~ Nelson Mandela
Maara House is intentionally small, and there is a strong sense of community for the children, parents and staff. This sense of community is carefully nurtured as the school promotes shared values and practices, and engages adults and children in the joys and responsibilities of learning and real citizenship.
Maara House is a community of learners where parents continue to explore and strive to understand the school’s dynamic teaching methodologies. Parent education is key component of building this collaborative and inclusive community and an important part of growing a whole child. At Maara House, each family attends at least four parent education evenings over the year when they enter school. These evenings explore the school’s mission, vision, values and educational philosophy and help to create a common language that is used in the classroom by both teachers and parents.
The tools and information are useful when parenting at home, helping to keep continuity between what happens in the classroom and what happens outside of school.
An effort is also made to inform parents about parent education opportunities in the broader Cape Town community.
We believe in teaching our children that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the ability to help someone else. Children learn to initiate positive social change through their contributions to the common good of not only their school, but also the world.
Maara House is in the process of cultivating a relationship with a sister school where we aim to provide Principal and Teacher support, share Reggio principles, and allow the children to form relationships with less privileged children. We hope to sponsor a Family Movie Night, participate in sports get togethers and will continue to explore ways to bring our communities together. We aim to develop in our children, awareness, compassion and deeper connections to the community around them and the world and to inspire them to make a difference.
This term, our children will be involved in litter tidy ups and a soup kitchen as well as interacting and connecting with the Cape Malay community.
Eating together daily contributes greatly to the school’s sense of community. Snacks and lunch are provided by the parents on a rotational basis. The philosophy of the food program promotes healthy eating, nutrition education, and the community of adults and children eating the same food together “family style” in the classroom.
To function in a community with shared values, children must develop strong emotional and social skills. During snack and meal times, teachers actively model the skills and behaviors that allow for respectful and successful relationships, such as active listening, reading social cues, respecting others’ ideas, and resolving conflicts. The aim is for children eventually to develop independence in managing their relationships, so whenever possible the adults work to facilitate the children’ coming up with their own solutions to issues, rather than solving them for them or enforcing external rules or consequences.
ClassDojo is an app that connects teachers with children and parents to build amazing classroom communities. It is a wonderful tool that supports our documentation process. Our parents, teachers and children use the Class Dojo app on a daily basis.
We are deeply grateful for the support of fellow progressive schools and of the Africa Reggio Emilia Alliance.