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Brightly coloured walls and even brighter smiles greet any visitor entering the Grade 1 class at Mokopane Destiny Academy (MDA). Under the watchful eye of their teacher Heather van Wyk, the little ones sing out a chorus greeting.
“These little ones have a way of burrowing into your heart and I love watching them develop yet retain their sense of wonder,” says Van Wyk. “I believe that children need a happy, safe environment where they are free to express themselves in a constructive manner.”
MDA opened its new school building in May this year, increasing its capacity to grow three-fold. “My main concern,” says MDA co-director Minda Marshall, “is how do we prepare our children for a future that is changing at an almost unreasonable pace?”
“We are on the brink of a technological revolution that will change the way we work and is already changing the way we relate to each other,” she says. “At MDA, we believe that we cannot continue to use the same teaching methods or interact with information in the same way we used to 20 years ago.”
Speaking to parents, it becomes apparent that the teaching approach is different at this school, which caters for Grade 1 to 12. A Grade R class will be added next year as part of the school’s continued expansion.
One parent shares how her son is allowed to move around the class without being labelled as hyperactive while answering the teacher’s mathematical questions – with 100% accuracy. Another parent speaks about the confidence her shy child has gained.
“It’s only been a few weeks, but I can already see positive changes in my son, Herman (7),” says Arnelda Meyer, whose young son was enrolled in Mokopane Destiny Academy in September. “I really love how there is accountability for every step of the way and an open communication channel between us and the teacher.”
Patrick and Shirley Rachidi’s son Khomotjo (8) is in Grade 1 this year. “Every afternoon he comes home excited about what he has learnt, his friends and especially his teacher, Mrs Van Wyk,” says Shirley.
Patrick adds that MDA is taking a different approach with individual attention in smaller classes - the teachers really know each child well. “MDA insists on parent involvement, I believe that Khomotjo sees us taking an interest and responsibility in his schooling and this allows us to lead by example.”
Another mother comments: “I love the stability of the school. The teachers have the same values and rules as we do at home,” she says. “My children are safe here, both emotionally and physically.”
She is particularly impressed by the fact that the school picked up a potential learning problem relating to scotopic sensitivity in one of her children. “A specialist was invited to the school and a pair of specialised tinted glasses has sorted the issue out before it could impact the child’s schooling.”
Founded in 2006, MDA is situated at the Resource, Equipping and Training (RET) Centre on the corner of Geyser and Fourie Streets in Mokopane. The school has ten qualified teachers as well as several teacher assistants that offer education for Grade 1-12, along with additional programs to improve reading and comprehension (Lab-on-Line) and mathematics.
For information or to make an appointment to visit the school, please contact MDA during school hours at 015 491 2049 or email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jannie and Arnelda Meyer with Herman (7). “I love the smaller classes and individual attention that Herman is enjoying, he is really happy here,” says Jannie.