Qualified Teachers
St Martin's offers a 3 year programme catering for children aged 3 to 6 years old, in 4 classes.

Grade R Classes 5/6 year olds Red and/or Orange Group Grade 0
       
Middle Groups 4/5 year olds Blue and/or Green Group Grade 00
       
Younger Groups 3/4 year olds Yellow and/or Purple Group Grade 000

The professionally trained teachers have specialised in early childhood education and have insight into the developmental needs of young children. They aim to encourage and guide children to realise their potential intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and creatively. The teachers are committed to providing a warm, caring environment where your child will feel safe, secure and happy. Each class is staffed by a qualified teacher and a qualified full-time assistant. This ensures that the children have individual attention whilst allowing them to adapt to and work in a group environment.

Registration
St Martin's Pre-Primary School is an independent school registered with the Independent Schools' Association of Southern Africa, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and Culture and the Department of Social Development. High standards are maintained and teachers keep abreast of the latest educational trends. The School has public benefit organisation status, i.e. it is non-profit making.

Superior Educational Programme
A well-researched programme, which is planned and organised carefully, is offered. Structured teacher-directed and free-choice play periods promote concept formation, language development, pre-reading, pre-writing and pre-maths skills, confidence, self-discipline, problem-solving, social skills, etc. Age-appropriate lessons include the following:

In exploring Music, the children learn about timbre/quality of sound, dynamics/loud and soft, pitch/high and low, tempo and notation, etc. These musical concepts are discovered through song, movement, instrumentation, verbal dynamics and creative activity.
 
Functional Movement lessons promote muscular control and co-ordination, whilst consolidating intellectual concepts, e.g. body image, locomotion, eye-hand co-ordination, eye-foot co-ordination, ball skills, balance, climbing, etc.
 
In Expressive Movement and Dance, the children use the body, how it moves, where it moves and how it moves in relationship with other individuals and groups in investigation.
 
In Drama rings, the children dramatise a story, an event, an emotional experience, a fantasy scenario or a problem situation; the focus being the communication of ideas and feelings through words, sounds, actions and role play.
 
Object Studies allow children to develop analytical skills whilst examining familiar objects. Language advancement is one of the most important aspects of early childhood education; our programme fosters the acquisition of vocabulary as well as the children's ability to articulate, to express their understanding and to use language creatively.
 
Stories and Puppet Shows further enhance language skills and teachers illustrate these enjoyable experiences with pictures, charts, real objects and puppets - and lots of drama and theatrical sound effects!
 
Zulu is also offered.

Active learning is encouraged and children explore and learn in various ways, i.e. discovering with the five senses, working with real objects, playing educational games, interpreting posters and expressing conceptual understanding through artwork; thereby allowing each child to progress in his/her own way and at his/her own pace.

The curriculum is presented progressively, with the children building upon past experience, in a hands-on, fun and age-appropriate manner - lots of movement, action and noise! For example: lessons for 3/4 year olds will be of 15-20 minutes duration whilst lessons for the Reception Class/Grade R will be of 20-30 minutes duration.

Child-Centred Environment
Our School has its own distinctive character, built in the crypt of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. Each nook and cranny has been utilised to provide an enriching environment for our pupils. The following play opportunities are offered:

1. Outdoor play which includes sand and water play, climbing, cycling, etc.
2. Fantasy play involving "dressing up" and role play.
3. Creative play like painting, collage, dough modelling, cutting and sticking, etc.
4. Cognitive play/problem-solving with puzzles, educational games, construction kits and blocks. Computers are also offered to introduce children to the exciting and dynamic field of information technology.

All equipment is selected and arranged carefully by the teachers to encourage the development of the "whole" child.

Safety
Strict standards are applied to ensure the safety and health of the children. Each play area is structured and supervised by a teacher. Members of staff are trained in first aid. Emergency drills are practised regularly.

Parental Involvement
The on-going progress of each child is monitored carefully. Staff believe in maintaining a strong link between School and home, and offer comprehensive feedback to parents through interviews, detailed reports and parent evenings.
(The School prides itself on the early identification of learning difficulties. The Reception Class/Grade R pupils are tested for "school readiness".)
Parents are invited to become involved in the management of the School by serving on the Governing Body, on the Parents' Association Committee or on other sub-committees which serve the School.


Management of the School
St Martin's was established in 1975 as an initiative of St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. A close link is maintained with the Church to this day. The School is governed by a committee made up of representatives nominated by the Church and parents. The Rector and Principal also serve on this committee. The ethos of the School is Christian but tolerance, acceptance and respect of other religions are upheld; children of all cultures are admitted to the School.

Preparation for Formal Schooling
The well-rounded Reception Class/Grade R Programme prepares the child for the challenges of Grade 1. It covers all the necessary pre-school skills; concepts which are explored include Body Image, the Five Senses, Colour, Shape, Positions in Space, Number, etc. The emergent skills of pre-writing, pre-reading and pre-numeracy are promoted whilst developing the ability to work independently, complete set tasks, concentrate for reasonable periods of time, solve problems creatively, etc. The Reception Class/Grade R is further extended through life skills outings in the community and children also explore a Language Programme in preparation for formal reading and writing.

Close links are maintained with local primary schools, in order to facilitate the child's transition to formal schooling.


Waiting List
Application to go on the Waiting List shall be accompanied by a non-refundable deposit. This amount is determined by the Governing Body from time to time.
The St Martin's enrolment is 144 (Two classes in each of the three grades, Grade 000, Grade 00 and Grade R). This means that the pupil:teacher ratio is 12:1, with a teacher and dedicated teacher’s assistant in every class. 48 new places are offered in Grade 000 each year.
The Grade 00 classes are made up of children who have been promoted at the end of their first year at the School. Children in the Grade R/Reception Classed have completed Grade 000 and Grade 00 at St Martin’s.
Infrequent places are, however, sometimes offered in the Middle Groups and Reception Classes, owing to transfers or emigration.

The following procedure is followed when places are offered to prospective pupils:

1. The Waiting List is consulted. It is the responsibility of parents to advise the School of any changes to address and/or telephone number.
2. The siblings of past or present pupils are given first preference.
3. However, it should be noted that if a child leaves St Martin’s at the end of their Grade 000 or Grade 00 year (to go to Grade R at another local school), their following siblings shall not be given automatic enrolment. Said child/ren shall be placed on the Waiting List in order of age on application, as is the normal custom with all children whose parents make application to the School.
4. Thereafter, children are selected, in strict order, according to their age on date of application. An attempt is also made to balance the ratio of boys and girls.
5. Places are offered telephonically in the first term of the year before your child is due to start school.
6. In the second term of the same year you will receive written notification. Written acceptance of the place must be received within one month of receipt of the School's letter, accompanied by a deposit.
7. In the third term, a Parents' Orientation Evening and parent interviews will be scheduled for the parents of prospective pupils.
8. Refusal letters will be sent out at the end of the third term. Parents may, however, still be offered a place for their child in the event of transfers, changes of circumstances, etc.
9. New pupils are invited to an Orientation Day in the fourth term, in order to familiarise them with the School prior to entry the following year.

Historically, St Martin's admissions were determined by the early application age of children. This trend is changing, however, as many parents put their children's names down at a number of schools. It is, therefore, worthwhile to make late application.

Please note:
Junior Primary Schools in the Durban North area follow the Admissions Criteria as laid down by the Department of National Education. This states that children living in the area are accepted ahead of those from out of the area. Attendance at St Martin's Pre-Primary School does not, therefore, automatically ensure placement at all schools. Nevertheless, girls at our School are given guaranteed acceptance at Our Lady of Fatima Convent School and boys and girls shown preferential consideration for placement into Grade 1 at Northlands Primary School and Chelsea Preparatory, provided that parents respect and meet the dictated conditions for acceptance, including the payment of fees.



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