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New spaces for little faces – the Maragon preschool

| March 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

By Belinda Espag

Maragon Private School has opened a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for preschoolers.

The advent of the new preschool called for a comprehensive update to the school’s curriculum and teaching methodologies. Our academic research and development faculty undertook extensive investigation, visiting the US and the UK to discover best practice methodologies and designs that we could incorporate into our unique teaching environment. The result is a facility allowing for extensive natural light, calming colour palettes and indoor/outdoor air flow. It invites children to explore, experience and flourish not only intellectually, but emotionally and socially as well, and incorporates conservation aspects such as water tanks to capture rainwater.

Catering for all developmental needs

Some highlights from a curricular perspective include:

  • a structured daily programme, which enhances the critical balance between child-initiated exploration and selfdiscovery and teacher-facilitated activities
  • exposing children to learning opportunities by employing various schools of pedagogical thought, such as Howard Gardner, Lev Vygotsky, Maria Montessori and Reggio Emilia, in combination with traditional ideas and the official national South African Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).1 This approach has allowed for the development of an integrated and emergent curriculum, where children become active participants in the learning process
  • a specific emphasis on sensorial teaching. The classroom and surrounding areas thus become part of a learning environment.

The classroom environment accommodates multiple learning areas where a variety of skills can be practised and acquired, including art and creative learning, manipulative play, language and literacy, numeracy, dramatic play and practical life. Our unique curriculum is further augmented by the provision of extended services in what we believe will enhance children’s developmental needs. These include age-appropriate classes presented by designated teachers in the Music Centre, the Discovery Centre (Science and Technology), the Computer Centre and the library.

More features Some highlights of the new preschool facilities include:

  • 2 700 square metres of facilities, set on a hectare of land
  • large, open and sunlit classrooms, which facilitate a seamless connection with the outside play area through the use of transitional areas
  • the use of interactive whiteboards in the specialised centres • a playground that addresses all of the fundamental learning and developmental requirements through its sensorial elements
  • an age-appropriate library aimed at enhancing the children’s love of reading. The library will also provide parents of preschoolers with valuable assistance in the quest for literacy development, as well as guidance in the complex arena of child development
  • a dedicated hall, used for educational shows and the aftercare facility
  • a kitchen area, used for baking lessons and smaller functions
  • a reception area with a first aid facility
  • educational support services for those children who require extra help.

The new preschool incorporates all of the tried and tested educational components that have made Maragon the success that it has been over the past 13 years, and provides the promise of an exciting future.

Category: Autumn 2013

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