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Its been a long holiday and finally the big day has arrived! Across the Western Cape learners returned to school and many are now enjoying their first day!

For my daughter it was a momentous occasion. Looking adorable in her uniform, dress hanging way below the knees I have never seen anything so cute! Having finished Gr.1 at a Montessori environment last year and in fact having always been in that environment, we finally took a leap of faith to mainstream! I have always been a great fan of the Montessori system and it has done my daughter the world of good! The way they are allowed to decide what to learn and the mixed age group of her last class ( Gr.1, 2 and 3) has allowed her to develop to a point where she is the one reading me the bedtime stories, not bad for a 7 year old.However there comes a time when you really need to take a look at your child’s needs and how they are developing in order to decide what type of school system is going to work for them. The options vary from Public to Private, from Montessori to Waldorf, so knowing what the school offers is of the utmost importance!

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With my daughter, although she progressed rapidly academically speaking, she is fiercely independent, social and loves sport and while her acedmic and independence needs were being met with Montessori, the rest of her her needs were just not being met by the 18 children in her class and lack of sport… it was time to move on!

The point I am trying to make here is that different schools and learning systems suit different children. Some children like my daughter need the discipline, large numbers of children and sport to thrive, whilst others may well prefer the small social circle and artistic and creative approach. So when you see that a school isn’t working for your child, ask yourself why, from your child’s perspective, what needs are not being met? If you find the answer to be the style of teaching or the classroom set up or the activities offered, look around for a school that will suit your child’s needs a bit more. Each child is an individual and not all systems work will work for your child. So take your time, make an informed decision and reap the benefits!I wish all the new and old learners the best for 2009!

PS. If you are looking for information on the different schools and teaching styles available in SA take a look at these websites:

http://www.isasa.org/

http://www.privateschooling.co.za/

http://www.saprivateschools.co.za/

http://www.southafrica.info/services/education/edufacts.htm

http://www.schoolguide.co.za/

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