In order to succeed, children need a supportive learning environment. The right school can make all the difference in their future success, and it’s important to know what features stand out as beneficial. Learning support is essential for all learners, regardless of their individual learning needs. Schools with strong learning support programs are more likely to see students excel, graduate, and go on to college or work after high school. Here are some features of schools in South Africa that offer great support for kids in terms of learning and overall development.
The Learning Support Environment
When assessing a potential learning support environment, you want to make sure it’s a space where students feel safe and supported. Look for signs of collaboration and openness, as this is a good indicator of a collaborative learning environment.
Some key indicators are:
- A Calm Environment – When children feel safe, they are more likely to engage in open, collaborative learning. Look for signs of a calm environment, such as soft lighting and colours, and make sure to check out the noise level during the school day.
- Trustworthy Environment – An open, collaborative environment is one that values trust and respect. You are more likely to see open communication, and students being supportive of one another when they feel safe and respected.
- Positive Energy – Some schools have a vibe that is calm and relaxed, while others have a buzz that feels more energetic and upbeat. You want to make sure you are comfortable with the energy of the school, as this can influence your child’s learning and overall experience.
Collaborative Learning Spaces
A school that offers learning support should have well-thought out learning spaces. You want to make sure they have places where students can collaborate and learn in a variety of ways.
Some key indicators of collaborative learning spaces include:
- Open and Flexible Spaces – Collaborative learning spaces should be open and flexible so children can interact and learn in a variety of ways. Look for spaces that are child-friendly and easily movable, allowing for a variety of activities.
- Technology Integration – Learning spaces should also have technology, allowing for new ways to collaborate and share information. This can include things like smart boards, projectors, and digital books for reading.
- Collaborative Learning Tools – Some schools have tools designed for collaborative learning, such as a sand tray with different coloured sand for different creative ideas, or a round table for open discussions.
Organised After-School Activities
After-school activities are key to helping kids build new skills and interests outside of the classroom.
Look for after-school activities that are enriching and creative, and that have a focus on social and emotional learning. Some key indicators of after-school activities include:
- Engaging Activities – After-school activities should be engaging, creative, and supportive of a range of different interests. They should encourage kids to explore new skills and foster curiosity.
- Integration with Academic Skills – After-school activities should also be designed to build on and integrate with academic skills, such as reading, writing, and math.
- Focus on Social and Emotional Learning – Some after-school activities are designed to also teach kids about social and emotional learning, such as conflict resolution and collaboration.
Reading is a core academic skill that all learners need, and it is especially important for kids. South Africa is a country where reading proficiency is not strong, and in many schools reading support is needed.
A school that offers learning support must have reading programmes that are designed for specific ages and reading levels. Some key indicators of reading support include:
- Programs for Specific Levels and Ages – Reading programmes should be designed for specific ages and reading levels, taking into account both the kids’ abilities and their interests.
- Extracurricular Reading Activities – Reading programmes should go beyond the classroom, and you should look for schools that have extracurricular reading activities, such as book clubs.
Strong Instructional Practices and Effective Teachers
As important as the other aspects of learning support are, these don’t matter if the teachers aren’t doing their part.
Look for signs of strong instructional practices, such as a focus on group collaboration, frequent feedback, and a balance between academic and social-emotional learning.
Some key indicators of effective teachers include:
- Collaborative Learning – Collaborative learning is a common and effective way to help students learn. It allows for students to share ideas, ask questions, and build on what others are saying.
- Frequent Feedback – Some schools have a system where students are given feedback on their learning every few weeks, allowing them to adjust and improve their skills.
- Balance Between Academic and Social-Emotional Learning – You want to make sure the curriculum and teaching practices include a balance between academic and social-emotional learning.
The best schools for kids in South Africa are those that offer a supportive learning environment, collaborative learning spaces, and organised after-school activities. A school that offers learning support also have strong instructional practices and effective teachers, with a focus on reading support. When you are looking for a school for your child, make sure you check out these important factors so you can be sure your child is getting the best possible learning support.
Japari School meets all the criteria for the best remedial support for your children. Contact us today to find out more.