fun learn play create
Life is our classroom
Living is our curriculum
Loving is our teacher
The world is our classroom and the things we do teach us what, where and why we need to know as we grow.
Children – human beings – are born free to love life, to know themselves and their worth as unique and self-reliant individuals who can self govern and make independent decisions plus take responsibility for those decisions. And to follow their dreams and hearts, plus be in service of others through their examples and actions. This may or may not include an academic syllabus.
We have a mix of learners between ages 4 – 19 sharing an intimate space for maximum 30 full-time and part-time kids, averaging 6-8 kids per facilitator. We learn from and about life in a non-adversarial environment, encouraging cooperation rather than competition, and embrace free choice with responsibility.
Our Learning Center is an alternative school offering a unique and loving space for homeschooling and unschooling / Self-directed Education (SDE) children to interact and socialize in, and with, an environment that allows for freedom and independence, promotes self-discipline in a casually implicit way, and is surrounded by nature and peace.
Our acitivities are inclusive of modern day technology and hands-on creativity. We are not anti-devices, we embrace modern means of communication as a useful tool for learning, and encourage balance.
Acitivies include – but are not limited to – photography; music; drama; online desktop music programming; spoken word poetry and hiphop visual and performance art; creative writing; woodwork such as tree-house building; sculpture; ceramics/clay work/pottery; painting; drawing, baking; sewing and reading. We do online learning; gaming and programming; social networking; Parkour; physical games and sports; horse riding lessons and all things equestrian; environmental activities focused on food foresting, freerange chickens, beekeeping, wild nutritional and medicinal food foraging (mushrooms, herbs, weeds, plants, fruits, berries, seeds, nuts, roots etc), conservation and self-reliance missions. We practise servant leadership, are members of Assagay Conservancy and Madwala Nature Reserve, and host a Free Fridays Volunteers for Self-Reliance programme weekly.
Individual and group councelling are formally and informally addressed through play and individual sessions where needed.
We focus on social outreach and service to our community, reaching out to all animals including two legged humans as well as four- and no-legged critters. We do animal trap/snare sweeps regularly, do waste management in our community, learn animal husbandry, yard maintenance, animal rescue and relocation, and caring for our animal, plant and fungi kingdoms all round.
An abundance of climbing trees, a large conservancy with loads of wild life, river, forest and dams become children’s hang outs and learning places. Our space is constantly evolving as the learners interact with it. They take responsibility for, and participate in making it their own.
A large resource library of books, lego, educational board games and cards for children offer more playtime exploration and life skills development.
Uncapped, superfast internet is included in the fees.
We are not a school, we are an environmentally sound, real world community centre for real life learning. The learning process here is mostly self-paced and self-directed. As facilitators, we guide, mentor, encourage and inspire, not force or control.
FORMAL & INFORMAL CURRICULUM:
Informal, project-based, experiential learning is our core service combined with offline as well as online reflection upon that experience.
We also offer state of the art online learning for learners who want to compliment their learning experience with a more formal curriculum alongside our informal creative, environmental and other extra curricular activities.
Animalia Learning Center operates as a democracy: The children participate in making the rules for the center.
Communication, relationship and expression is key in daily life. Problem solving and any issues that arise are dealt with as a group and fleshed out together, or extended to individual councelling sessions.
Our daily program combines a structured time-table blended with informal activities. Among others, we do light daily warm-ups with movement and physical games, brain gym etc. Each process intends to facilitate children’s freedom of expression, holistic development and grounding.
We use accredited service providers for online learning curricula. DTO Learning is our primary service provider which we highly recommend for kids keen on a solid, inspiring and relevant academic experience to compliment their whole learning adventure at Animalia LC. DTO offers the highly acclaimed Cambridge syllabus dished up with passion and excellence. Then there is also Think Digital College for the CAPS and a version of Cambridge syllabus from Grade R – 12, GED Online for the US syllabus ages 16 upwards doing matric, and others. Chat to us about what’s best for your unique child/ren and their interests.
Learners bring their own laptop, tablet or I-pad.
“We do not teach. We create an environment that inspires learning” – Einstein
We facilitate their daily learning and we do not teach or act as a replacement for school in the conventional sense. We offer a caring facility and provide the infrastructure for a registered distance learning curriculum which learners can complete when parents can’t supervise them during the day. It is still the parents’ responsibility to monitor their child’s progress, in partnership with us.
Programs like Think Digital College offer online tutor support at an added cost. If this is not sufficient for your child, then extra after care tutoring can be arranged by the center in addition to the set fees.
UNSCHOOLERS aka SELF-DIRECTED LEARNERS:
Children who do not wish to enroll with any of these online programs, such as unschoolers or those working with alternate programmes, bring additional materials from home or research their passions here. This could include learning materials or projects of their own making, games or books. We focus mainly on numeracy and literacy, creativity (music, visual and dramatic arts), nature immersion, conservation, self-reliance, eco-farming and animal husbandy. There are many informal learning programmes and materials that can work with this approuch, such as Fun-Schooling with their range of context appropriate books. We do create our own learning materials also as we go, using experiential learning with note taking as our way to cover numeracy and literacy on the move, naturally.
The center is managed by Niko van Rensburg and partner Simone, qualified and SACE registered teachers with tertiary qualifications and with 30 years’ experience respectively in education on all levels/grades and in all different kinds of schools – from government to private, rural to prison schools. Qualified and experienced specialist facilitators as well as parents in academics, physical acitivities, mentorship, life skills and creativity assist us with passion, beauty and compassion.
We have been homeschooling our own children since 2014.
We are located in the magical Valley Of A Thousand Hills, Kwazulu-Natal at 14A Clement Stott Road, Assagay, Hillcrest, Upper Highway.
Contact us to come see and try out the experience for yourselves.
Gates open daily at 8:30am and close at 2pm. Learners officially attend 9am-1.30pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and afternoons accommodate additional extra murals, extra lessons and related activities.
Fees are applicable to 4 days per week, Mondays to Thursdays. Friday attendance (9am to 12pm) is free and optional, no fees are charged, and it is a volunteer programme engaging our learners and community members in experiential hands on self-reliance projects ongoing at the centre.
Details for different packages and days per week can be downloaded from THIS PAGE – SEE Download Fees and Registration Form BUTTON below.
Usual rate R330/day per child ad hoc and try out when without parents. With parents helping facilitate it’s R50 per child p/day. For full time (Mon -Thurs, R4 200 monthly @ R262.50/day), R1 300 monthly for once a week @ R325/day and everything inbetween. Fridays are free for all to join our Free Fridays Volunteers For Self-reliance programme.
Siblings discount is available on request, and fees are adjustable according to parents’ budget – please speak to us for a win-win solution as we would love to acommodate everyone if possible .