Prep-School

...more than a school, a way of life.

Somerset House is an Independent School which makes its own decisions regarding curriculum and learning, while still taking cognisance of national and international trends in education. The school is also aware of the requirements of quality assurance bodies like UMALUSI and IQAA (Independent Quality Assurance Agency), and always seeks to deliver good quality education through sound educational practice. Preparing children for a future which is changing, demands that we focus on teaching children ‘how to learn’ rather than just ‘what to learn’. Skills acquisition is thus very important while content provides context.

Somerset House engages in a process of benchmarking to ensure that standards are understood and maintained.  This in turn informs decisions regarding curriculum and staff development.

Curriculum:

Academics: Somerset House is an independent school which makes its own decisions regarding curriculum and learning, while still taking cognisance of national and international trends in education. The school is also aware of the requirements of quality assurance bodies like UMALUSI and IQAA (Independent Quality Assurance Agency), and always seeks to deliver good quality education through sound educational practice. Preparing children for a future which is changing, demands that we focus on teaching children ‘how to learn’ rather than just ‘what to learn’. Skills acquisition is thus very important while content provides context.

Somerset House engages in a process of benchmarking to ensure that standards are understood and maintained.  This in turn informs decisions regarding curriculum and staff development.

Somerset House places emphasis on language skills. This is vital as sound progress in all subject areas is dependent on strong language and communication skills. The Junior Prep (Grade 1 – 3) have adopted a phonics programme from the Oxford Reading Scheme called Floppy Phonics. This will help to enable the learning and teaching of reading and writing. A firm emphasis is also put on Guided Reading sessions to enhance the reading skills.  Mathematics is a priority subject due to its importance in further study.  Mathematics is a core learning area and there is a large emphasis on developing a solid foundation for understanding maths.  The Junior Prep makes use of workbooks which incorporates Singapore Maths skills. In the Junior Prep, children are encouraged to work collaboratively using the TASC structure. We use a three-step learning process – concrete, pictorial and abstract. Children are encouraged to both question and problem-solve.

The Natural and Social Sciences are taught through the Life Skills learning area in the JP; this is based on various themes being taught throughout the year. Enquiry-based learning is emphasised and encouraged. Natural Science is taught through a uniquely modified curriculum based on international standards, due to its importance as a choice subject in High School.  There is also a strong Social Science offering which is integrated with media, information technology and knowledge management as part of the learning experience.  A full cultural offering of Music, Art and Drama is also offered.

Physical Education: Pupils from Grade 00 through to Grade 5 participate in the Physical Education Programme at Somerset House.  Our PE staff are responsible for these sessions, which allows us the opportunity to divide the Grade into smaller groups for more beneficial results. Emphasis is placed on the following areas: water activities, ball & fitness skills, tennis and badminton skills, sportsmanship, participation, enjoyment and an understanding of general physical activities. Pupils are assessed twice a year, once at the end of the first term and once at the end of the third term. These assessments cover general fitness skills, ball skills, hand-eye co-ordination skills and levels of sportsmanship and participation. A brief sports report is available twice a year at the end of Terms 1 and 3.

Outdoor Adventure / Wacky Week: The key life skills of teamwork, communication, decision making, taking responsibility, trust and fun are all developed at Somerset House in our Outdoor Education Programme. Grades 3 – 7 will normally have one camp away from school each year and Grade 2 will have a sleep-over at school. The cost of the Outdoor Education Programme is included in the annual school fees. The level of “self-sufficiency” and the number of nights away increase with each Grade and a wide variety of experiences will have been enjoyed by the time Grade 7 is reached. Some of our camps link with the curriculum and we use our venues as bases from which to explore the local area.

Our Mission

Somerset House is an independent preparatory school that strives to provide an excellent all-round education for children preparing them thoroughly for their futures.

Our Philosophy​

Somerset House is a family school and is welcoming to all. Somerset House endeavours to teach us all to live unselfishly, considering others. Non Nobis Solum. 

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2020 Reflection of the Week Volume 41 2 December
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Mission

We are firmly committed to recognising and developing each child’s individuality and potential.

We embrace change as a challenge and an opportunity, whilst respecting tradition.

We choose to provide a unique small school environment for a stimulating and demanding academic programme, emphasising child-centred education, deep-thinking and the development of life-long learning habits. 

We are a caring, Christian based environment, where self-esteem is nurtured, initiative is encouraged and children are able to develop self-discipline while maintaining an awareness and concern for others. 

We understand the valuable role that the arts, sport, extra-mural activities and leadership play in the development of rounded children. 

We are committed to the development and retention of top quality staff and to remaining up to date with appropriate educational and technological progress. We will allocate financial resources responsibly to ensure the delivery of world-class educational standards. 

We are committed to playing our part towards building a better South Africa. 

Philosophy

Somerset House is special in that it seeks to embrace a modern, dynamic, diverse and changing world while underpinned by sound values.

Somerset House is an independent school which makes its own decisions regarding curriculum and learning, while taking cognisance of national and international trends in education.

Somerset House is a disciplined environment where effort, participation and excellence are honoured.

Somerset House has a specialness and smallness which in this day and age is quite unique. The historic buildings and natural grounds are appreciated by all.

For seventy years Somerset House has remained a caring environment based on Christian values where self-esteem is nurtured, initiative is encouraged and children are able to develop self-discipline while maintaining an awareness and concern for others.