Merle McDonald Assistant

Dee Hilton Teacher

Sharks 5 - 6 yrs

We follow the CAPS Grade R curriculum.

Key learning areas for the Grade R’s are language maths and life skills. As we follow the CAPS curriculum, this is set out by the Department of Education and covers all areas. We learn the initial sounds of the alphabet, rhyming words and the last sound of words. By the end of the year the children can blend and read 3 letter words.

I continuously extend the children’s language and grammar by allowing them to describe objects or pose questions for each other. For example: When looking at a picture, they will ask questions like “Where is the boy with the red shirt? He is sitting beside the girl with the yellow dress”.

We learn the numerals and number words from 1 – 20 but some children are able to identify numbers beyond 20. I place emphasis on understanding numbers and the concepts. The children can count to 100 but it doesn’t mean they understand numbers. We start with basic sums by using concrete objects and the children use them to make sets or numbers equal, more or less.

Life skill’s is a large area and doesn’t just include music, movement and drama. It embraces all of our learning and allows children to develop independently and at their own pace. This encourages them to be confident and independent within a school environment.

The Grade R children enjoy art and educational games. They are very strict within themselves to follow the house rules. The girls explore all the area’s freely, while the boys tend to enjoy box construction, play dough, and often need to be encouraged to extend their boundaries.  The girls love to make flowers, handbags and puppets, while the boys like to make cars, aeroplanes and buildings. They make amazing structures using 3 shape blocks and this type of play tests their life skills, as it requires give and take and the ability to share and work co-operatively. Outdoors they all enjoy the climbing equipment, fantasy games, sports and riding on the scooters and wagons.

In Grade R our aim is to prepare the children socially and emotionally for big school. We want them to enjoy school and have a desire to learn. We try to encourage them to be independent and self reliant allowing them to take care of their belongings, packing their own bags, and working together to tidy up. Through continuous practise and reward, I hope to develop their confidence – through this I also teach the basic maths and language skills required in Grade 1.

At the beginning of the year we discuss the rules of the school and our classroom. The children are actively involved in drawing up our house rules. We discuss why we have each rule and I focus on positive behaviour. I reward and praise good behaviour during group work – through this the children are made aware of their behaviour and they respond by sitting quietly and listening. When children are not listening or doing what they should be doing, I ask them a question about their behaviour. If a child refuses to comply I use time away from the rest of the group for a few minutes, and ask them if they want to join again. We have a super star chart with a peg for each child. When they work well or listen attentively, they put their peg on the super star. We seldom have to use the grumpy stormy cloud.

I have a 4 year HDE qualification for the Foundation phase and have over 30 years experience teaching both locally and internationally. I have mainly taught Grade R children, but have had experience with teaching Grade 1 and 2 in an international school in Dubai.

I am the youngest of 5 daughters and was born in Cape Town. I left in 1973 and have since lived in Johannesburg, KZN, England and Dubai. I have one son who lives in England and in February he had his first child, also a son. I enjoy cooking and baking with the children – and I am afraid of reptiles, so please don’t ever bring a chameleon to my class!

My family is very special to me. I am lucky to have my dad of 91 living near me in Fish Hoek and I have lots of nieces and nephews. They too have children so when we get together our family gatherings are really big. I am married to a wonderful man and through him gained another instant family. My husband has a son and daughter who are both married and between them we have 6 grandsons. They keep us entertained and very busy when they are here on holiday. I love listening to the children’s stories and watching them play. I enjoy both indoor and outdoor games.

The class reps for the Sharks class are:

  • Stacey-Lee Williamson