~ Ken Robinson
As two moms, we became disillusioned with the traditional education system that our children were a part of. Our incredible children were becoming anxious, self critical and losing confidence. It felt that – even at the pre Primary level – the pressure to achieve was disproportionate and that our children were being pushed to conform to one way of being. We felt compelled to follow a philosophy of education that we fundamentally did not agree with and that did not align with our values nor our parenting styles.
Instead of continuing to be disatisfied and with very limited progressive schooling options in the Cape Town City Bowl, we decided to do something about it. In January 2016, we started exploring the possibliities of opening our own school. During the course of the year, we grew in our knowledge and understanding of what kind of educational philosophy we would like to offer our children and others who are simllar. We attended conferences, engaged educators, professors, and other schools. We did extensive research into international trends in education and the most contemporary and progressive ways of schooling occuring around the world. We learned about what it would take to open up a school and have received abundant support and encouragement along the way.
We came to strongly believe that the risk of keeping our children in the traditional education system far outweighed the risk of starting our own school. And so Maara House opened its doors in January 2017 for Grades 1-3. In 2018, we added a class for Grade R and in 2019/20, we will be Grade R-Grade 4. Each year, we grow up a Grade to become a full Primary school offering up to Grade 6/7. Our hope is that during their time at Maara House, children will deepen their love of learning, develop a thoughtful awareness of themselves and others, and have the confidence to pursue their passions.
In 2020, Lauren and her family moved to the Eastern Cape to pursue their dream of living on a farm and explore unschooling with their child. Taryn continues to be a guardian of the Maara House ethos and to manage the school.
Taryn and Lauren
Maara means conscious and aware in Igbo. It’s a word that gets to the heart of our approach.
Listen to each other
Care for ourselves and each other
Be patient with ourselves and each other
We help each other
We are all different and that is ok
We work together
The 3 way partnership – child, adult and environment
Taking responsibility for myself and my things
Mistakes are allowed – own up so we can make a plan and learn from it
What was my contribution?
Speak up when unhappy
Ask for help
Always wanting to be interested and to learn
Consider other views / ways of seeing things (what am I not seeing? How could I see this differently)
Be thankful for what we have
Look for opportunities to appreciate at all times