Our happy place: King David Rosabelle Klein Nursery School, Waverley

| September 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

BY CARON LEVY

My name is Caron Levy and I am currently principal of King David Rosabelle Klein Nursery School Waverley, in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Iqualified as a speech therapist and audiologist and worked as such, both in South Africa and in Australia. I lectured and supervised at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) within the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, and I was the clinic director for a number of years before taking up a post as principal of a community school for children with special education needs. While I was principal there, I qualified with an honours degree in education from Wits. In addition, my business qualification attained from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2002 has taught me the fundamental requirements of good management.

My appointment at King David Rosabelle Klein Nursery School Waverley (KD RKNS) has been an extraordinary career transition, enabling me to harness the unique and special potential within each of our children, who play happily and with much laughter on our playground. Being part of a greater organisation such as the South African Board of Jewish Education (SABJE) has afforded me and my staff – and, by osmosis, our children and parents – the opportunity of exploring realms beyond regular, safe educational methodologies into different approaches that are current, proven and accessible.

From past to present

KD RKNS was established 55 years ago, adjacent to the premises of the Northern Suburbs Hebrew Congregation in Waverley in Johannesburg, Gauteng. The school was established primarily for the children of the congregants of this synagogue. Over the years, the nursery school gained popularity as a school of excellence. However, as demographics changed and evolved within the community, and the community moved from the northern to the eastern suburbs, the children attending the school remained, but were not necessarily members of the synagogue.

In 2016, the SABJE absorbed the nursery school and we have been operating under its auspices since then. We are delighted with this transition, as under the SABJE we are able to access resources that previously were not available to us. This transition now means that we are one of the King David Schools, which is a significant benefit as we are now part of the larger KD system. Rosabelle Klein Hebrew Nursery School was previously known as Waverley Nursery School.

The name was changed when a young parent passed away suddenly and tragically, and it was decided to name the school in honour of her memory. Our name again recently changed with our absorption into the SABJE, and we are now happily known as King David Rosabelle Klein Nursery School Waverley.

A boutique-style school

KD RKNS offers a warm and nurturing environment to children from playschool through to and including Grade R. Not only do we offer an excellent educational environment, we also focus on play and social, emotional, physical and creative development. This boutique-style school provides individualised teaching that takes the specific needs of each child into consideration. The school has modern classrooms, each equipped with Wi- Fi. Our Grade Rs have interactive whiteboards to enhance the learning of numeracy and literacy.

The younger classes use iPads that project onto large screens, enabling teachers to incorporate additional learning methodologies. Besides the general school curriculum, we also offer a range of stimulating intramurals during the school morning.

Our aims are to:
• provide a safe, nurturing environment for children to wonder, discover and grow
• empower children by offering opportunities to make decisions and develop conflict resolution skills
• provide an environment whereby parents and teachers can work together in a synergistic partnership and communicate openly
• provide multidisciplinary experiences through literature, drama, puppet shows, art and crafts, and other activities that focus on the development of fine and gross motor skills
• prepare our school leavers (Grade R) with an enriched experience in numeracy, literacy, Hebrew and language skills
• incorporate solid Jewish values and principles, as is fitting in a Jewish school environment.

A great capacity to express compassion

By virtue of our location on the premises of a synagogue, the majority of our students come from a Jewish background. We are committed to the communities that surround our school and we are often involved in community events around our school and the suburb.

At KD RKNS, we pride ourselves on our capacity to feel compassion and empathy, and our weekly collections and charitable initiatives are evidence of our characteristic trait of generosity. While we contribute to our own communities within our boundaries, we are very well placed geographically to extend this charity and other initiatives to communities on our doorstep that are in need.

“Purpose Statements” guide teachers and students

The majority of our students adhere to the principles of Orthodox Judaism. We have a range of teachers and therapists from different backgrounds teaching at KD RKNS. As part of the SABJE and King David Schools, we are now guided in practice by seven dynamic “Purpose Statements”, each addressing a specific area of school life

Our purpose: We strive to nurture graduates who are menschen (good people), confident and equipped to pursue any opportunity they wish to, who are proud of their Jewish heritage and its traditions, who have a love for learning, and a determination to contribute to their society.

Our teachers: We strive to employ teachers who are excellent, motivated and who care for, and who are committed to the best interests of each and every student and the core purpose and values of the school system.

Our curriculum: We are committed to meeting the needs of the national curriculum using educational programmes that comply with the best international standards. We will provide a Jewish education that is relevant and compelling. We will attempt to anticipate the needs of our students over and above the expected curriculum and develop programmes towards meeting those that will promote the optimum health and wellness of students.

Our infrastructure: We are committed to creating an appealing and safe environment wherein there is an appropriate emphasis on those resources that facilitate and promote the holistic educational needs of our students.

Culture and milieu: Our school should be a cultural environment that creates a love for our Jewish heritage, its traditions and the land of Israel and one that creates loyal support of South Africa, and an appreciation of its diversity.

A community school: We are a community day school and we strive to accept every Jewish child, provided that in the process we can deliver on our vision for our students.

Orthodox Judaism: We are an Orthodox Jewish day school that embodies Orthodoxy as a standard, but that is tolerant of different levels of observance and affiliation.

Living a legacy

We are a uniquely Jewish preschool, open to all. Our distinctly specific traditions, heritage and culture offer a window into our world and the children in our care, and the children respond magnificently to these, specifically those of a spiritual nature.The legacy of the Jewish people is one fraught with sadness, yet replete with joy and happiness, and it is this milieu and ethos with which we surround ourselves in the classroom and on the playground.

In addition to secular learning of the highest degree, children at KD RKNS also learn about Jewish festivals, participate in Hebrew lessons and learn about the State of Israel, which is the homeland of the Jewish people. The children develop a deep connection to their roots and to their religion. Our parent body is an involved one, whose generosity is well known and who are eager to extend themselves in the art of giving, both to community and outreach projects.

Welcoming new students to Waverley

Attracting new students is always a challenge. We ensure that our school is up to date with the latest educational trends, facilities, technology and teaching practices, so that our educational offering is of the highest standard. Being part of the SABJE has also assisted in attracting new students. We are a community school, which means that many of our children receive financial support from the SABJE to attend our school. This puts financial constraints on our school as we have to maintain the balance between providing top facilities, teachers and education, whilst at the same time assisting families financially so they can benefit from a top Jewish preschool foundation. As principal of KD RKNS, I see my tasks as multidimensional.

Maintaining viable student numbers and attracting additional families will do much to preserve the credibility and positive reputation that the school has worked hard to attain. In addition, attracting and maintaining staff excellence is indeed part of the answer to the conundrum that defines a school of excellence. Providing holistic and individualised attention and instruction to each learner is key to creating well-adjusted, competent and decent human beings who are a credit to their religion, school and country.

ISASA a valuable resource

Joining ISASA helped us align ourselves with the way most successful independent schools operate. Being a member allows us access to the latest trends in education and school governance. As a new member, I look forward to benefiting in the near future from the various workshops and conferences held by ISASA, within the various committees and subject cluster groups.

ISASA will also be a valuable resource when we need to recruit top-quality academic staff. We also look forward to enjoying the benefits of having our school’s events promoted on ISASA’s media platforms.

Independent school status allows for a special environment

Being an independent school, we are able to offer a school environment that is motivating, supportive and nurturing to the community. The abundance of quality resources and extracurricular activities enable us to provide students with the opportunity to fully explore their interests and talents and to make certain that our graduates remain true to themselves, to their commitments, to their communities and to their country.

 

 

 

Category: Spring 2017

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