Find out more how every Kairos child thrives by completing a “Find Out More” form at the bottom (or just give us a call at 011 646 6221).

Two days after our Kairos students returned to school, with a bounce in their step and a glint in their eyes: obvious joy in seeing both classmates and teachers again to see both classmates and teachers, the Department of Education released the 2023 Matric results. You can probably imagine the customary pomp and ceremony surrounding the hours of speeches. 

Angie Motshekga proudly proclaimed the 83% pass rate as a huge success, obviously ignoring the many critical dysfunctions in the South African schooling system. It makes sense to celebrate some extraordinary steps taken to confront the educational legacy of Apartheid. However it is also unreasonable to ignore the continuing inability of the government to deal with the multiple problems of the system that schools our children.

Shhh! Let’s not talk about the 2012 Grade 1s, the majority of whom did not matriculate last year. Let’s not discuss the embarrassingly low bar required to pass the South African matric. Let’s not mention the appalling standing of our country’s children in international benchmarking tests, nor that 81% of South African Grade 4s are functionally illiterate. 

But the problem is even deeper than all that. The plethora of practical, logistical problems in our education system distracts the nation from the critical weaknesses in the conceptualisation of the educational project at its core. 

Most of us at Kairos are aware of the weaknesses of even upmarket, functional schools when it comes to the perspective of an holistic educational mindset. In most schools worldwide, the emotional curriculum, the social ethos and noble qualities of character are unconsciously pushed into the shadows of a hidden curriculum. Sometimes some of this may be taught well by individual teachers but seldom is this put into practice with intention and design.

Kairos was conceived as a project to serve as an example that it is indeed possible to school a primary child with ambitious levels of academic achievement in the conventional sense, while also achieving ambitious levels of these “softer” but still critically important curriculum objectives. 

You may have read previously my celebration of the World Economic Forum’s curriculum objectives for the 21st century. Schools are generally rooted in an outdated conception of what counts as competence. And well-established schools resist change because the parent and teacher body of the school expect the anti-educational school practices to continue. Worksheets and textbooks, tests and exams, lecture-style teaching and the rote learning mindset are all the backbone of that conventional, outdated schooling system. 

In the future, I will offer some thoughts of why these conventional practices are anti-educational, and why the Kairos alternatives are educationally superior. I will consider how several practices of the conventional system are unnecessary, especially when they are unkind to children. Marshall Rosenberg, founder of the Centre of Nonviolent Communication, has observed how these practices tend to dehumanise children. 

For now, I simply wish to celebrate the ethos that lives in our school: a playground that is unusually joyful, class discussions in which pupils are unusually engaged and motivated compared to the conventional classrooms out there, and a noticeable absence of anxiety and malice, and a noticeable presence of empathy and respect for all.

~ Marc Loon, 7 February 2024

“This morning I once again felt validated in the choice we made for my daughter’s school.”

— Kairos Parent

“Fun, play, creativity and constant learning finds a mix with real empathy.”

— Kairos Parent

“Kairos School is unique in what it offers.”

— Kairos Parent

“You and your staff can be extremely proud of producing a young man of D’s calibre…”

— Paul Edey, St Johns principal

“Strong, inquiring, mind-minded individuals with heart = Kairosians! “

— Kairos parent

“The relative ease with which our two older boys have coped with the obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic brought for all of us, is to a very large extent due to the foundation they received at Kairos…”

— Kairos parent

“…highly skilled teachers…”

— Kairos Parent

“My child is so happy… I feel like I have my little girl back!”

— Kairos Parent

“Certainly the most innovative and nurturing primary school in Joburg!”

— Kairos Parent

“I’ve not seen the personal care received here anywhere else.”

— Kairos Parent