“It also helps them to show humility and care as they listen to differing opinions from their peers. Also, they get to learn teamwork as other activities are group-centred and require them to cooperate. Their emotional intelligence advances as they learn the importance of empathy and communication,” she says. 

Becoming tech-savvy to prepare  for jobs of the future 

Technology plays a big part in our lives and makes learning fun. From Grade R, SPARK, Scholars get to learn online through programs such as ST Math and Reading eggs. These programs make learning fun and engaging for scholars. 

SPARK Schools Regional manager Nkazimulo Zitha says SPARK Schools strikes a balance between learning and play. 

“SPARK Schools does academic tracking on each Grade R scholar. Our scholars write assessments; we track that data to get them ready for the next  phase, which is Grade 1.” 

Social-Emotional Learning

While academic progress is essential to a child’s success, Social-Emotional Skills plays a vital role as it is integrated into the curriculum to help learners better manage their emotions. 

Grade R scholars also learn Social-Emotional Skills which helps them to develop self-awareness, accountability for their actions and empathy for others.

SPARK Schools Regional Manager Nkazimulo Zitha says SPARK scholars also learn our CORE values, which are Service, Persistence, Achievement, Responsibility and Kindness. 

Grade R is not only crucial for a child’s social and emotional development, but it also lays a strong academic foundation. 

Research conducted by the  Learning Policy Institute found that learners who attend high-quality preschool programs experience significant learning gains than children who didn’t attend.  To apply for your child in 2021, click here.

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