Arrows poised to make their mark: meet Archers College

| November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

BY CHARENE SOARES

After completing Grade 12, I decided Iwould start my own small business by forming an early childhood development (ECD) centre, while studying for a tertiary qualification.

Istarted a playschool in Roodepoort, Gauteng, at the beginning of 2007, with two children. At the end of that
year, six children were enrolled and I made use of a built-on room at my family home. The business was named Little
Arrows Playgroup. The growth and interest within the community was tremendous. I realised that the children would soon be looking for a good primary school, and immediately my thinking was geared to putting such plans in motion to provide this for the children. I enrolled at the University of South Africa (Unisa) to get qualified and start the primary school. Even though our little school was not yet a member, we followed ISASA’s guidelines to help us establish a new independent school. Consent use for “Place of Instruction” was approved by the City of Johannesburg, with the necessary certificates.1 We received our Education Management Information System (EMIS) number from the Department of Basic Education 2 and, in 2010, we started the primary school. Including our      pre-primary children, we had a total of 30 children enrolled, and we changed our name to Archers College.

Word of mouth works

Archers College is happy to have grown in numbers substantially over the years and is currently “bursting at the
seams”. We have never had the need to advertise; rather, we have been able to attract new members to our family through the word of mouth of satisfied parents. I am still head of the school, and I own the school together with my mother. Our school is special because it provides smaller class sizes (only 15-18 learners per class), thus enabling staff to give individual attention to each child. This allows us to employ quality staff to deliver education. At Archers College, we always strive to grow and “be better than yesterday”. At the same time, we keep our original goals foremost in mind – being to provide quality education whilst working along with the children individually to help them reach their full potential. Archers College is known for the extra care and love we have for each child.

Movement motivates

In always striving to improve and better the quality of education and care we provide, our staff often attend a variety of workshops and courses. At a recent workshop of interest, we learnt a lot about combining movement and learning, for children to achieve optimal results in their concentration levels and for them to retain more of what they learn. If you step into our classrooms at any time, you will most likely find some learners sitting on large exercise balls, others keeping their hands busy with sensory toys, or the whole class engaging in a “brain break” – by either doing something active or something calming. For example, when coming in after break time, we engage in
breathing and stretching exercises to bring a sense of calm before starting the next lesson. In between lessons or when introducing a new section of work, the teacher gets the children interactive SMART Board.3 As well as adding a lot of movement to our daily programme across all grades, we focus on learning through play and ensuring that children engage their five senses when learning. This ensures that lessons appeal to all learners – visual, auditory
and kinaesthetic. Starting in our pre-preparatory phase, we have a period set aside every day for tactile play. Tables filled with interesting objects of different textures are set out on the playground – so right from an early age, children are always engaged in play. It has been proved to us that they take in a lot more when learning this way. What about our junior and senior phases, you may ask? You may find them doing an interactive lesson on the SMART Board, or engaging in a noun treasure hunt, or slicing up play dough into parts when learning about fractions.

Making room for more

We have recently acquired a new, larger property to accommodate our growing numbers. We are well on our way to
finalising all the legal requirements and doing the required renovations, and then we will be able to move into our new home. One of our biggest challenges for many years has been to find the perfect property to match our growing needs and requirements as a school with limited resources. We have now successfully and happily met this challenge. Another big challenge is acquiring top-quality teaching staff at competitive salaries, because of our much smaller class sizes and lower fee structure in comparison to other schools in our community.

However, we continue to strive to offer our educators the best, while staying true to our original vision and goals. We have a dynamic team of educators who don’t view teaching as just a job, but have a heartfelt passion for what they do, always going the extra mile for their learners and the school.

Young archers have their arrows poised for the future

When we started Archers College, it was our dream to become a member of ISASA. Two years after the launch of the college, we attempted to join the organisation, but discovered that we still had a few things on which to improve. Rather than allowing this setback to dishearten us, we worked hard to improve. Happily, and proudly, we are now a member of ISASA. It has been amazing so far. The weekly bulletins we resources now available to us are of tremendous assistance, ISASA’s support has been phenomenal, and we look forward to enjoying the many more benefits ISASA offers its member schools.

We will always strive to educate our learners as leaders of tomorrow, with passion and heart. Together with the parents, we are on a journey to provide their children with the very best education experience.

References:
1. See: https://joburg.org.za/images/stories/2016/July/PDF/
The%20City%20of%20JHB%20Municipal%20Planning%20By-law2.pdf
2. See: https://www.education.gov.za/Programmes/EMIS.aspx
3. See, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0uiA6UITDw

Category: Summer 2017

About the Author ()

News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *