Assisted Mainstream Learning Environment

Japari from the Past into the Future: An Assisted Mainstream Learning Environment

Japari School has always existed to help learners achieve their potential. In our early days we had 40 boy boarders. We are now identified as an Assisted Mainstream Learning Environment. In all this time, the needs of our learners have been the reason Japari exists.

Our early beginnings

Japari School was established in 1966. This was just as learning challenges were being recognised as genuine disabilities. Before this, it was assumed that learners who struggled continuously had a character flaw. Now, it also meant that moving forward, specific legislation would be passed to meet the needs of these individuals. South Africa itself has had an interesting history of addressing these needs.

Dr Sonia Machanick founded what today is an assisted mainstream learning environment. It was started as a clinic, but quickly expanded to needy children outside the Johannesburg area. Soon there was also an afternoon school. This included learners from surrounding schools with the Japari students.

Expansion and Development, and meeting the Needs of Remedial Learners

Over the following ten years or so the students were given extra work and help, according to their needs.

Dr Machanick passed away unexpectedly in 1978. Since that time, Japari has continued to meet the needs of those with challenges to their learning. This was initially under the headmistress Kathleen Argyle. We have been on the cutting edge of the development of new methods and research. The point is to see those who would struggle in a less specialized school flourishing.

The school continued to expand. Another property was bought in 1994, with more classrooms being built. This was while Joan Gardiner was head mistress. Mr Steve Rees became headmaster in 2002. He has continued build on the foundations that make Japari the great school that it is.

Japari has always been a wonderful, special learning environment

Our commitment to our vision will not change. Our vision is for our students to be seeing, believing and achieving men and women. We will always endeavour to see these children being the best they can be.

Dr Sonia Machanick set the precedent of excellence. Japari continues to follow her example in staying on the forefront of research and modern practise. This is how we ensure that out pupils are receiving the best education for their individual needs. The education at Japari is aimed to that addresses each student’s distinct requirements.

Dr Machanick herself was an educational psychologist. She pioneered new methods of teaching children with learning difficulties. This included learners who had dyslexia.  She published a number of books on the topic of educating children with such needs. This is seeing an assisted mainstream learning environment in action.

Into the future: 2020 and beyond

To this end we are looking to the future. We have always been, and always will be, an assisted mainstream learning environment. Our specific academic goal with these children is to see them ready and prepared for high school. Research does show that having a person with more specialised learning needs benefits from such an environment. But the idea is to see these special individual needs integrating to the general mainstream settings as they progress.

Our vision isn’t just for academic success. We want to see the whole person developing to each individual’s full potential. This includes their intellectual and scholarly development. But more than that, we want to see them become who they can be on the social-interpersonal level. We also place importance on their physical exercise and development.

In keeping with the times, Japari is focusing on calling ourselves an assisted learning environment. But, as we have seen, our methods and philosophy will not change. We will always seek to help our students thrive.

Our Motto, capturing Japari’s unchanging and timeless values

There are three powerful values which guide Japari. They ensure that this school will always be an assisted mainstream learning environment of the highest calibre.

Vision: To See

Faith: To Believe

Courage: To Achieve

Bibliography/Further Reading:

http://businessmediamags.co.za/education/the-south-african-schools-collection/educating-children-who-need-added-support/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japari_School

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Machanick