Exploring School Curriculums and Philosophies in South Africa

Choosing the right school for your child can be a daunting task. In South Africa, there are several well-established curriculums and educational philosophies to consider. This article breaks down some of the most common schooling systems in the country to help you make an informed decision.

  1. CAPS (Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement) CAPS is the official curriculum used in all South African public schools. It is an amendment to the original National Curriculum Statement (NCS) for Grades R-12, aiming to make it more accessible to teachers from diverse backgrounds. CAPS offers a comprehensive and concise curriculum for every subject in each grade within the traditional government school structure.
  2. Montessori Schools Montessori education, developed by Maria Montessori, focuses on a child’s natural, physical, psychological, and social development. Montessori schools promote independent learning and respect for each child’s unique abilities and interests. Classes are structured based on developmental age groups, not strictly age, and may extend from pre-primary to elementary levels.
  3. Waldorf Schools Conceptualized by Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf education distinguishes three broad stages of child development. It emphasizes artistic expression, social capacities, and creative and analytical understanding. Waldorf schools offer a predictable structure, mixed-age classrooms, and long-term relationships with teachers. The curriculum integrates intellectual, practical, and artistic creativity across all disciplines.
  4. Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) ACE schools use a curriculum designed to teach Christian children about life through the word of God. The curriculum is based on a series of workbooks called PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education), covering primary school subjects with a focus on creationism. While ACE schools are niche, the curriculum can also be taught at home.
  5. Homeschooling Homeschooling has grown in popularity in South Africa since 1990. Many primary school-level curriculums can be found online, and resources for parent teachers are widely available. Homeschooling allows parents to customize their child’s education, tailoring it to their pace and interests.

To determine the best fit for your child, consider visiting schools in your area that align with your preferred curriculum or educational philosophy. Take your child along to experience the different types of classrooms and learning environments. Thorough research and school visits will help you make an informed decision that best suits your child’s educational needs and preferences.