As a school with a Christian foundation, the staff and students work in an environment based on strong values, spiritual development and a commitment to community service – all of which play a fundamental role in the development of responsible, caring individuals. At Somerset College we endeavour to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment where young people are guided by teachers of calibre to develop self-awareness and positive relationships. We endeavour to provide each child with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills to equip them to adapt and flourish in an ever-changing world. We hope that our school community will always contribute to their world with dignity.
The Pre-Preparatory School is literally the foundation phase of the school, the first building block in the education of a child, and caters for children from the age of 4 (Grade 000) in the protected and safe surroundings of our little school, to the reception classes (Grade R), where the 6 year olds are prepared for Grade 1 of the Preparatory School.
Somerset College offers extra mural activities such as Ball Skills, Kinetics and Swimming as well as an extensive arts and crafts programme in order to promote all aspects of physical development. Outdoor play and the use of large apparatus, wheeled toys, water and sand play is part of the daily programme.
This learning area is divided into two components: fine motor and gross motor development. Gross motor development refers to the activities that stimulate and strengthen the development of large muscles to facilitate balance, coordination, locomotion and builds core strengths. Fine motor development focuses on the small muscles required for manipulating small objects and tool. However, attention is also given to aspects of physical development that affect gross and fine motor development, such as laterality, dominance, core strength, crossing the midline and coordination.
Somerset College Preparatory forms part of the greater Somerset College campus. Surrounded by vineyards and imposing mountain views, the campus has a wholesome country feel, where children are nurtured and develop in safe surroundings. The Preparatory School was established in January 2001 with approximately 100 children who came from Mountain View Preparatory School in Somerset West. Since then the school has expanded and we now have 520 students. Somerset College Preparatory strives to give each child the best possible education in the broadest sense of the word. Our philosophy towards teaching and life is encapsulated in our code of conduct (which was drawn up by the founding students) which is founded on a strong Christian ethos, with an emphasis on respect, tolerance, courtesy and self-discipline. We encourage our students to do their best in every task, whether easy or difficult. We stimulate and stretch them in an academic sense, and give them the opportunity to try their hand at a range of sporting and cultural activities.
Computer lessons in the Preparatory School begin in Grade R, with students in subsequent years learning basic Microsoft Office skills which enable them to conduct internet research and produce Word documents, PowerPoint slide shows and Excel spreadsheets. In conjunction with the library, research skills are taught which are essential when putting together tasks and projects. The ongoing upgrading of teaching facilities in the classroom is a priority. All classrooms function with network connectivity, data projectors and white boards which make lessons very interactive, alive and interesting.
Catering for 570 students from Grades 8 to 12, Somerset College Senior School is a happy, dynamic learning community. Of the approximately 110 Grade 8 students enrolled annually, almost 50% come from our own Preparatory School (bearing in mind that there are only two Grade 7 classes and four Grade 8 classes) and the balance from other local and regional schools.
The academic staff recognise the development of the whole child as being of vital importance. As such, all staff are expected to contribute to the extra-mural and co-curricular programmes of the school. This ensures that our educational offering is not only broad, but extensive, and is able to identify a sphere in which every student is able to showcase their particular talents, whether they lie in the cultural, sporting, social or leadership arenas.
The role of physical development in contributing to the emotional growth of teenagers is of paramount importance. All students are required to play a sport, with the emphasis being both on participation and excellence.
Independent Examination Board
Our Matriculants are prepared for the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) matriculation, an independent South African body which caters for the majority of better-resourced independent or private schools in Southern Africa. Internationally benchmarked, it is a rigorous vehicle for ensuring the maintenance of high standards. As a result of our involvement with the IEB, our staff are in the privileged position of being able to network with like-minded IEB members, giving the school a strong, competitive edge.
Culture, in the form of music, art, drama and debating, is given a high priority in the school. Up to 50% of all students play a musical instrument, and public performance and exposure to all of the cultural pursuits is strongly encouraged.