If the idea of educating your child at home appeals to you (and your children) but you don’t have the skills, time (or patience) to take on the challenge, then Curro Online is the solution for you and your family

Curro Holdings, the country’s largest independent education provider, is launching Curro Online – the group’s first online school that offers a flexible yet structured education model, with classes taught by current Curro teachers.

All4Women editor Sasha Wyatt-Minter chatted to Curro Online Business Manager, Jay Paul, about the latest addition to the Curro education offerings.

As a mom to a high school age daughter these were the questions I wanted answered before I investigated enrolling my child: (Jay was happy to supply the following information)

1. What size online classes will Curro Online offer and will there be opportunities for smaller group ‘tutorials’?

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We will limit classes to 25 learners, and these classes will split into smaller groups of 8-10 for group discussions.

2. When will the first classes begin and when can parents register their children?

Parents can register their children today and the first classes will begin on 17 June. This will be a catch-up programme for learners who have had a ‘weak’ term two, due to the lockdown. After the July holidays, we will go straight into term three.

3. What grades are being offered by Curro Online this year?

The school will be English-medium and initially offer Grades 4 to 9, with new grades being phased in every year. Learners in matric will write the IEB examinations.

4. The big question: What will the (monthly) fees be?

R3500 per month for primary school learners and R4000 per month for high school (Grades 8 and 9). This excludes learning materials.

5. Many parents feel that online schooling means that their children miss out on playing at school, and especially team sport? How does Curro Online compensate for this?

All Curro Online registered learners will have access to extra-curricular sports programmes and facilities at their nearest Curro physical school,

6. The information published in the media stated that access to an educational psychologist will be offered. Is there an extra cost to this service?

Yes, there is an extra charge for this service, just like the extra charges for music lessons etc. at schools.

(Note: Medical aid members can claim for consultations by registered Educational Psychologists)

Focus on Maths, Science, Coding and Robotics to prepare learners for the 21st century

“We’ve been developing our digital education offering for some time now, which is evident with our recently launched DigiEd model. As part of the design process, we decided to rethink how home schooling and distance learning is currently being offered. We set out to understand the frustrations of parents, and the learner, and how best to serve them and came up with a different proposition,” says Paul.

“One such concern is that most homeschooling solutions do not prepare the learners for the technology-heavy 21st Century, and hence we focused our curriculum on Maths, Science, Coding and Robotics.

“As Covid-19 continues to impact our country, we also identified a need among parents who are struggling to juggle home-schooling with their own work, or are looking for an online programme that will still give their children access to class-time with qualified teachers. Many parents are also concerned about sending their children back to school once schools reopen, especially those with immune-compromised family members living in the same household. Curro Online is a response to all these pressing needs,” says Paul.

Curro Online is not a homeschooling model

Paul stresses that Curro Online is not a homeschooling model, where parents need to take on the responsibility of teaching and continuous supervision. It is a learn-from-home online model that is aligned with Curro’s enhanced CAPS curriculum.

The model’s online material is created and taught by Curro teachers

There is a structured timetable in place for the learner who needs structure, as well as the option to be flexible for those who work well at their own pace. The timetable includes teachers initiating each class, and guiding learners through pre-set material on the online platform.

The parent thus assumes a smaller supervisory role similar to the role they would normally fill (e.g. checking that the learner has done their homework), and can rest assured that the academic process is taken care of by the Curro teachers.

“The teaching model combines flexible learning through pre-set learning material on our learning platform, with live interaction whereby learners can ask teachers for help and also receive detailed feedback on their progress,” he says.

For parents who would like greater flexibility in their child’s life, the Curro Online platform has an easy-to-follow curriculum with a variety of video material, recorded live lessons and other learning material.

“Each learner can choose which material best suits their learning preference, and then complete a variety of assignments and assessments for us to test their understanding,” adds Paul.

Unlike other online schooling options that rely on a rotation schedule of tutors, Curro Online will be taught by a dedicated Curro teacher per subject, per grade, for the whole year. Having dedicated teachers for each learner allows them to actively track the progress of the learner and intervene pro-actively when needed.

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As with all Curro models, the focus is on the holistic development of the learner

The learners will not study in isolation, but rather in small classes. They will also have group projects assigned to them, where projects will be done in small groups of four. Through such projects, they will learn the skills of coordinating projects in a virtual work-from-home world that we find ourselves in.

Extra-curricular activities will be available at existing Curro campuses, and Curro Online learners will also have access to an educational psychologist for virtual consultations, if needed.

“We believe this model is ideal for families who wish to provide a high-quality independent school education for their child, and have the flexibility to return them to a physical school with little disruption to their academic career at any point in the future. Our model ensures that parents can continue to focus on their work commitments and all other responsibilities, and take off the pressure to teach their children. And, of course, it’s an affordable independent education model, which is what Curro’s vision is based on.”

Curro Online is a viable solution for the growing need of parents to ensure their child’s academic career is not disrupted by current world events. It is a solution that aligns with the needs of the fourth industrial revolution, and will prepare the learners for a technology-rich future, where work-from-home possibly becomes the norm.

For more information, visit www.curro.co.za or email info.online@curro.co.za