Why I love being on staff at The Vine School

Our staff speak about working at the school and how the philosophy has influenced them and their families.

Management Team

Virtual tour of The Vine School

Ian Smith / Principal

It is refreshing to serve in a school where the "how" of educational practice is guided by the "why" of a consistent educational philosophy. This philosophy is based on the view that children are naturally curious; they want to know.  

"Children  want to learn and to know."

I love seeing teachers and parents working together, nurturing and guiding children to bring about growth in character and knowledge.

This is true education, and I am blessed and grateful to be part of it!

Gina Smith / Deputy Principal

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holderIt's been an absolute joy to be part of the Ambleside family where children are seen as persons and respected as God's image bearers. The Vine School has contributed to my own growth, and it has been a blessing to observe growth in others. The philosophy continues to challenge me personally and has broadened my view of education and of people. At The Vine School, we grow together - young and old - partnering with families and colleagues in this Christ-like way of raising children to be like Him.

Jean Louw / Head of Preschool and Grade 1

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

As a teacher and parent I was struck by Charlotte Mason’s statement ‘Children are born persons’. This simple but profound idea produces an atmosphere of acceptance where every child feels valued. We view them as whole persons, created in God's image, with unique potential to be nurtured.  It is a privilege to be at a school where I am part of shaping children's characters, curiosity and love for learning as well as deepening their relationships with God, others, and the world around them.  

Teachers

Tanya Adey / Grade 1

The Vine School is like a big family and I love the relational way in which we teach and really get to know each one of our pupils. It is a privilege to be able to pray for and with each other every day, and to nurture kindness and genuine care for one another. Even if there are occasionally  disagreements or unkind words, we teach the children how to resolve issues peacefully. They learn how to say sorry properly and how to give and receive forgiveness. In this world where so much emphasis is on doing things for yourself it is fulfilling to see these good traits developing in the children who come through my class.

Bernadette Williams / Grade RR

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

What I enjoy about teaching at this school is the individual attention that is given to each and every child in the classroom. This offers a safe avenue for the child to express his ideas, explore new things and most importantly, to be himself. Our children are educated for a life of responsive discipleship in Jesus Christ. The Bible is at the centre of the curriculum and all subjects are taught from a Christian perspective. As the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

Carrie Gie / Grade R

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

I started teaching at The Vine School as an Intern, learning under an experienced preschool teacher.  I immediately saw the benefit in teaching using the Ambleside method, encouraging children to know that with practice and effort, they can take pride in their work. Our job as teachers is to always expect them to do their best, and to help them to give of their best.  I have seen their eyes light up when they know I believe in them, and it is a wonderful way of helping them be their best selves in all they set their minds to.

 

Dayle Reid / Grade R

Dayle Reid 3I have been teaching in the Grade R class at The Vine School for four years. Having taught at other Christian schools I was at first a  little hesitant about the methodology but soon realised how rich and beautiful it is.

What impressed me most was the atmosphere of honour and respect, especially how the teachers speak to the children and how the staff speak to one another, always building up and encouraging.

Since working at The Vine School I have become very alert to nature and things of beauty. When I go for walks, I’m constantly observing colours, birdlife and plants. I have even started painting some of my observations with watercolours.

I have noticed that I speak to my grandchildren differently and always praise effort and that which is of good character. I like to give them books which are elegantly written and rich in language. This has been a direct influence from my working environment.

If my children were young, they would be attending The Vine School.

Elouise Meyer / Grade 1

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I love that my children attend this school, and at the end of the day I still recognise them as my children.  What do I mean by that?  The values I uphold, the way I bring my children up are important to me and it is not only wonderful, but also a privilege to be able to team with teachers that uphold the same values. I also appreciate that they are being educated in a way that engages not only their brains, but their hearts as well. 

Nadia Greeff / Grade 2

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

As a teacher I am inspired by the “living texts” that reinforce good, true and noble ideas. Ideas that help shape our children’s thinking and prepare them for life.  It is an honour to be entrusted with forming good character in children, to their benefit now and in the future.

I am encouraged by the growth I see in the pupils and in myself as an Ambleside teacher. I love seeing every pupil becoming more confident in themselves as they grow in knowledge, skills and relational maturity.

I could not have made a better decision than to join The Vine School family, where everyone is respected and valued as a unique individual.

Nina Hampton / Grade 2

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

It is a privilege to be a teacher at The Vine School.  I love the small classes, where the children are given more individualized attention,  and also enjoy working in a place that feels like family! I appreciate that the Ambleside approach is relationship-focused, with high expectations for each child, as image-bearers of God. I enjoy teaching the curriculum which is rich in literature and the arts, inspiring children to discover beauty in nature, books, art and music.

Gabi-Ann Africa / Grade 3

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

I am in my sixth year teaching at The Vine School. I love Charlotte Mason's philosophy which doesn’t limit children but introduces them to the very best of literature, maths, art, and many other areas. My classroom is a place where we share ideas and learn from each other. I love seeing every child develop in different ways because they are all different. Our exams don’t focus on scoring points for correct answers to selected questions; instead they allow children to express all they’ve learned about the subject. This helps me to see what they know and where more support is needed.

Tracey Zyster / Grade 3

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

As a teacher of many years I have been exposed to every different curriculum introduced to democratic South Africa. What is different about the Ambleside curriculum is that it exposes children to great classical books and the finest works of art. In a world where quantity often surpasses quality, the children - including my own - are taught to appreciate what is of lasting value and to be grateful for things that are overlooked in standard curriculae.  

Our curriculum does not only challenge our children, but I too have been challenged through contact with so many wonderful, life-giving ideas.  It is not what we know but who we are becoming that matters.

Chloe Brown / Grade 4

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

I started teaching at The Vine in 2018 and I can honestly say I have learnt as much as I have taught. Through using the Ambleside method I have engaged with many thought-provoking ideas, and been challenged to understand why we do certain things and not just how we do them. Through working with people who have a genuine faith in Jesus and a passion for teaching I have learnt what it truly means to be in community with one another and to support others. And through the close relationships that are formed with my students and their families I have been inspired and encouraged by their ideas and thoughts.

Tracey Leisegang / Grade 6

My husband and I attended a Vine School Open Day in 2015 and since then we have not looked back.  We were immediately drawn to the school’s warm inviting Christian ethos, the small personal class sizes and the refreshingly different approach to teaching and learning.  Our sons were enrolled soon thereafter and in 2017 I took up a teaching post at the school.  We have enjoyed being part of this close-knit school community where much focus is on character development and every individual’s worth is celebrated.  We are grateful to have found this little gem in the heart of Lansdowne!

Monique Ncapayi / Grade 5

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

When seeking God, I often spenttime in  nature, although I had never appreciated nature the way God wants us to. The philosophy of education at The Vine School has shown me how to find true beauty in nature, to experience it, and to humble myself within it. I love how, as a class, we spend time outdoors learning about, sharing ideas and connecting with God’s creation. Nature cultivates in us what is true and what is beautiful. Charlotte Mason wrote, “Let them once get in touch with nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life” 

Lance Reuter / Grade 7

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

As a Grade 7 teacher I get to see the impact, first hand, on the “first fruits” of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.  It is amazing to see what this philosophy has developed in my students and how it has influenced every aspect of their lives because they have been taught as whole persons.  Their exposure to living books and great ideas, in a warm and loving environment, is seen in their ability to think, question and express themselves, and to behave in a mature way, with love, self control and service towards one another. 

 

Thora Mtlomelo / isiXosa teacher and Preschool assistant

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

In 2011 my grandson was in Preschool at a small Educare. He had a short attention span and couldn’t sit still. The Principal recommended The Vine School to me.  She said, “your grandson needs to go to Grade 1 in a small school, and it is a Christian school”. I applied to the school and he was accepted. I remember when I was in the interview with the Principal of the school I was open about my grandson’s concentration problem.  Even so, he agreed to support me. He and the teacher were committed to seeing the real child and not the problems. Many times I was called in for meetings with the Principal when my grandson was not doing well. He advised me what to do at home with him. I observed him at home and gave the school feedback. As years went by I could see the change in him. He finished grade 7 in 2018 and had totally changed in his character and academically. 

In 2014 I began an internship at the school to complete a National Diploma in Educare. I was worried because it is an English first language school and has a very high standard. But the support I received from the staff and my supervisors was amazing. It is a real Christian school. Once I was qualified I kept on working in the Preschool. I now teach isi-Xhosa as well in the higher grades, and together we are developing a new curriculum. 

The school doesn’t limit anyone - they believe in them.  It is a lifestyle. My mindset has changed in the way I look at children now. I really enjoy the approach of the school when they deal with staff members and children. You feel so respected after a talk or a meeting with a supervisor. The school also believed in me a lot, they trained me how to teach their curriculum. When I receive feedback about my work they don’t hurt my feelings at all they just tell me how to improve in a pleasant way. In the morning when I wake up I look forward to going to work, because it is a pleasant atmosphere to be in. 

Charlene Europa / Inspirational Subjects

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I have the privilege of teaching pupils in every grade and the current Grade 7 class started with me in Grade 1. I stand amazed at the growth over the years. They have grown in good habits - like self control and working hard. Shy, quiet little ones have become confident young people who have learned to listen well and narrate accurately. The way Nature Study is taught at The Vine School has helped them appreciate how wonderful God’s creation is.  They have learned to observe closely and to be more aware - watching out for flowers, birds and insects.  Their inquiring minds have been stirred to enquire more.

At the end of a recent poetry lesson with the Grade 4 class, one of the pupils said excitedly, “Mrs Europa, at the beginning of the lesson I didn't know the meaning of this poem, but now after reading it several times the meaning just jumps right out”.

Philippa Versfeld / Art

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

Being a part of the Vine School family as both teacher and parent means that I and my family are in the great company of the best minds in literature, art, music, history and science. My children and I are challenged, daily, to grow in understanding and character through the beautiful richness of ideas taught, in both the disciplinary and inspirational subjects provided.

It is a joy to guide the children in growing their drawing skill and humanity through Art.

Meggan Fry / Intern

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

Charlotte Mason put it simply, "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life".  At The Vine school pupils are educated by means of totality - surrounded by love, rich and living ideas, nurtured in the disciplines that shape good character. The warm environment is evident in acts of love, kindness and service toward one another in the classrooms and at break times. Education is so enjoyable that they develop a true love for learning, and are able to express their true thoughts and true selves in the safe environment of The Vine School.

Allen George / PT teacher

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

I have been working at The Vine School for almost eight years. I have never experienced such camaraderie, love and unity. Today I have a different view of education and its core values. Being introduced to Charlotte Mason's approach to education has been life changing. I am a different person today, because of it. I've learned that education is more than just numbers and letters in the classroom; it is a lifestyle. I apply the philosophy in my sports lessons to have a non-competitive environment. The children love this approach, because they don't feel pressured to out-perform their peers. Instead they get the satisfaction of improving their own performance. I never knew that education can be this loving and joyful.

Kim Quickfall / Intern

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

Before I worked at The Vine School, I viewed education as an instrument to fill and program young people with knowledge so that they can one day be super-intellectual and successful human beings. However, while working at The Vine School, my perspective towards young people and education has changed. No longer do I see young people as some kind of product that needs to be programmed with intellectual knowledge but rather, I see them as persons, created in the image and likeness of God.  They have minds that need to be nurtured with rich ideas and thoughts, and characters that need to be shaped into the likeness of our King and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Olivia September / Aftercare Supervisor

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

The Vine school has been my home away from home for over 5 years. Working in the aftercare for all these years has brought me much joy, love, happiness, strength and a feeling of belonging.  Working with such great staff (my friends), their love for God is truly evident in their character.   Charlotte Mason’s teachings have taught me that each child is born a person and they are all unique in their own way.  I love being at The Vine and I love them all.

Mavis Gili-Picane / Aftercare Assistant

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I joined The Vine School working as a part-time after-care assistant. I experienced the warm, kind environment that welcomes everyone with love and care. The school is filled with the grace of God.  I observed that it is rare to meet a family as organized and calm as The Vine School. They always know exactly how to behave.  The staff are warm and welcoming and the children are disciplined and well-mannered.  They treat everyone with love and respect.

I happily recommend The Vine School.

 

Admin Staff

Susan Keegan / Business Manager

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

For a very, very long time - right back to school days - I wanted to reform education into something inspiring and liberating.  Twice I started studying to become a teacher, but God had other work for me, and kept drawing me into financial and HR administration instead.    

It is therefore a great joy and privilege to serve as Business Manager at a school which embodies everything that I believe education ought to be.  I am grateful too for the opportunity to work in a context where Christian ethics are respected both in the classroom and in the admin offices.   

Trudy Rich / Accountant

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

I joined the Vine School in 2019, after working for property developers for 23 years.  This new environment has been a refreshing change. The admin staff I work with are a great team and my interaction with the teachers - although minimal - feels like interacting with friends I have worked with for years.  I look forward to our weekly devotions and the daily children’s assembly where praise and worship echo down the corridors.  As for the teaching philosophy I like the fact that growth is more important than symbols.

Beulah Stone / Bursar

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I have worked in the education industry for six years. I have been at the Vine School since 2019 and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this God-fearing family. I love being around the kind-hearted, loving and well mannered children here at The Vine. I am a mother of two and have a son at The Vine and am very excited to learn more about Charlotte Mason’s principles and to instill them in my children's lives.

 

 

Janice Thorne-Smith / Marketing and Communications

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I started at The Vine School teaching Grade 3, and even though I had taught for 13 years I learned so much more about being a teacher from the Charlotte Mason / Ambleside philosophy. Not only did I see the students grow academically but also in their love of learning and relating to the authors and content we studied. I grew along with them in my own understanding of subjects like composer study, picture study, nature study and handwork and how these subjects add richness to everyday life.  It was natural for me to move into the marketing of our school since I had seen first hand the influence that the philosophy has on students and staff alike.

Lauren Fabing / Admissions

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I am deeply grateful for the ways that the Ambleside philosophy has enriched my life. As a parent it provided me with parenting tools based on biblical wisdom. As a person it has nurtured my love of lifelong learning, broadened my horizons and my joy for life here on our beautiful planet earth has increased. My relationships with others and with my environment has deepened, and the personal growth in my life has been a God-given gift. I am blessed to receive timeless guidance which stretches me but also provides strength to live out my life's purpose.

Raquel Meyer / Receptionist / Principal’s PA

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I joined the school in a “temporary” role, relieving the receptionist when she went on maternity leave, and have been here ever since, serving for a year as the Aftercare Supervisor before taking a permanent position as receptionist and Prinicpals’ P.A. I have two children at The Vine School.  Watching the way God is moulding them, with a rich nurturing education and a love for God that is displayed and taught through the teachers, is truly a blessing.   I love being part of the school family.  It’s a place where we work, laugh, fellowship and - best of all - pray together.

Margaret / Librarian

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

First and foremost, I love The Vine School for the warm and welcoming atmosphere I feel on my arrival at the school every day.  Working as the Librarian is a wonderful blessing for me.  I am able to observe each pupil grow and thrive during their school years, and I enjoy  building trust and respect in all our interactions.  It’s a privilege to facilitate their literacy skills and foster a deep love for reading and books. 

Many children do not have easy access to books so it’s wonderful that children at The Vine School have a library with a vast and varied selection of inspirational and informative books.

Maintenance Staff

Selwyn Smith / Maintenance Manager

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

My employment at the school was a godsend at a critical time in my life. I found that the Christian ethos that the school subscribes to is practiced and not only professed. Recently, a student surprised me with a written note of thanks, which was refreshing, especially from such a young person. Here are little treasures awaiting discovery, sometimes in plain sight. I really value the peaceful atmosphere at the school, which contributes to developing some key relational skills within the whole school community.

Nwabisa Matawane

HOD Preschool and Gr 1 Jean

I love working at the school because of the caring atmosphere that exists. There is a good balance between the student's personal growth and academic development. I am very pleased that my child's extra lessons take place at the school and not somewhere off-campus.  The students are taught the Gospel and this encourages me to know that they can grow in relationship with God while they are very young. I value the partnership between parents and teachers to assist the students when there are any issues. I admire the teachers' commitment to do their very best for their students.

Thembelihle Tshoka

Deputy Principal   Gina Smith place holder

I am happy at the school because everyone is kind to me. I am proud of the school because the teachers and management staff respect me. I admire the pleasant way the teachers speak to the students. The children play in a safe environment and I enjoy watching the teachers help them resolve their differences fairly.  I have an important role to play in keeping the school grounds neat and tidy.