By Erik Immelman
Midrand Afrikaanse Akademie (MAA) was formed by three Afrikaans Protestant churches in Midrand in Gauteng: the Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk Midrand, the Hervormde Gemeente Midrand and the Gereformeerde Kerk Midrand.
These churches experienced a loss of congregants, due to an absence of Afrikaans schools in Midrand and the subsequent move of many Afrikaans people out of the area.
MAA started in 2013 with two children, and currently has 29 children enrolled. We are a “one-stop shop” and take in babies to Grade 6 learners. Our objective is to grow our school gradually until we have established a matric class.
Connecting and protecting
Midrand is a modern community; typically, many people feel isolated. The school endeavours to connect people and create a sense of belonging through the churches and related social events. This helps families – many of them single parents, who have moved to Midrand – to settle in and build a support system. One of our ministers, Paula Eksteen, is not only a teacher at the school but is also head of the pre-primary and primary school. We offer a comprehensive service as we are open from 06:30 until 18:00, from January to mid-December. We also host holiday programmes for any interested parties.
Our vision is to grow our student cohort to about 1 000 children, ranging from four months of age to matric. We realize the importance of a school that functions as a family, where every family member counts. We are looking to expand our facilities for future growth.
Grateful thanks to ISASA and others
As a provisional ISASA member, our board is grateful specifically to ISASA regional director Theo Buccoli, who has proved invaluable in assisting us to find our feet. We remain indebted to Dave Bell, the principal of our neighbouring school, Christ Church Preparatory School and College, and his staff, for their unwavering assistance in terms of mentoring and assistance with sporting and other extramural activities. We realise the importance of interacting and building relationships with other schools, including public schools, in Midrand.
The following principles underpin our approach:
1. The Word of God is our foundation.
2. Home language classroom instruction is vital. However, we take in children whose home language is not Afrikaans. We realise the importance of English in South Africa, and therefore equip our learners with the language skills to function optimally in a global environment.
3. Our staff members, who seek to be on the cutting edge of education, are our greatest asset.
4. Our school fees are all-inclusive. We do not want children to be left out because they cannot afford extra activities.
5. We have a holistic approach:
5.1 Healthy food must be provided to our students.
5.2 Emotional development is just as important as academic development. We have a play therapist who comes to our school when assistance is needed. The emotional well-being of families is also very important to us, and we have councillors and pastors to make this possible.
5.3 We are in the process of developing a music programme for the primary school.
5.4 We encourage our children to invest in the planet and to be custodians of God’s universe. Recycling is common practice.
5.5 We encourage children to be socially responsible. They get positive marks for helping out in the community, whether it be with people or the environment. We also participate as a school in
community events such as Mandela Day.1
5.6 We emphasise creativity and encourage children to learn through play, especially in the pre-primary school.
5.7 Children have to participate in at least one sport, one cultural activity and one art activity every term.
1. See, for example: http://www.mandeladay.com/.
Category: Winter 2016