Looking into Drakensberg Primary’s innovative teaching methods

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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

As a beloved government school in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Drakensberg Primary School explains how they have evolved local education through a modern, tried and tested approach to playing.

Firstly, where does your child’s schooling career begin at Drakensberg Primary?

A learner’s journey begins at Drakies Pre-Primary School, a part of the Drakies family since 1996 and serves as the cornerstone in our pupils’ academic careers.

What distinguishes Drakies Pre-Primary’s style of learning from the rest?

Teachers inspire a worksheet-free learning environment. Our team of dedicated educators employs innovative methods and creative ideas.

While this may appear odd, there is a method to the madness.

Children learn through play, and it is during this stage of their lives (2-6 years old), they must experience concepts through their senses. This aids in the consolidation of learning and makes abstract concepts such as math and sounds more natural to them.

They will better understand the concepts they experienced while playing if they see it on paper and then copy, write, or even read it (learning concretely).

Interesting fact: Children don’t only use 3 fingers to write a letter, word or a sentence.

Before they can begin writing, they must first develop a strong core (abdominal and back muscles). This allows them to sit upright in a chair and avoids slouching.

They must also have reasonable control over their shoulder, upper arm, elbow, and wrist muscles. Not to mention the small muscles in their hand. Writing will be difficult for any child if all of these components are not in place.

These are just a few of the reasons why we believe in learning through play. All of these muscles required for learning are strengthened as children climb, roll, hop, skip, and jump.

Here are just a few of the ways the school is growing and strengthening our rambunctious little Drakies.

Playing helps children learn and understand concepts and emotions. It’s a natural process for them to learn while playing.

While it may appear that nothing is happening, playing helps children’s brains develop and allows them to use all of their senses – hear, see, taste, touch, and smell.

Play also allows children to move around, which helps them develop their motor skills. A simple game like “peek-a-boo,” for example, helps children develop object permanence (Cognitive Development), especially in their early childhood.

This means that the child will understand that the object will continue to exist even if they are unable to see it. It can also be said that “peek-a-boo” aids motor development, such as when they stretch out their arms when they laugh and get excited.

It is worth noting that parents can use numerous simple games to help their children develop their cognitive, social, speech, fine motor skills, and basic motor skills.

When parents participate in their children’s play, it is enjoyable, educational, and fosters stronger relationships.

Here are five suggestions for how to make the most of your child’s playtime:

1. Cognitive advancement. This is the ability of the child to learn and solve problems. Because they are naturally inquisitive, it is beneficial to provide them with games in which they can pretend to be detectives.

2. Social and emotional growth. This refers to the child’s ability to play with others, help themselves, and maintain self-control. Children find it difficult to express their feelings and emotions. Emotions are highly subjective and difficult to articulate. Try to elicit information from the child about his or her mood and feelings.

3. Development of Speech and Language. This refers to the child’s ability to comprehend and apply language. Speech development is a good predictor of future reading performance.

“If a child does not hear a word, that child will not say a word,” read specialists say.

This means that reading will be even more difficult or impossible if a child is unable or unwilling to say the words. 

Playing games with household objects is a simple way to practise languages. It may appear to be a game, but it is an excellent way to teach your child how to use words in conjunction with their speech.

4. Fine motor skills. These are the abilities of the child to use small muscles. An example would be their hands and fingers picking up small objects, holding a spoon, turning pages in a book, or wrapping their fingers around a crayon to draw with. 

This is where the child’s motor skills and cognitive skills are put to use (remember, cognitive skills are their abilities to solve problems).

5. Fundamental motor skills. These are the child’s abilities to use larger muscles, such as sitting up straight and pulling and pushing. During this stage, the child develops through movement and problem-solving. Balance is an excellent place to start when learning basic motor skills. 

Basic motor skills can be successfully developed by using a balancing bar or walking in a straight line. You can play an endless number of games with your child to help them develop their basic motor skills.

How does this medium of teaching benefit your child’s mind?

Cognitive advantages

Play promotes children’s healthy development and critical thinking skills, which strengthens memory and helps them understand the relationship between cause and effect. 

The opportunity to play encourages children to explore the game’s various possibilities, choose between them, and foster curiosity to try other options if the first does not turn out as expected.

These abilities serve as the foundation for intellectual development and the cognitive process. Play also inspires children to act, create, and imagine. They learn to think conceptually and to communicate their ideas.

In a world of couch potatoes, Drakies ensures jumping beans!

Running, jumping, building sandcastles, climbing trees, swimming in a pool, and other activities that require much movement are common in children’s games.

Motor skill development is critical for all of these things and critical for intellectual learning.

The physical activity of the games increases the children’s resistance, flexibility, and awareness of their own body—in addition to balancing and learning the spatial relationships of the world.

All of these advantages aid in the development of concentration and memory. Another significant advantage is that physical activity helps to channel stress and frustration positively.

The Drakies way has significant social advantages for your child.

Social development is essential for learning because it allows children to communicate with other children and adults. Your children will gain an understanding of social expectations and norms in the social sphere by playing games with other children.

These interactions provide opportunities to share thoughts and ideas, improve verbal expression, teach them to listen to others, and improve their understanding and the meaning of engaging with other people rather than promising something and deciding whether or not to keep it.

How does this form of education offer emotional advantages?

Through play, children express their emotions and learn new concepts. When children play, they frequently lose for various reasons, resulting in feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment, and so on.

These negative feelings help them develop their identity and self-esteem and help them build their self-confidence. For all of these reasons, the importance it deserves for our children’s recreational activities must be recognised. 

Physically active games with other children will help our children improve their personal and academic performance.

A must note, from Drakies:

“Drakensberg Primary is a school where love guides our every move. We still have strong Christian morals and teach learners to DRESS themselves with the Drakies values, just like they put on the armour of God every day.”

These are the values:

  • Discipline
  • Respek
  • Excellence
  • Selfbeheersing
  • Service

These values make our students not only great Drakies but also excellent South Africans and well-rounded individuals.

With the above in mind and their proven track record—it is clear that Drakensberg Primary School has found the secret to balancing excellent education with playtime. 

Find out more about Drakensberg Primary School by clicking here.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This post and content is sponsored and provided by Drakensberg Primary School

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