At Kairos, we fulfil overall national curriculum requirements, and transcend them, by enabling our students to acquire in-depth, textured understanding of material. Our students in the upper grade write international benchmark assessments via the local Independent Examination Board (IEB).
Since our inception in 2011, we have developed our own holistic, whole child pedagogy, constituting an ever-renewing process refinement. Our methods are based on a variety of educational methodologies from around the world, as well as our own in-house innovations, all rooted in solid educational theory.
Our curriculum framework balances the head (cognitive), heart (affective) and hand (cognitive) aspects of the child’s learning needs through a threefold learning journey, which we conceptualise as three sets of parallel values.
INTEGRITY: We model personal integrity through practising inquiry, honesty and
MASTERY: We aspire for all-rounded mastery, practising diligence and initiative, and
by loving the experience of learning.
HARMONY: We teach social and emotional intelligence by modelling empathy, self-awareness and a passion for collaboration.
This holistic framework helps us to maintain our integrity as a caring and coherent educational institution and conscious and living community. This threefold and integrated process of personal development is relevant for adults too, and indeed, we apply most of what we teach to our students to ourselves as school staff, and we host workshops for parents with similar content as well.
Worldwide, there is a growing awareness that rigid standardised tests tend to create rote learning and a superficial understanding while threatening a child’s motivation to learn. Our school system and teaching methods confront this rigidity. We use Philosophy for Children (P4C), inquiry-based teaching and continuous assessment methods instead of the conventional “cycle tests.” We postpone the formal test experience, introducing it gradually over several years from Grade 4 to 7.
The result is that our graduates enter high school as confident, creative, resilient and emotionally mature young men and women. They aspire for a genuine, in-depth understanding of academic content instead of just seeking to merely acquire a good exam result. They will have had years of practice in critical thinking where their opinions and ideas are requested, listened
to, and heard.
Several of our graduates have excelled in a measurable way upon arrival in high school. This has included a Maths scholarship and another academic scholarship for Grade 8, and top Grade 8 academic results from several of our graduates. Our students have even earned top awards in Eisteddford Art competitions, the AMESA Maths Challenge and Eskom Science Expo, and
enjoyed solo parts on the theatre stage.
We prepare our students for any high school of their choice, and several of our parents who have moved out of the city or country have intentionally sought out a school that aligns closely with the ethos and culture of inquiry we have achieved in Kairos.
Another way we achieve the conventional curriculum outcomes in an innovative way is our approach to school subjects. We teach each school subject through theme-based learning journeys that last approximately a month long. Certain subjects like maths and the languages are studied continuously through the year and in each theme as part of our weekly timetable, but other subjects of the national curriculum — such as the Natural Sciences, Economic Management Science, Social Sciences (History and Geography) and Technology — are taught via our month-long themes. The visual and dramatic arts are integrated into the other lessons.
The result is that lessons are invariably more meaningful. Our non-reliance of textbooks also impels the teachers to be creative, especially in the way they can adapt their lesson-plans midway through the theme, according to the interests and ideas of their students. This requires highly skilled teachers, which is why we are particularly careful in selecting our teaching staff at Kairos.
At Kairos, our passion is to nurture the amateur love of play. We have developed a coherent 8-year Phys-Ed learning pathway beginning with playground games and transitioning naturally towards formal skills of competitive sports.
Our Phys Ed and Sports curriculum is intrinsic to our educational programme. We focus on physical development (body awareness, sensory integration, agility and mobility), as well as helping our students practise qualities of character like sportsmanship and teamwork.
We also integrate our Phys Ed curriculum with carefully selected sports during the year so that the students are able to acquire a broad set of sports-based skills throughout their journey at Kairos. Because we are a small school, we don’t offer inter-team sports, which in itself enhances the feeling of cooperation over competition at our school. We do, however, enable the children
to learn the physical skills required in a variety of sports as part of their journey with us — including swimming, basketball, netball, soccer, and racket sports.
We expect our students to join two extramurals, including at least one physical sport activity, but are flexible about this as we are aware that some of our students choose to participate in more competitive sports clubs outside Kairos.
We incorporate art and beauty into all lessons. Our school day includes a choir of multicultural songs, as well as some choral poetry and recorder recitals. Children have access to a wide ranging library as the love of reading is encouraged through our book club, theme-based reading tasks, and exploration of age-appropriate fiction.
Whichever academic theme they are engaging in, we ask our students to illustrate their work visually and artistically. In this way, we enable our students to acquire aesthetic awareness, make an effort at achieving beauty with their work, and practise their visual art skills.
We also celebrate a variety of home-made, multicultural festivals throughout the year, for example: Tu-Bishvat Tree Celebration, Purim-Holi Fun Day, the Kairos Eid-al-Fitr Food Festival, Halloween-Diwali Festival and the Kairos Olympics. We aim to be conscious of events in all cultures’ and religions’ calendars, as well as important or interesting secular events.