Raising conservationists, not poachers

The N/a’ankusê Primary School offers a unique teaching environment while preserving the San culture and creating a safe and conducive learning environment.

16 February 2021 | Education

Mariselle Stofberg

The vision of the N/a’ankusê Primary School is to equip the N/a’ankusê community’s children with fundamental skills and knowledge to empower them to contribute to society in their future endeavours.

Rieta-Marie Brandt, the principal, says they believe education and personal growth are not limited to academics, but should also occur in the physical, social and emotional domains. “We strive to provide the children of N/a’ankusê with a comprehensive education curriculum, to develop our children in all areas,” she says.

Their goals include providing the farm employees’ children with quality primary school education, to instil the culture of excellence of N/a’ankusê in their learners and help to identify opportunities for learners to help them develop as outstanding citizens.

They further hope to equip the San children with English to enable them to express themselves and develop leadership qualities.

The internal systems and structures of the school are conducted within a framework of Christian principles.

Holistic development

“We will also follow strict discipline structures, to ensure a safe climate for learners to reach their full potential. Teachers and other staff members will also plan and function to the best interest of a child, which is to help each child develop not only in the academic domain, but also in the social-emotional, physical and spiritual domains. Thus, we follow a holistic development approach,” Brandt adds.

At the N/a’ankusê Primary School, the main language of instruction is English. As from grade 1, English as language of tuition will be phased in to ensure an easy transition from the learner’s mother tongue to English. All work, class activities and assessments will be conducted in English.

Afrikaans will be additionally taught as a foreign language as from grade 4 for communication purposes.

The school uses the National Namibian Curriculum as a guideline with integrated, adapted and additional ‘specialised’ education to suit the context of the learners’ culture and environment.

What sets the school apart is their sustainability curriculum with the aim of nurturing a conservation mindset in their learners.

“At N/a’ankusê, we wish to equip our learners with knowledge and practical skills on sustainable living, which would enrich their lives and contribute to our conservation way of live. The curriculum will consist of three main themes, which will include gardening and livestock, recycling and science projects. In all three themes, learners will be taught practical skills relevant to the respective theme. Some of these skills include gardening, design and building, cooking, practical application of mathematics and livestock care,” Brandt adds.

Cultural activities

The school also prides itself in its cultural activities where the San culture is nurtured and preserved to fight the disappearance of this rich, ancient culture.

“All our learners are taught the ancient skills by our very own San employees once a week. The learning experience is practical, conducted out in the field. All learners have a music and/or dance class once a week and identified individual learners will receive additional music/dance training,” Brandt says.

The school will also have school concerts, both formal and informal, throughout the year, giving learners opportunities to develop their talents and share them with others.

The school further emphasises the importance of physical development, which they believe is essential to a child’s growth and development. Physical activities and sport will be conducted for all learners twice a week and identified learners will join the sports teams of Windhoek Gymnasium.

Other identified learners will also have gymnastics training at Chalk Gymnastics and Performance Training.

Maretha Snyman will act as the head of department (HOD) for Early Childhood Development for children from the ages three to five. Yvette Mouton will be the HOD for the junior primary for learners from grade 1 to 3 and Loraine Kotze will be the HOD for the senior primary phase for learners from grade 4 to 7.

Th school will also have intern teachers as assistant teachers, working under the HODs. These teachers are involved at the school on a yearly basis, after which new intern teachers are appointed. They also have teachers’ assistants who can speak the children’s mother tongue, helping the teachers with the pre-school, grade 0 and grade 1 learners who struggle to understand English.

The school hopes to create a new generation of nature conservationists who will continue to build on the work done by N/a’ankusê.

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