Reddam House Ballito Meets Demand by Building Worldclass Early Learning School

On 30 March 2021, Reddam House Ballito, on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, celebrated the breaking of ground for their brand-new early learning school (ELS), which is scheduled for completion by November 2021.

Reddam House Ballito first opened its doors in 2019 for children from age one to Grade 9, and has steadily been carving a niche for itself in the Ballito community through Inspired Education’s internationally renowned curriculum, which integrates innovative excellence in academics, performing arts and sport. The school is now expanding its capacity to accommodate young learners.

Ravi Nadasen, CEO of Inspired Education South Africa, comments:

Reddam House Ballito’s popularity has grown exponentially, and the expansion of the ELS is a direct response to demand in the area. We are grateful for the support of the Ballito community, which has enabled us to embark on this expansion.

Innovation and excellence all round

The new R40-million world-class ELS will have capacity for 265 children, with 12 classrooms that will accommodate 18 children per class in the younger stages, increasing to 25 in stage five. The design of the facility allows for the future extension of four more classrooms. The new building will also feature a dedicated entrance with gatehouse and parking, piazza, administration offices, staff room, a hall for hosting drama, dance and other school events, a multipurpose facility that will incorporate the dining room, a multi-use atelier space, and playgrounds.

The opening of the new ELS will free up space in the adjacent existing building for expansion of the Preparatory School to accommodate the increased number of children who will grow with the Reddam House Ballito family from the ELS stage.

The ELS will follow the Inspired Education early learning programme, which draws inspiration from the Reggio Emilia discovery-based approach to early learning. This curriculum values the child as capable and resilient, rich with wonder and knowledge, and encourages children to develop to their full cognitive, emotional, social and physical potential. It embraces the child holistically and enables them to understand their world and who they are in it.

Catherine Raw, Reddam House Ballito’s head, who has an impressive résumé of qualifications and local and international awards in the educational environment, is extremely proud of the strides the school has made in two years. Commenting on the commitment to learning demonstrated by the staff, students and wider school community, Raw said:

Our staff are the foundation of our successful early learning programme, and they reflect the participatory concept presented by educationist and author, Neville Scarfe, who said that ‘the highest form of research is essentially play.’ Our teachers are skilled observers who determine individual needs and build on existing gifts and talents. The Reddam House learning environment is made to feel safe, welcoming and authentic.

Physical layout all important

The layout of the physical space at Reddam House has been designed to encourage choices, problem-solving and exploration. Ball skills, music, art and bicycling are integrated into the school day, and at Stage 5 dance is introduced. ‘We look forward to being able to expose many more children to this successful approach during the vital foundation phase of their learning journey,’ says Raw.

Sheena Crawford-Kempster, director of education for Inspired Education South Africa, adds that the ELS at Reddam House Ballito provides a refreshing, balanced and giving approach in pre-school; one that doesn’t add undue pressure and encourages a sense of belonging and innate confidence in children. ‘We believe that early exposure to international educational best practices in a nurturing, purpose-built, child-centred learning environment with a family-centred atmosphere prepares children for productive, creative, and caring adulthood.’

Reddam House Ballito features modern facilities that include an Olympic-sized water polo pool and a 500-seat theatre. The school presents a future-focused curriculum that includes art, music, dance and drama. The technology programme focuses on coding to provide students with both the creative skills and mindset needed to succeed, lead, problem-solve and innovate in a fast-paced 21st century economy.