It’s tempting to use this editorial to cover the surreal and unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19 and its impact on the world, and more closer to home, our school. But a disclaimer… I am choosing instead to focus on the good old days instead.
The anticipation of the start of Term 1 at The Ridge was palpable when the staff returned after a long and wonderful December holiday. The previous year’s centenary celebrations were now a thing of the past and the staff were eager to start the first of the next 100 years at The Ridge!
I love the start of a school year and all the new things that brings with it: The excitement of my own two boys’ new classes and new teachers; a new class of boys (and parents) for me and a round of new faces to the Ridge team. This year saw a new Grade 5 teammate for Mr Seakamela and myself too, with Scott Mallen joining us and bringing a fresh new dynamic to the Grade 5 team! If you haven’t met Scott, and the other new staff, look out for their introductions in this edition of Horizons.
While we may have a few gaps in this edition, without camps and Lumo Dance and Soapbox Derby, and more. We still have a lot to offer you in this edition covering what started as a full 2020 with busy sporting, cultural, academic and Ridge family activities. Please take a moment to enjoy the wonderful photos of your boys and the write-up about each of their activities. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity for us to be grateful about the start to the year that we did have; the time we have together at home now, and to look forward to what’s to come in a new term.
Stay happy and stay safe.
My headmaster’s message comes to you all as part of Anton Pretorius’ regular and, as always, much anticipated end of term Horizons publication. A termly newsletter that has, understandably, been collated against the backdrop of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. As such, it will essentially represent two distinct aspects of school this term: The Ridge before the measures taken to stop the spread of the virus and The Ridge after the early school closure and lockdown.
I’ve said on many occasions that the school during holiday time is never quite the same because of the very obvious fact that The Ridge Spirit, that is so beautifully captured by the boys, is missing. During the school holidays is one thing, during term time, when forced closure and lockdown is keeping them all at home, is something even more telling.
Being blessed, as I am, to live on The Ridge estate means that the access to the grounds is mine to enjoy each day. So the boys’ absence has been brought home to me even more markedly; a sadly profound reminder of all that the lockdown is challenging us with in our primary schooling context.
The other reality, though, and as the teachers have found out during the most enlightening online learning adventure, is that the little boy and young man spirit is still readily on tap, just somewhat at a distance.
For me, one of the highlights of the whole online teaching and learning experience that we have seen unfolding in recent days has been the way in which the boys have so willingly, naturally and with real energy, embraced it all. An enthusiasm that has been felt by the teachers not only in the way the lads have adapted to this cyber learning space, but also through their excitement to link up and share their experiences with each other.
It’s in this reaching across the enforced lockdown divide that the boys have shown their remarkable ability to adjust and their resourcefulness, as young Generation Z natives, to find interesting and new ways of sharing time with each other. The cyber playdates have been wonderful to hear about and reflect again on just how important it is for boys to be able to connect, to share stories, and to just ‘hang out’ together – albeit through artificial means.
But the reality is that, no matter how wide the WiFi bandwidth, how efficient the digital connectivity, and how imaginative the young minds will show themselves to be, nothing beats the real thing. Lockdown has reminded us that there is no substitute for person to person contact and the emotional empowering that comes from relational bonding. Parents would have enjoyed the positive side of this same coin.
My forty years as a teacher and educator of boys has encouraged me to find some important reflection opportunities during the past few days. Something that is very clear to me is the fact that at the heart of every successful school and place of learning is the underpinning power that healthy and happy relationships generate. This is nowhere more evident than when seen to be experienced each day in the lives of the boys themselves. A trusted and secure brotherhood that provides essential social and emotional security for every lad as he prepares to navigate the world beyond the cocoon of safety that a primary school like The Ridge can and does offer.
The first eight weeks of the term certainly provided ample evidence of just how strong these bonds of friendship are here at The Ridge for the majority of our lads. And it all comes so naturally. As they engage, socialize and participate in so many class, group and team activities each day their innate instinct to trust and believe in each other leads, as naturally, to the emergence of vital Right Stuff virtues that include, amongst so many others: respect, forgiveness, acceptance, kindness, compassion, empathy and love.
I look forward immensely to the time, hopefully not too far ahead, when our Ridge lads will return to their school, to this beautiful, sheltered harbour, and to an environment that will continue to work hard to develop and strengthen all that secure and trusted peer group relationships ought to be bringing their way.
In conclusion, it is appropriate to acknowledge and thank you, our parents, for all that each of you has done to facilitate the offsite/online learning that your boys have been engaging with. It has taken some pretty significant adjustments on the home front and in your respective schedules, and it has certainly been greatly appreciated by our teaching teams back here at The Ridge.
My sincere thanks to Anton Pretorius for all that he has worked so hard to bring together in yet another vibrant and boy-centred Horizons publication. My thanks too, to so many teachers for their respective interesting and colourful contributions.
I wish you all good health, fun-filled family times and God’s covering and Spirit-filled strength and courage at this time.
Hi there, my name is Ashley Keene and I am honoured to be a part of this special Ridge Family. I am lucky enough to be one of the Grade 0 teachers and I am looking forward to all the learning, fun, and amazing adventures that will take place here at The Ridge.
I strongly believe that what we learnt growing up becomes a significant part of who we are today. I owe a lot of who I am to the amazing childhood I had growing up. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, surrounded by all my family and friends, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I went to Kingsmead College from Grade 0 all the way to Matric and then completed a Post Matric course at Treverton College in Mooi River where I learnt hundreds of new skills and absolutely amazing things. I spent a year at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography allowing my creative juices to flow and then I moved to Jacaranda City where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Education at The University of Pretoria.
The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can ever take what you have learnt away from you. I was encouraged from a very young age to be passionately curious and to never stop learning no matter what. Teaching is a lifelong process of learning and I think that’s why I love it so much.
“Teaching kids to count is what I am required to do, but teaching them what counts is what I am here to do.” – Bob Talbert
Nearing the end of my school years, I made a heartbreaking decision to postpone my studies in Education. Despite my longing to start studies in teaching, I knew there were paths I needed to follow in life which were going to make me a stronger, confident, and well-rounded teacher. I wanted to gain experiences outside of school, which I could one day share with the children in my class.
I first studied at Stellenbosch University, completing an Honors Degree in Goldsmithing and Jewellery Design. Patience, perseverance and absolute resilience were some of the skills I learnt; skills I have no doubt aid me within the classroom today.
I went on to start and build an online marketing company, for which I travelled Africa, visiting countries I never imagined I would. Here, I learnt to be brave, to be confident, and to trust in myself and my abilities. Again, I see myself using these in the classroom with my students and encourage them to see that they too can be brave and confident.
After years of experience outside of the classroom, I knew I was ready to turn my dream into my reality. I studied Foundation Phase and Early Childhood Development and moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg to join the incredible Ridge Family.
I strive to give each child my unconditional support and aim to build their self-confidence in academics as well as in themselves as individuals. The teaching and guidance of emotional and social intelligence are important in my classroom, equipping learners with skills for every facet in their life. I could not be more blessed than to work at The Ridge, and look forward to the magic here that lies ahead!
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” – Jimi Hendrix
Eight years of cumulative marketing and educational experience and a year of Africa-wide travel has inspired me to use my skills to make an impact on the future of our continent’s children. I am an English Literature and Dramatic Studies graduate, with varied teaching experience in South Africa and the UK.
My lifelong love of reading English and Drama has driven me to explore the challenges and joys of sharing these disciplines with young minds. In my teaching career, a constant inspiration has been seeing students of different ages, cultures, and abilities leave the classroom with a keener understanding of the world through literature, sciences, and maths.
I believe that teaching should inspire the growth of autonomy and confidence in students, with the teacher as a guide. My creativity and work ethic aid me in contributing to the process of curriculum development across new methodologies. When not teaching, I am inspired from trips to the bush, reading books, and friends and family – including a ginger cat that adopted us two years ago.
The Ridge’s place in the vanguard of South African Preparatory schools is an environment which I am thoroughly enjoying. Furthermore, the exciting extra-curricular and sporting opportunities allow me to engage with the boys in a different yet equally important setting. I am looking forward to continuing to extend the boys’ minds and learning from each of them, in turn.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go”- Dr. Seuss
When I was in school, my Headmistress at the time said to us, “Girls, always remember that the world needs good teachers, because one day, who will teach your children.” These words stuck to me as I grew older and I began to realize the importance as well as the need for passionate, enthusiastic teachers.
I came from a school with exceptional teachers and their enthusiasm encouraged me to pursue a career in teaching. I have always had a passion for English, especially reading, which is why I first completed a BA degree in English. I always knew that I wanted to teach so after I completed my degree, I then did my PGCE.
The Ridge holds a special place in my heart as my brother is an old Ridge boy, so I have been coming to the Ridge from the age of 9! So to be back in this capacity is incredible.
I believe in learning for all and pride myself on being inclusive in my teaching. I will always aim to create a friendly, nurturing environment in my classroom for our young boys.
I look forward to my time at The Ridge School.
If there is one quote or statement describing my life-sentiment toward music, it would echo what had been expressed by Leonard Bernstein during a lecture held at Harvard University in 1973 – “I am a fanatic music lover. I can’t live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it, or thinking about it.”
I was born in Mahikeng (then Mafeking) in the North West Province and completed my schooling at The International School of South Africa. Following this I had spent several years teaching while completing my studies, following which time I had relocated to Cape Town in order to continue both my musical and personal growth. Having come from a long line of educators, I feel I have always been aware of my life calling. Education is not only a calling, but a passion.
Following my appointment as Head of Instruments and Performing Arts at The Ridge School this year, it is certainly safe to say that my role serves as an enormous responsibility toward our boys and the greater musical community as a whole. With so much potential and a brilliant team of staff teaching within the Music Department, it provides the necessary incentive in order to ensure that music at The Ridge continues to develop and flourish.
I look forward to endlessly exciting and fulfilling opportunities at The Ridge School and to sharing my passion and love of music with you all.
“A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops.”- Henry Adams
The first time I read that quote I was in high school and did not fully understand what it meant. Only after I became a teacher did I truly fathom what Henry Adams was trying to say. In my years of teaching practice, I have come to conclude that there are two main defining elements of teaching, namely voice and influence. A teacher is someone who speaks into the lives of others with a view to influencing their minds and hearts for the better.
Teaching and learning involve a chain of influence in which voices link with one another across the eternity of time and space. Upon reflecting on my own voice and what it whispers (and sometimes shouts!) to the learners I have before me, I am driven to a contemplation of my own history with teachers and the important vocation of educating young impressionable minds.
A teacher’s influence is life long and can be paid forward by what the student learns. It can affect history and eternity. Everyone who has made a contribution to humankind has acted from the influence of teachers at some point in their lives, and I am no exception.
During my studies at university, the late Dr. Marthinus Beukes spoke into my life and he made Afrikaans literature interesting and exciting. He always told me that there is an amazing world waiting for me in Afrikaans. I often think of him and how he challenged me to make a success of my studies. He challenged me to rise to the occasion and to seek excellence. He did me no favours and spurred me on to excellence. Upon reflection, I would like to think that learners hear my story and are inspired to work hard and apply themselves.
Teaching Afrikaans has allowed me to interact and meet people that I would not have met had I not become a teacher. It has taken me into spaces, many of them uncomfortable yet edifying. These experiences have played a pivotal role in my personal and professional growth. I look forward to continued growth at The Ridge.
My hope as a teacher is that I speak into the lives of my children in such a way that I influence them to see beyond the superficial and to practise kindness in all they do.
I hope they will remember how much their teachers cared for them and believed in them, even if they weren’t top of the class or made the first team. Hopefully the feeling of being seen and validated for purely being themselves will translate in all social interactions that become part of in their futures.
Mandy Herold – Junior Prep
In her address to parents at the PTA AGM at the start of the year, Mandy Herold spoke of the importance of Social and Emotional Learning. Watch her speech below:
Nicholas Diana – Senior Prep
Overview of the Term 1
Although a quieter start to 2020, having said our farewells to an exciting and eventful Centenary year, Term 1 has been a successful period of discovery learning for Ridge boys. It was, however, an extremely busy period for the Grade 7s who were involved in their college entry process. Nevertheless, the first part of the term saw a good balance of academic learning, social development and extra-murals. No day was the same and who would have it any other way?
This term we welcomed several new academic staff:
- Christina Mashobane joined us as Head of Afrikaans, and brought with her new ideas and innovative ways of teaching and learning within her department.
- Akhona Mtshabe has been a welcome addition to the isiZulu department. He has taken on the Grade 4 isiZulu as well as the Grade 4 Digital Literacy.
- Naadhirah Loonat joined us as an English specialist in Grades 6 and 7. She has also taken on the teaching of STEAM in Grade 6.
- Scott Mallen joined our Grade 5 team and has already found his feet within the grade, bringing new and creative methodologies to teaching Grade 5 boys.
- Ashik Haripersadh also joined the academic staff in teaching Digital Literacy to our Grade 4 boys.
A word about Grade 7 College Applications
In terms of the Grade 7 Application Process, it has been another busy Grade 7 year of College applications. We await offers at the end of this term and at the beginning of Term 2. Many structures were put into place to assist the Grade 7 boys in the application process, including:
- The writing of a CV to aid in the holistic overview of each individual boy which was sent to the respective colleges.
- Broader scope for the college application process. In other words, more schools are ‘on the radar’ in terms of right fit for each boy.
- High School Expo to educate parents around “right fit” schools for their sons.
- Caroline de Pelet Abraham assisted with the interview process.
- Candice Fletcher (School Psychologist) offered assistance to both boys and parents if the need arose.
In addition to this, a survey was sent to parents once the application process has taken place in order to get a sense of how to better the admission into colleges in the future.
Senior Primary 5 Year Academic Plan
This term saw us starting ‘Year 1’ in our 5 Year curriculum development plan. For this, we have a specific focus on the following:
- Specific themes for the school – The Ridge Way
- More skills focused rather than content heavy
- Cross curricular planning / teaching
- 21st Century Skills focused
- Upskilling in the area of Social and Emotional skills
- Encompass the Hidden Curriculum within our teaching and learning
- Focus on Character building
I believe we are in an exciting educational space, with a lot of new ideas, growth mindsets and continued progress taking place. We also need to remember that we are teaching boys in a technological age that continues to change daily, an era where society sends mixed messages that confuse and challenge our boys, parents and us on a daily basis. It is our calling, not our job, to make sure that we continue to nurture, to motivate, to build resilience and grit. Ultimately, we need to educate our boys about what it means to be a young man in the 21st Century.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin
Music, Performing Arts and Choir
The first three months of 2020 have been very busy in the Performing Arts Studio. In keeping with our year theme of ‘Making a Difference’, we have looked at ways in which performers in the arts can make a difference to the environment. Some of our exciting performances have included ‘I was here’ (Beyoncé) with the Grade 5 boys, ‘Don’t kill the world’ (Boney M) with Grade 6, ‘Man in the mirror’ (Michael Jackson) with Grade 7 and a Water dance with Grade 4. The Grade 4 boys also used recycled materials as props in the Water dance as well as a Gumboot dance. For this, they made ankle rattles out of recycled bottle tops.
Our Junior Choir has learned two songs already, but unfortunately, were unable to perform these at an assembly. ‘Chiquita Banana’ is a colourful Caribbean song and ‘Hodu L’Adonai’ is in Hebrew. It means ‘Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever.’
The Senior Choir have also been hard at work and had their first performance at the Friday Assembly for Valentine’s Day, singing the poignant anthem ‘I Choose Love’. They also performed with St. Katharine’s and APPS at our Ash Wednesday service, singing three sacred choir anthems, namely ‘Modimo wa re rata’, ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ and our favourite, ‘Above All’. The singing was heartfelt and our choir’s tone was especially beautiful that morning. It has been a joy to have directed the choirs. We look forward to even more exciting and wonderful choir performances as the year progresses.
Art and Creative Thinking
Building Relationships, and Embedding Creative and Critical Thinking
This year The Ridge has embarked more seriously on a larger cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning. It’s been a natural transition from our STEAM initiative, which, through projects, combines the disciplines of Science, Technology and Engineering (Design and Technology), Arts and Maths. Due largely to STEAM projects, our teachers have developed an understanding and appreciation that boys respond more positively with a real-life context to their learning. Content is understood and retained far better where there are links between learning areas- for one thing, repetition of a concept is done in many different forms, helping to embed the learning. Boys can see how different learning areas can complement each other. Using this cross-curricular model, we are also focusing more strongly on creative and critical thinking skills.
Art and History have combined in Grade 7. Boys began the year investigating their heroes and making a historical portrait piece. While learning about the treasures of Timbuktu, they also recreated the famous temple of Gene, using oxide, charcoal and gold leaf. Grade 5’s began their journey learning about the universe in their STEAM lessons, and were totally committed to the process of making a Space-scape. They did this by responding to pieces of music and making planets from their abstract paintings. Reading for Meaning has been a progression of our media lessons, where boys dive deeper into the material from other learning areas in order to improve their understanding as well as their research and analytical skills. The Grade 4’s created ankle rattles in Art for a dance performance piece. They also investigated water in both creative thinking class and music lessons.
Each day our boys have to switch from one teacher to another, from one subject to the next, and from one venue to another. A cross-curricular approach helps boys transition more easily between learning areas. As shared themes help to link the subjects, and teachers begin to speak the same language, our boys begin to develop a more holistic world view of how content and people are linked.
It’s five pm on a Thursday evening. The first week of online learning is almost over. I am finally done with designing the next batch of questions and projects to help enrich our boys’ homeschooling days. I have done this in two ways – through Art activities, using various video formats and presentation apps, as well as by posting Sticky Questions every couple of days – sticky questions are the ones that do not have a definitive answer, ones that can’t be googled. They are the questions which can be debated, ones that can change your mind many times, and help us to think more creatively and critically. (Please see below for some the insightful and interesting responses to the sticky questions that were posted.)
I sneak a peek at some of the submissions and postings which begin to trickle in, slightly apprehensive about what I might see and read. Letting go of the control one has in the classroom, where we are used to conducting the boys’ creative and learning process, is something new to me and many of our teachers here at The Ridge. We now have to inspire and infuse our boys with the love of learning, remotely! This has been an incredibly insightful time. Their ‘at home’ creations and insights have amazed, surprised and entertained me. The level of creativity has been truly wonderful. I have realised that there are some boys who work better in the classroom, relying on the chemistry and energy generated by a real-time face to face experience. There are also boys who enjoy being left to their own devices, the ones who surprise you with great responses to a topic because they are not distracted by the classroom atmosphere, ones who are not intimidated by the online classroom experience. And of course, there are those who, no matter what the circumstances, will always deliver and go above and beyond. However, one thing that they have all brought to this experience, is the in-classroom knowledge that they have acquired over their years at The Ridge, experiences which have informed and equipped them to deal with this next frontier of online homeschooling. When looking at their submissions, it is clear that the tools and techniques which have been taught and developed over the years have clearly been drawn upon to assist them when learning online and on their own. I’m sure the boys can hear me in their heads beating out the ‘’elements of art’’ or pushing them to be more self-critical, to ‘’steal like an artist’’ or to open their toolbox in their minds and use all that they have to creatively solve a problem. These boys are truly the thinkers of the 21st Century and beyond. I am filled with hope, pride and a sense of awe for what they might be able to achieve.
Sticky Questions and Responses
Grade 7 Question: Which Freedom is most important: Psychological Freedom, Economic Freedom, Physical Freedom?
- “Psychological freedom because if your brain is free you can get through anything.”
- “There is no freedom if you can’t walk your dogs on the road or in your neighbourhood.”
- “Psychological freedom as it keeps you going that way you can always think ‘yes I can run the comrades’, ‘yes I can become I millionaire’, stuff like that.’’
Grade 7 Question: We often say that we should treat everyone the same. Is it ever unfair to treat people the same?
- “So I think that different rules can apply to people who are ill than to people who are perfectly fine like you or me’’
- “Yes, it is unfair to treat people the same.’’
- “How can we expect that a person in a wheelchair can climb stairs. How can we expect a short person to reach stuff on the top shelf? We have to respect people’s disabilities and offer solutions on how they can overcome obstacles in their way.’’
Grade 6 Question: If you were always on holiday, would it still be a holiday?
- “Yes, it would be.’’
- “No, because a holiday is when you get a day off but if you have a day off forever it wouldn’t be a day off.’’
Grade 5 Question: Is it better to have a memory of a moment but no photograph, or a photograph but no memory of it?
- “I think it’s better to have a memory of something and not a photograph because you know that it happened and it’s true to yourself. If you have a memory of something you can remember the sounds you heard and the feelings that you felt and the things that you saw and the taste on your tongue and the smell in the air.’’
Grade 5 Question: If you were bigger in size than your parents, who would be in charge?
- “Me because I’d have more power in strength.’’
- “Well I think just because we are big does not make us older and plus we still have homework and obviously they still know better than us, so I choose my parents.’’
- “My Dad would still be in charge. Even though I’m bigger, he’d be wiser.’’
Women’s Day Reading Breakfast
On the 6th of March, we celebrated Strong Women in Literature, with our Reading Breakfast, in support of International Women’s Day (on the 8th March). The brief was to dress up as a strong female character or author, or a male character or author that supported strong women.
The boys really took up the challenge, dressing up as Amelia Earhart, Agatha Christie, Malala Yousafzai, Hermione Granger, Pippi Longstockings and many more. There were also some (very well thought through) male characters, ready to explain to anyone why they supported strong women. Well done to each and every one of you, who showed your support for strong women. It takes a strong man to stand up for something as important as this, in today’s society.
Kids’ Lit Quiz
On the 10th of February, twelve very excited (and well-read) boys, went off to St John’s, to fly the Ridge flag for the regional round of the International Kids’ Lit Quiz competition. We are only allowed to enter two teams (eight boys altogether) but took an extra team along for the experience. Our boys did us proud, coming 7th and 18th out of 37 teams. A special mention was made after the event, on the helpfulness of our reserve team, who helped collect answer sheets, and offered assistance where needed. Well done to Parkview Senior School on their win.
|TEAM 1||TEAM 2||RESERVES|
|Vashiv Naidoo 7B||Michael Jeong 7N||Madimetja Tema 6M|
|Kabir Budlender 7N||Connor v.d. Walt 6L||Calvin Wagner 6L|
|Matthew Thomson 7N||Joshua Heeger 6Ma||Nyiko Mabunda 6L|
|Robert Steyn 7N||William Boland 6L||Ethan Stein 6L|
Interschool General Knowledge Quiz
The Interschool General Knowledge Quiz is an ongoing event, with two to three quizzes per term. On the 12th of February, we joined a few schools at St David’s, to participate in the first Interschool General Knowledge Quiz competition. Because there are only four boys per team, and we had two boys extra, they cleverly worked out a rotational system, in which all boys got a chance to be a part of the team. We tied for 5th position, as well as 7th place out of 18 teams.
On the 11th of March, two Ridge boys teams to Beaulieu Prep School on a mission to conquer the world. They were accompanied by Mrs Mbele, Mr Motsepe and Mrs Glanz, and driven all the way, by the patient Mr Senyatsi. We competed against 13 other teams, and celebrated with a win (Team 1) and a fifth place (Team 2). Well done boys, you did us proud!
In each of the competitions this year, our boys showed the “Right Stuff” by being polite, courteous and helpful to all. Thank you too, to the staff members and parents, who joined us at each competition, it was wonderful to have each of you as eager and enthusiastic supporters.
Teams for St David’s
|Team 1||Team 2|
|Valentino Sartini-Kruger 7B||Calvin Wagner 6L|
|Ethan Stein 6L||Chris Herman 6Ma|
|Zhy Ravjee 6L||Nyiko Mabunda 6L|
|Madimetja Tema 6M||Adam Ball 6Ma|
|Adam Gardee 6L||Adam Stoutjesdijk 6L|
Teams for Beaulieu
|Team 1||Team 2|
|Michael Jeong 7N||Luke Holden 6L|
|William Boland 6L||Josh Heeger 6Ma|
|Robert Steyn 7N||Connor van der Walt 6L|
|Vashiv Naidoo7B||Calvin Wagner 6L|
Junior Prep Sport
Junior Prep sport in Term 1 is one of the term busiest in the academic year. The boys have a number of activities they have to participate in, both in the classroom and on the sport field. Swimming and cricket are the main sports offered to the Junior Prep boys. In swimming our focus is to get every boy, by the end of their Grade 2 year, to swim a full length of The Ridge pool and be comfortable to swim in a swimming pool without assistance.
Cricket has shown growth in the Junior Prep. There is always excitement amongst the boys when playing cricket, especially during the Parent and Son’s Saturday morning session. The Grade 0s have taken their opportunity to participate in sport and every boy is keen to be involved. We currently have the whole grade participating in afternoon sport and we are excited for the upcoming seasons.
During our Physical Education in Grade 0 and 1 lessons we have worked on gross motor skills and basic ball skills. In these lessons, as the coaches, we have learnt a lot about the boys and had chance to reflect and evaluate how we could structure future lessons.
Term 1 in Grade 2 is the most exciting grade to be in. For the first time the boys get to play matches against other schools. Unfortunately our match against St Peter’s was cut short by rain, but we are hopeful that in the coming term we are able to participate in matches with other schools.
Finally, despite our term being cut short by the abrupt closure, there have been many learning opportunities created in the time we have had together with the boys. I would like to thank all the parents for their support at matches as well as the Saturday morning Parents and Sons sessions.
We look forward to an even busier and exciting term next term!
The swimming season was set to take on a different format this year. All the galas were scheduled to take place during the first term which meant there was to be a total of 9 galas for each team. However, it didn’t quite go according to plan. We managed to get 5 of the galas in before the weather and Covid-19 took their hold. Unfortunately, the B team only managed to swim 3 of their galas owing to lightning at their venues. The C team were definitely the ‘Team of the Year’ with 2 wins by the end of season. The A team were placed 3rd in most of their galas as, try as they might, they were unable to take St Benedict’s or St David’s who dominated the season. Our B team are to be commended on showing true Ridge spirit and held their own in their galas, becoming the victim of boys being on cricket tour, writing exams for their colleges or playing in waterpolo festivals.
Despite the Schools’ season being disrupted, the Interhouse Championship Gala went ahead without a hitch. There were many close fought, exciting individual races and Cheales led the whole way, that is, until the relays. However, the depth of Dunn’s crawl relay teams saw them claw their way back and they eventually took over the lead during the final races to earn themselves the title of ‘Interhouse Swimming Champions 2020’. Although the races went ahead without a hitch, as luck would have it, the lightning alarm went off during the last event, so the presentation of the trophies had to be postponed.
Thank you to all the coaches and swimmers for all their time and hard work throughout the season. Also, to all the parents who brought their sons in to school at the crack of dawn for training. As I sit and write this on Day 3 of Lockdown, those early morning training sessions, the time spent selecting teams and the military manoeuvre to get over 100 boys to different galas on a Friday afternoon don’t seem so bad after all!
Fayzan Adroos: Captain
I am honoured and grateful to be appointed as climbing captain for 2020. Climbing is an incredible sport. It uses muscles you never knew you had, including your brain! As such, it is great exercise for your mind as much as for your body.
When you are scaling great heights, mapping the best route to the top, being anchored by someone on the ground (known as a belayer), you are literally placing your life in that person’s hands. This creates strong trust bonds between climbers. I am excited, together with my fellow Grade 7 climbers, to lead the climbers. This is a great opportunity to get to know, understand and create friendships with every single boy that has chosen to take up the sport this year. We are always available to encourage and show new climbers the ropes!
My hope is that as Climbing captain (along with the Vice-captain), we remain humble and lead by example. Whether we are climbing for fun, training or participating in competitions, my wish for the Ridge climbers is that we all rise to our full potential and never give up.
Without a doubt, 2020 is going to be a memorable year. The world is facing a mammoth challenge at the moment and I will endeavour to encourage the discipline and patience that climbing teaches, as this will hold us in good stead in the coming months.
Climb on and be safe everyone!
Warwick Bradford: Vice-captain
Being vice-captain of Climbing at the Ridge School is a huge responsibility. Climbing is a dangerous sport. Together with Fayzan, we have to check that all the climbing equipment is accounted for and properly stored away. It is also our responsibility to check that the boys wear the right gear. I help the younger boys with techniques, fitness and safety. It is exciting to see that more and more boys are interested in climbing. This year, we have our biggest group of Grade 4 boys join climbing as a sport. When we are at competitions we often hear the Grade 4’s saying ‘’this is so fun, I love the challenge’’ and lots more. I cannot wait to get back to climbing and praying for our current situation to improve.
We had another eventful term of canoeing. Our Ridge School Canoeing team have continued to be active participants the in Gauteng Schools League. The main events this term were the short course races held at the Florida Canoe Club and the Gauteng Sprint Champs at Victoria Lake in Germiston. These were exciting events for our new canoeing boys and gave them a taste for the competitive side of the sport. Their experience will stand them in good stead for events later in the season as they continue to develop their fitness and racing technique. Six of our boys also went on a trip to the Klip River in March to learn about various aspects of river safety and racing. Adrian von Klemperer and Viggo Price both performed exceptionally well whilst driving K2 boats through rapids and weir drops, and have now received their river proficiency certification, which will allow them to participate in official river races.
Waterpolo Tour to Knysna
Report back from Simon Musset
On Thursday the 6th February, 12 boys and 3 coaches boarded a flight to Knysna in the Western Cape to participate in the two day long Oakhill School Waterfront Chukka Waterpolo Festival.
Over the Friday and Saturday, The Ridge team played against various schools from all over the country. We did fantastically well and managed to win 7 of our 8 matches.
A highlight of the festival was that the games were played in seawater in the Knysna Waterfront Quays and not in a swimming pool. To get into the playing areas, boys had to jump off the harbour wall into the water. This was an exciting and new experience for all of us and we loved every second of it!
Other highlights included attending the Oakhill Valentines Dance, staying together at The Loerie Bed and Breakfast; good music on the tour bus; breakfast at the restaurant ‘34 Degrees South’ every morning; our trips to the beach; enjoying good sportsmanship; great competition and making many awesome memories.
Thank you to the coaches for safely chaperoning, coaching and putting up with us all. A big thank you as well to all the parents for their support and boys in the team for a great tour!
Three years into the Basketball program at The Ridge and 2020 is looking fantastic. The Ridge school officially has 5 basketball teams: one Grade 5 team, two Grade 6 teams and two Grade 7 teams. Boys are understanding the true reason for Basketball’s intention: to improve on athleticism and stay physically fit! Basketball at The Ridge has proven to be highly successful over the last three years and some of our old boys have gone on to College and are playing A team Basketball at the likes of Michaelhouse, St Andrew’s, St John’s, St Alban’s and St David’s.
This shines as a bright beacon to the Ridge boys now, showing them that they are in a good Basketball program at this school. We are looking forward to attending a 2020 basketball tour in the 3rd term. This will give our upcoming young players a platform to compete before the 2021 season starts.
A massive thank you to the coaching staff and management for everything that’s been done to ensure that Basketball has been a success. Hopefully, soon we will see boys getting basketball scholarships.
First Day of Term
The first day of the year is one that is always filled with excitement. Boys can’t wait to see their friends, connect with their teachers and just be back at this wonderful school. The Grade 0s also have their first day ‘Big School’ and one has to wonder whether the boys or parents end up being more emotional when saying goodbye to each other!
The Ridge Conscious Discipline Seminar
On Thursday 9 January, I hosted a workshop at The Ridge School for 170 educators from 14 different schools all over Gauteng. The main aim of the workshop was to help teachers set up their classrooms for optimal connection. My colleague, Esther Hecht, and I shared proven strategies to increase teacher effectiveness and academic performance while reducing discipline referrals. The attendees learned about practical ideas of how to cultivate a healthy, connected home/school culture that creates transformational change. The feedback from the workshop was very positive and I believe that it made a big difference to how the educators started the 2020 school year. All this theory and practice is from Conscious Disciplineâ.
I was introduced to Conscious Discipline in September 2017, when I first heard Dr Becky Bailey speak at a conference in Cape Town. I had a visceral response to her keynote presentation and I just knew this was something I needed to know more about. Fast forward two and a half years, two trips to the US for training, two to Cape Town and hours and hours of practice and implementation and I’m the first International Certified Instructor with Conscious Disciplineâ in Africa. Conscious Discipline has wrapped words around what my heart was longing for and encompassed all that I know to be valuable when working with children. Discipline is traditionally synonymous with rewards and punishment, but if you look at the word discipline, it comes from the word disciple which means ‘to teach’. I believe that this Social Emotional Learning programme has transformational potential for children of all ages, schools, teachers, parents, communities and society in general.
Conscious Discipline is recognized as one of the top social-emotional programs available to both schools and parents. It teaches children how to regulate and manage emotions in order to make safe and healthy choices. But before we can optimally help children, we need to first focus on ourselves as adults. We need to be able to regulate ourselves and our own emotions before we can assist children with theirs. The main concern/problem with this is that we were never really taught how to do this and essentially, you can’t teach skills you don’t have. So this is about unlearning so we can relearn and ultimately, give our children the skills they need to be successful.
In our current world of the Covid19 Epidemic, the need for Safety, Connection and Problem Solving has never been more essential. If you want more information about Conscious Discipline, please contact me on email@example.com or go to https://consciousdiscipline.com
A team of Ridge staff including Claire Lord, Faronaaz Patel, Scott Mallen, Carmin Groenewald and Shanitha Ramsurwaj, were privileged to attend the IBSC conference at St Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein. This was the first time the regional conference has been hosted in the Free State and we were treated to some outstanding Mangaung hospitality. It was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and new platforms with teachers and leaders from boys’ schools around the country. There were several inspiring speakers as well as practical and pragmatic advice given by different schoolteachers in the breakaway sessions. The conference theme, ‘Restoring Hope’, reflects a common desire amongst schools to rebuild the spirit, that drew us together as teachers, to be rekindled.
Dr Sonia Lupien, the founder and director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress, presented an inspirational study on the effects of stress on the human brain from infancy to adulthood and old age. Her studies have shown that children – as vulnerable as adults to stress – can produce high levels of stress hormones as early as age six. She maintains that every child that walks through our school’s doors, has different stressors. As teachers, we need to be equipped on how to firstly identify and then deal with these stressors. Similarly, another very important theme emerging from the lecture was the importance of parents and teachers to know their own stressors and manage their stress accordingly, as children of all ages will instinctively key into this. Her research in adults demonstrates stress can significantly impair memory performance as well as the effects of stress on the ageing brain. The IBSC Conference looked to address issues and paint a new narrative regarding gender, stress, toxic masculinity, and, very importantly, mental health. Around the world there are different issues that boys are grappling with on a daily basis. These issues include how we, as teachers, deal with and affirm students that are struggling with internal and external stressors. Also, do we offer spaces where boys are able to speak freely and safely about where they are at and not have any reprisal?
This conference also encouraged us to relook at the curriculum we are teaching. Is there work that we particularly need to do, particularly understanding our history regarding boys’ schools in South Africa. How do we as teachers create affirming spaces where everyone belongs? How many white teachers have an implicit basis that impacts the way we teach boys of colour? How many schools force boys to assimilate to a dominant culture rather than let them be themselves? Various lectures also touched on the digital life of boys as a huge part of who they are and how do we encourage our boys to be responsible citizens, not only in the way they represent themselves but in what they say to other people.
Can we redefine the role of boys’ schools in such a way that we are judged upon the graduates that leave our school? What kind of partner will he be one day? Are our boys going to be ethical businessmen? Are they going to see the need in the world and answer that need? Are they going to treat their fellow people with respect?
We considered and reflected about how boys schools should be leading the way in answering these questions. For example, when there is something that rises in the media about gender-based violence or the behaviour of men, boys’ schools should then step up and educate the world and, in turn, what it means to be a man of significance.
Considering this, we were encouraged as teachers to acknowledge each learner, to work towards identifying who they are and where they are in terms of themselves and in relation to the world. This conference encouraged us to continue restoring hope to a generation that are continuously faced with so much, and from so many overwhelming avenues – to help them to a space where they feel free to be successful in all they do. We learnt that our job as teachers is to provide safety, security and acknowledgement, to deliver life lessons in a way that speaks uniquely to each boy, to evoke responsibility, accountability and passion. This can all be done through loving what we do, through leaving positive impressions on every boy we encounter, and, most importantly, by restoring hope.
Care to Learn Day
The purpose of the Care-to-Learn initiative is to provide our learners with the opportunity to serve and be served by their peers from a different background. The day is set aside in the school calendar to provide learners with ample opportunity to interact, on a meaningful and deeper level, with learners from Salvazione Christian School in Brixton. This is done with the hope of cultivating friendships, breaking down prejudices, and to widen the boys’ worldview.
The Care-to-Learn day took place on 05 March 2020. It was a wonderful and meaningful exchange day between the learners. The activities for the Junior Prep were organised by the respective Grade Heads and their colleagues. These included playing on the jungle gyms, reading, sports on the Cheales field and many, many other fun-filled activities.
The Zulu Department organised the activities for the Grade 4s. These included traditional South African games that included hopscotch, skipping rope, diketo and mgusha. The children enjoyed these indigenous games a lot and took to them naturally as one would expect from children born and raised in Africa.
The Music Department and The Grade 5 teachers put together a program that included singing, beat creation, robotics and coding. This proved to be a hit with both the boys and girls as “music and technology is “the language of the young”.
The Grade 6s and 7s were hosted by Salvazione at their campus. The learners had to build a cardboard city. The beautiful cities that the learners came up with speak of their creativity and their ability to collaborate and come up with solutions that will be needed as we look forward to smart cities as spoken about by the government and our president in particular.
A huge thank you to the parents that sent through the cardboard boxes that were used on the day. All the material used were recyclable.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things, but we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Theresa
It was with a great sense of pride and also some trepidation that I took over as Head of The Lighthouse at the start of what has turned out to be a life-changing year for all of us. It turns out that I needn’t have worried, because with the support of the amazing Lighthouse team it has been a wonderful year so far and we persevere and grow even whilst in the current, extremely challenging situation.
Claire Lord continues to surprise me with the way she manages to control her classes beautifully without ever having to raise her voice. Jacqui Haddow has joined our team seamlessly and she is forever learning and generously sharing her excellent ideas. Candice Fletcher keeps us all sane! She is such an important part of The Ridge community – touching lives daily and making an important contribution to the well-being of the boys, as well as the staff. Anne-Ri Brits, our quirky, kind and super smart speech therapist (who is always thinking and learning) teaches the boys, as well as the rest of us. She has been joined this year by Retha-Mari de Beer, who is gentle, kind and seems to never stop smiling. Angela Pietersen, our OT, works tirelessly to improve the skills needed by the boys to engage in learning, and also offers us valuable guidance. Jan Mallen has stayed on part-time and we are all grateful for this. She may be small in stature, but she has an enormous heart and holds a great number of boys, The Lighthouse team and many other staff members in her role as mentor. Last, but not least, Sean Coughlan and Jane Lamb remain an invaluable part of The Lighthouse team as external therapists.
As a school, we have the responsibility to accommodate the diverse learning needs of every Ridge boy, and The Lighthouse is part of ensuring this inclusivity. We aim to work closely as a cohesive team and we work collaboratively with the boys, their teachers and their families to ensure that their learning support needs are met in order that they may reach their full potential. In his book, “I still love you”, Michael Ungar (2014) describes 9 things which children need – structure, consequences, connections, many relationships, a powerful identity, a sense of control, a sense of belonging and purpose and finally, rights and responsibilities. These are the very things we aim to provide for the more than 100 boys in our care. We endeavour to make learning accessible and fun.
We are also part of a community of learning support specialists. We attended the learning support cluster at Japari this term and it’s our privilege to learn alongside the teachers and therapists in other private Johannesburg schools.
The announcement of lockdown came as a shock to the Lighthouse team – we work so closely with the boys that it seemed impossible to offer learning support remotely, but it’s been a steep learning curve. However, with some creativity, intense work, lots of communication and sharing, we have proven resilient and continue to serve the Lighthouse boys. The boys themselves have been amazing – they have courageously embraced this new way of learning. I’m not sure what lies ahead, and I believe many lessons have been learned, but I feel at peace with the fact that a spirit of Ubuntu unites us as Lighthouse team and as a school; and that The Ridge will continue to be a place where ALL boys will learn to fly.
Grade 0 Grandparents Tea
On Friday 13th March, 72 excited little boys made their way up to the Nicolson Hall, dodging rain puddles and thunder clouds, whilst carrying their musical instruments and wearing handmade binoculars. The Grannies and Grandads had arrived (some from overseas!) and taken their seats, and were about to embark on a Summer Safari! The boys entertained their special guests with songs they had prepared with Mrs Morrick during their weekly Music lessons. As the performance continued, the audience tapped their feet and sang along to familiar tunes.
After the concert the Grandparents were treated to a delicious spread in the dining hall, which had been organised and set-up by a team of Grade 0 mums and our wonderful kitchen staff. The Grade 0 boys headed down to the Parker Block to get ready to welcome their visitors into their classrooms and playground. The boys had spent many days preparing special gifts and artworks to share with their Grandparents. After what felt like hours of anticipation whilst the adults finished their nibbles and tea, the boys were finally able to show off their hard work and share the sweet anecdotes that they had recorded about their families.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this such a happy occasion. I have no doubt that this will be fondly remembered by both the boys and their Grandparents.
With Robotics just introduced into the curriculum this year, it is quickly becoming an indispensable part of the boys’ lives. Boys are learning the thought process behind creating a program, basic programming functions and how they relate to robotic actions and reactions. The boys are motivated and enthusiastic and are able to incorporate creativity and fun simultaneously. They enjoy working in teams, making connections with each other, competing, and other times, just supporting each other.
Thomas van Onselen Grade 6
Robotics has been one of my favourite subjects this year! I am so enthusiastic about Robotics that I arrive early for the lesson. During this term, we’ve learnt to program the EV3 robots to move forward, backward, turn and spin around. We also learnt about the touch sensor and the ultrasonic sensor. I absolutely love working with a friend or a partner. When I am done with my testing of the robot, I offer help to other teams such as connecting the EV3 to the iPad and showing them where the code is. Competing with other teams makes it more fun, but not because it’s a race, because it is challenging and we all love a challenge.
The following boys competed in the Inter-Schools Robotics League on March 10 at St Peter’s Girl’s Prep: Kabir Budlender, Vashiv Naidoo, Reza Salojee, Ethan Stein, Adam Gardee, Matthew Jennings, Nicholas Barberini, Muhammed Cassoojee, Sinalo Danisa and Finn Berman. I am proud of the boys; they persevered through the difficult challenges, communicated with other participants, and displayed the Right Stuff. Congratulations to Finn Berman for receiving the ‘Excellent Collaboration Award’.
Adam Gardee Grade 6
The Inter-Schools Robotics League competition is a wonderful adventure. At The Ridge we generally start with an early lunch, followed by a bus ride to the venue. Competing teams consist of a pair of learners from two different schools, so if you were in a team you would be with someone you don’t know. Sometimes you are paired with someone who is a bit clueless about robotics, but that is not all bad because it teaches you how to teach (teachers really do have a tough job!). It also means you need to have some resilience and grit and to try your best. Teams are given challenges that must be completed within a limited time. The challenges consist of obstacle courses for the robot to complete as well as modifying the robot to accomplish tasks, e.g. constructing a robotic arm. Teams are scored not only on technical merit but also on teamwork and collaboration. The Ridge always comes back with many prizes. I really enjoy participating in these events.
Tour de Maths
Problem-solving is an important life skill that we should be encouraged to develop and improve. Mathematics provides a great context to hone these skills and encounter different techniques to solve various problems. Tour de Maths is an interschool Mathematics competition that promotes problem-solving in a competitive yet fun environment. Fourteen of our Grade 7s attended two Tour de Maths events at St. Stithians College this term. The first event took place on Thursday the 23rd of January and the second event was on Wednesday 4th March. In the first Tour de Maths event we were part of a much larger high school event and the primary schools in attendance were St. Stithians Boys’ Prep, St. Stithians Girls’ Prep and Redhill. In this first event, Michael van Heerden and Matthew Thomson achieved a very commendable 3rd place overall. In the second Tour de Maths event there were over 25 different schools in attendance with over 60 teams made up of 2 girls and 2 boys per team. Our boys represented The Ridge extremely well and two of our teams finished in the top 5.