Members of the Keller Education Team recently had the wonderful opportunity to invite a group of 33 Principals from the Netherlands to visit one of our Partner Schools, Paarl Boys Primary and of course, show off!
The Dutch Principals Group, lead by our friends at Onderwijs Maak Je Samen hold an annual visit to South Africa which involves a cultural experience as well as educational visits to leading schools who are doing something unique/different. They have also developed a wonderful connection with the Principals Academy. Furthermore, the group tours into the very poorest of regions in our country to understand the challenges, and state of education in poverty.
The Principals tend to also ensure they find time to explore the beauty of the Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia Wine Route.
The visit to Paarl Boys Primary School was a fantastic experience which took place on ‘Bok Friday’ before the World Cup Final. The principals were blown away by the way in which a sport can unite a country. The flags, green jerseys and electric energy in the school hallways was tangible.
After their arrival, Principal Henco Bester shared a wonderful opening address. He welcomed the Principals and shared input on the type of unique experiences they would see when they walked into the classrooms.
I had discussions with a number of the Dutch Principals throughout the day, and recorded their feedback below:
“These learners are incredibly well mannered. They stand up when they speak to you. They greet you. They want to ask you how you are. And it’s not one or two, it’s all of them.”
“I love the sense of joy in this school. The children seem so happy to be here.”
“The single sex (Boys school) model intrigues me. I am fascinated how without the girls, the boys seem more willing to be heard, and make mistakes…and I love that the competition drives them.”
“It was powerful to see children of so many cultures, languages and races working together in the same classroom receiving equal opportunity.”
“The way you involve your entire community in the school is evident in the way the school looks and feels.”
After the tour, the group decided to sneak in and watch the junior choir. The choir performed the most incredible songs for the visitors. Many of the principals were in ‘happy tears’ as they watched and listened.
The heartfelt emotion continued with a Q&A with Mr Henco Bester and his team at the end of the session. Several of the principals were interested to know how schools like Paarl Boys can be replicated around the country.
Mr Bester shared his heart and desire to ‘do more’ and touch as many lives as possible. Gavin Keller echoed this sentiment, shared the challenges which leaders face in the public-school space, and the willingness to keep going, keep making a difference and to not allow outside influence to disrupt progress.
All in all, this was a day neither the Dutch or Keller staff would forget any time soon.
Keller Education is incredibly proud to be partnered with such a dynamic, forward thinking school.