Striving for Excellence
At Thembelihle, we strive to be excellent in all areas of education by:
Providing for the development of each child’s spiritual, academic, cultural, sporting and social skills.
Motivating each child to reach their full potential.
Achieving an academic standard of value.
Ensuring teaching principles are based on respect for human dignity, the achievement of equality, the advancement of human rights and unconditional acceptance.
Radiating a caring attitude toward all learners and focusing on the needs of the individual learner.
Striving toward the participation, support and full involvement of each family.
Comparisons with government schools (grade 4 and grade 7) shows we are exceeding their
performance in English and Mathematics, both pre-pandemic and during the COVID-19
In fact due to the individual attention afforded children during 2020, and a focus on the core components of the curriculum; communicative and numerical literacy, in 2020 our children outperformed previous academic years and achieved as well or better than the best government schools in South Africa. Thembelihle outperformed no fee government schools (where our children would otherwise be placed) by 25-30%.
The sad reality of the 2020 academic year is that learners at government primary schools completed only a quarter of the 2019 curriculum and children at no fee school’s learnt 50-75% less than normal. Experts predicted that this will affect the future learning success of most of South Africa’s children, who will only return to pre-pandemic learning outcomes by 2030.
At Thembelihle, we are proud that our learners will never be part of this “lost COVID-19 generation" of poorly educated children.
OUR 2020 DUX - KHANYA SHELEMBE
Our 2020 Dux, Khanya Shelembe spent 10 years at Thembelihle School where she developed into a wonderful young lady and an excellent scholar. This is evident from the results she achieved at the end of 2020. We are exceedingly excited that despite the significant challenge faced by all our grade 7 leavers due to reduced school time, she was awarded a 50% bursary to St. Annes Diocesan School for Girls, one of the most prestigious independent high schools in South Africa. The remainder of her tuition is being paid by her sponsor family in the USA who have sponsored her since she started at Thembelihle in grade RRR – what an incredible testimony to our sponsorship programme and the special relationships that develop between sponsors and children, even those separated by 8000 miles!
Our STEAM Approach to Teaching
VISION: STEAM (a focus on Science, Technology, English, Arts and Mathematics) is a tool to help nurture children that can authentically contribute towards a 21st century society where critical thinking and dynamic skill sets are used to solve real world problems.
MISSION: To grow a school where metacognition, creative and visionary critical thinking skills are nurtured through an integrated educational approach that uses hands-on learning and creative design activities to explore Science, Technology, English, Art and Maths as access points for guiding evidence-based reasoning and collaboration.
Thembelihle has re-organised the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS curriculum) into four focus themes: Life & Living, Power & Energy; Sustainability & Creative Solutions and Earth & Beyond. Each theme permeated into all class subjects, so learners could learn about particular concepts from all different angles. This encourages lateral and vertical thinking in the learners.
Life and Living Responsibly
Our 2019-2020 umbrella theme of Life (love, impact, faithfulness and excellence) evolved into a particularly powerful motivator throughout 2020 with the global pandemic that adversely challenged education worldwide.
Life and living allowed our educational platform to explore a metacognitive approach that provided educators and children with the opportunity to explore the importance of selfawareness and their belief systems. It helped learners answer questions such as, "Where do I fit into society?", "What is happening in my life that I can, or cannot, control?"
We felt that in 2020 it was vital that faith be brought forth into the lessons and our values of partnership, faith and prayer be explored in creative ways. Not only were the learners required to visualise and express what made them feel safe, but they were also tasked with constructing their own place of worship.
Science, Mathematics, Art, English and the engineering process were applied in this project. Maths skills such as measurement, angles and structures were incorporated in addition to learning new English vocabulary so that the children were able to express themselves confidently when presenting their place of worship.
A challenge was to only use recycled and natural materials, which brought our value of respect into fruition. They learned that by respecting nature and only using what is needed and by re-purposing items, we can help ensure the sustainability of our planet.
In addition, our STEAM approach incorporated the importance and relevance of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in terms of methods of coping with change and self-perception.
2020 and its challenges allowed us to embrace concepts related to evolving a sense of self that are rooted in collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking skills; the skills which enable learners to adapt to ever changing circumstances.
Spotlight on Science & Technology
With the purchasing of the new science room equipment, Thembelihle boasts the most resourced Primary School Science laboratory in our area.
Our modern design layout ensures that all children can actively participate in classroom discussions and group scientific experiments. Our specially designed science laboratory tables allow not only for group work to take place easily, but also allows groups to be split effortlessly with little classroom disruptions. Custom made science stools permit children freedom to move around to do experiments and to gather at the front workstation to view investigations and connect with the subject material. All models and biology replicas are constantly on display and can be viewed and investigated when needed.
In 2020, despite the pandemic, the learners were able to have a full experience of Natural Science and Technology because of the Science Department. The classroom layout and design allowed for adequate social distancing, yet, still gave the learners the opportunity to perform numerous experiments and investigations which were meaningful to their learning.
In the words of Nontokozo Zondi our Science teacher, “Although this ‘new normal’ brought about a lot of restrictions, it also offered some good. For example, the learners were separated into smaller classes and as a result I got to know and learn more about each individual personality - especially the learners who were called the the ‘naughty’ ones. This made teaching them Science and Technology more personalised and nurtured to their needs – which was super cool. I have three Grade 5 learners who would always come to me to inquire about exciting scientific facts they heard of or had seen. I also had learners who used to struggle with Science and Technology thank me for making it so practical for them. I was really happy that learners were taking an interest in Science as it is such an interesting and empowering subject.”
Spotlight on the Arts
Mohlatsi is one of the most talented learners in the school. When our Arts teacher, Bongiwe Dlamini, first met him, he was shy and not much of a talker. When she gave the class an assignment to design a poster in groups of three, she spotted Mohlatsi’s natural talent.
He is from a severely disadvantaged community where he was unable to attend formal schooling, but the bridging class held at our sister school, Angels Care, allowed him to integrate into the Thembelihle family. His determination and dedication in all his subjects shine through despite the many challenges, which he has experienced. Mohlatsi is proficient at skills such as shaping with pencil and charcoal mediums, which is advanced for a grade 6 learner. Instead of giving him less challenging work, Bongiwe gave him more advanced work so to keep him learning and growing his artistic talents. At the end of the year, he was able to easily approach her with the completed works, which he had created, and out of his own came forward to share the artwork, which he had applied in other subjects. She felt an overwhelming sense of pleasure working with such an amazing young artist, and watching and nurturing a child bloom from a place of insecurity to one of self-confidence and outstanding competence.