School that gives no homework
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Cape Town - Grassroots Preparatory has caught the attention of locals and educators alike, being one of the few schools in the Western Cape to have a no-homework policy.
Founded by Dr Rebecca Felix and her brother, David Martin, the Independent school is based on a Finnish-approach curriculum.
“When my brother and I started the school and were in the research phases, we looked at various educational curricula across the world and the one that stood out is the Finnish approach.”
Finland’s education system is world-renowned for being one of the best. The co-founders travelled to Finland to observe the schooling systems.
“One of the things that stand out in Finnish schools is that they don’t have any homework – at best, children are given minimal homework.”
Felix said that South Africanss often overload children with work from such a young age, causing them to crack.
“Playing is an essential part of brain development for a child. Children learn from playing. We encourage our children to play, enjoy sports and attend extramural activities. Children must be children.”
Boudine Benn, an educator at the school, said that children who live a well-rounded life excel at school.
“Parents, especially, love this policy, because it’s practical; they have to work full time, they don’t have to help the kids with extra school work.”
She highlighted the importance of interactive teaching and said that having two different styles of teaching from different people at different skills levels could possibly causes confusion.
The aim of this method of schooling is for children to enjoy a well-rounded life, having schooling in the morning, but enjoying childlike activities in the afternoon.
“Education is an aspect of our lives, just like family time is an aspect of our lives, just like exercise time is an aspect.”
Eight-year-old Giorgia Fisher, a Grade 1 pupil at Grassroots Preparatory, was more than eager to share how she spends her afternoons: “When I get home, I play soccer with my daddy.”
Based on academic results and positive feedback from parents, the children at Grassroots Preparatory are thriving. The learners visibly love being at the school and hardly want to go home.
Akifah Blakeley, mother of a Grade 3 learner at the school, finds the no-homework policy works well for her daughter.
“My daughter is extremely happy at the school, the no-homework policy is very beneficial for my child. School is hard, children are forced to wear uniforms, come home tired and have to use brain power. It’s not productive. My child has the opportunity to be a child after school and play.”
Cheerful pupils at the school: Miguel Thomas, Grade 2, and Enoch Steyn, Grade 3, both agreed that they fully enjoy their school days and their afternoons with family, adding that other kids are missing out.