Parent-comments about their experience of Synergy School.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to both you and Patsy for making Brandon’s first year at Synergy such a special one. When I consider the child who left Johannesburg a year ago and who he is now. I value so much the part that you have played in supporting the incredible growth that has happened for him.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for Myra in the 2 years she has been with you. You are truly one of the most gifted teachers I have ever met and I feel so privileged to have you teach Myra. I will never really be able to put into words just how much I have appreciated you. What can you say to a person who has given so much of herself to your own daughter and who has had such an incredible impact on her life. It is truly beyond words!
I will never ever forget what you have done and even more importantly neither will Myra. The foundation you have laid in her will truly enable her to take on all life will bring her with a beautiful sense of confidence in herself. Truly you have given my little girl a gift for life!.
I am so pleased that you were Tahra's first teacher. She really enjoyed her first year at Synergy knowing she was coming to see you every morning. You supported her beautifully, and we are amazed at her growth in many spheres over the last year. Greg and I are both thrilled with her progress, and at some level feel saddened at the rate of how fast she is growing up.
I wish you all the best, and thank you so much for your nurturing input.
I for one am very sad to be leaving Synergy, after a very pleasurable year and a half. I know Troy has flourished and become a little person in the surrounding that he found himself in. He obviously has a solid feeling of belonging and faith in you as his teacher - which gives us confidence as well.
Thank you so much for the feedback, I also noticed him handling himself well in confrontations especially with older boys.
There's going to be a lot of change in his life but I think he'll cope well thanks to a good training! My aim is to establish a more long term stability for him.
We will try our best to keep alive the relationships he has established at Synergy.
Thanks so much for your contribution it was invaluable!!!.
Lena Magnusson and Atle Jorgensen
Me and Atle would like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for everything you have done for Viljar and us.
You are an amazing teacher! We feel lucky that it was you Debbie who became our sons first teacher at Synergy. It was you, your warmth and pedagogical expertise that made it possible for Viljar to settle so nicely in a new environment.
Our whole family is glad that you will be "just a door away" from Viljar.
Jenny and Darty Louw
It has taken us 2 years to sit down and write this testimonial. It has been something that I have avoided as I find it very challenging to express what Synergy means to my family.
Synergy is where our children live close to a quarter of their waking hours. It is their primary connection to the world outside the home and our family is influenced profoundly by our interactions at school. The quality of this experience is deeply affecting our perception of the world, learning and relationships. It is only into a system that is deeply conscious of what is being experienced by each child, teacher and parent at the deepest level that we are prepared to entrust our children’s future.
We are part of an intimate, innovative and hugely inspiring space where the focus is on an active pursuit of where the learning is happening at any given moment. This is a very dynamic and exciting process as it is alive and very present. Here we live the truth that it is in questioning, exploring and searching for the answer that learning happens. This learning includes the areas of relationships to ourselves, each other and the world, academics and discipline.
It is the schools dedication to this incredibly sensitive and highly empowering approach to education that makes Synergy unique and at present the only school we would entrust with the co-responsibility of educating our children. They are thriving………
Marion is the mother of Lyla.
I would like to say thank you for the opportunity you have given Lyla to participate in one of the most exquisite ways of schooling Russell and I have ever experienced. Lyla was always a very inquisitive little girl with a lot of questions. Since Lyla joined you guys at Synergy, she is truly blossoming.
From what I can see the acceptance that is practiced at Synergy School, the personal attention your team gives to each child, the interaction between the many different age groups,the fascinating things that can be experienced and learned each day, and the encouragement to succeed and to fail, but just to stay with life - all these teachings and experiences made Lyla a truly happy, confident and suddenly a responsive and responsible little person.
What a great shift! - Thank you so much.
Jo and her family relocated from Ireland.
Dear Robin, Carey and Debbie and the whole Synergy team,
Thank you so much for the extraordinary schooling experience we have had at Synergy so far. It has far exceeded any of my expectations of what schooling could be.
Lia has attended 2 other schools and has been happy in both, but it was not until she went to Synergy that I realised the difference between 'enjoying' school and 'blossoming' in a schooling environment. It has been beautiful
to watch Lia in school - like a little flower blooming.
As you saw I found it very hard to tear myself away from school after social integration time because it was so magic to watch Synergy school in action.
Lia's self confidence has grown along with her sense of self and what is right. She has learnt how to deal with conflict in a constructive and respectful way that has transferred into our home life and has hugely improved relations with her brother.
Debbie, thank you for your commitment to getting Charlie settled in. I don't think I would have found that same commitment anywhere else. It really meant a lot to me.
Charlie experienced a huge shift in his development during the short time he was in Synergy. His self confidence has grown, especially around interacting with the bigger boys. He has learned to use his voice in conflict, and express his feelings, making himself clearly heard, but without using his fists! It strikes me that the conflict resolution skills
we are all learning at Synergy are skills which many adults have never mastered, to give children these skills from such an early age will give them a huge advantage in life. Charlie is also much happier speaking in a group now, whereas before he shied away from any attention.
The emphasis on keeping agreements in Synergy has given the children a sense of the importance of keeping to their word, and a sense of ownership and responsibility - that they take ownership of their agreements and stick by
them. This too is spilling over into our home life - there is less frustration at home as we know what our agreements are, and what we need to do if we cannot keep to our agreements. Life is in general much calmer.
I have learnt new skills from spending time with the children at the school - new ways to communicate with the children, ways to help them resolve conflict, and ways to set my own boundaries with them, while acknowledging their feelings. My experience with you has had a profound impact on my parenting - thank you.
We are missing Synergy terribly and cant wait to get back in September. While Lia enjoys being back in Ireland with her old school friends she doesn't have the same interest in school here now that she has been in Synergy. Going back into mainstream education now would be very hard. Thank goodness we don't have to!
Rose Callan, Irish family visited us for a year
We had come to stay in South Africa for a year from Ireland in 2005. One of the many memory pebbles we have of our stay in Cape Town is Synergy Schooling. I would just like to say that our experience in Synergy was absolutely fantastic. All the staff at the school are absolutely amazing.
Both Carey and Tahirih (our children's teachers) are incredibly caring, enthusiastic and loving. We felt really welcome. There was a lot of parent/teacher/child consultation. You could talk to the teachers and other staff every day about how your child is doing.
I have noticed and it has been commented upon our return to Ireland that our children are very self motivated, keen to learn and very mature. They are very expressive about their feelings and are able to negotiate clearly. Our whole family benefited from the holistic approach. We sometimes joked that we were in family therapy.
Joking aside I personally really appreciate that tweaking a little of my parenting made a huge difference to my relationship with my children. Thanks for being our wonderful Synergy family and as we hope to visit Cape Town regularly Synergy will always be part of that experience.
Lesley, mother of Finn.
Since joining Synergy Schooling he wakes up excited and happy to go to shcool. He now hates weekends and his focus has shifted away from action heroes to far more creative endeavours.
Finn is brimming with confidence, he feels free to express his opinion, knowing that it is heard and valued, not only at school and at home, but in all spheres of his world.
Veronique and Ricky, parents of Sebastiaan.
Synergy Schooling is an amazing school. We and our son Sebastiaan are very happy. It has a lot to offer besides the different way of schooling which fits so well into today's society. To name a few of the amazing things they do which we also enjoy very much are the half an hour in the morning that you can spend with your child being active at the school.
This sets such an amazing space for the rest off the morning for them to be in. Then the workshops and the support for us as a parents. We have seen a positive change in Sebastiaan since we have joined this year in January. He has become a more confident and out spoken child.
The school area is such a good set up, from creative space to outdoor activities, with the racing track and spacious play areas. It has been a life changing experience being part off Synergy Schooling.
From Nkosinathi Klaas's mother
Nkosinathi is the fourth one of my children. I like the school because you have managed to develop skills that I never thought he had. He is confident, he can stand for himself and he is able to express himself. I really don’t want him to get the kind of education that I got because it took me nowhere.
I would like him to have a brighter future. I like the approach the school is using. He is good in English and his able to work on the computer. If he can go back to Ukhanyo, Nkosinathi is going to loose a lot. I like the fact that he was never isolated because he is black. Instead he made friends and built relationships, they all respect each other.
I like the school a lot and I don’t know how I can thank you for doing such a wonderful change in my child’s life. I’ll be grateful if he can get sponsored again.
Catherine,mother of Matthew
One of the things that I appreciate most about synergy is that it is a safe and affirming environment for Matthew. He is extremely sensitive to social and relational undercurrents and the assistance the children receive in learning to relate meaningfully to each other is invaluable. He brings these skills into each new environment he discovers.
New adults that he meets often comment on how articulate and confident he is. This innate ability of his, has been valued and nurtured at school.
Another great thing to see is how Matthew so confidently creates. He looks at raw materials (cardboard, paper etc) and is able to construct things, or ask for them to be constructed, to use in his imaginative play. Of course he is a sucker for the shiny toys he sees in shops too, but he is also appreciative of small things that he makes and plays with. This is definitely due to the art and creative culture within his class.
As a parent I appreciate the attitudes of the staff: " we don't know the answer to everything but we are excited to find out !!" and the reflective attitude that they apply to themselves and their ideas and beliefs. It is not easy to examine oneself after conflict or to examine closely held beliefs and be open to change.
The teachers are open to changing themselves as well. There is nothing more secure than knowing that conflict will be examined and learned from: from the "authorities" to the kids. Of course we are all still growing in this, but we should embrace it as a foundational Synergy value.
Lesley, mother of Jethro
Thank you! The daily and weekly emails are wonderful! What a bonus being able to know and share what our children are up to. Friends who have children at other schools cannot believe the amount of communication there is between parents and teachers at Synergy.
Selinah Ntombana, Lindokuhle’s mother
I am a married woman with nine children. Three of my children are married and the other six are still under my care. Originally I am from Wittlesea in the Eastern Cape. I work as a domestic worker in Noordehoek.
I was very happy when I heard that Lindokuhle is one of the sponsored children to go to Synergy Schooling. Now that Lindokuhle is in Synergy, I can see a vast difference from the child that I knew. She used to do things on her own, very quiet but now she can work nicely with others and she can express herself. I can say she is more open now than before joining Synergy.
She used to be very shy and at times she wouldn’t even give you an answer when talking to her but now she can make up a conversation, express herself and can share with others. Synergy managed to develop a skill that I never knew she possessed, that of creativity (using her hands creatively). I never knew she had a passion for art but now she is more creative and I have never seen her like that.
What I like most is that she has confidence in herself and what she is doing. She likes to lead and when playing with the other kids she likes to be a teacher, showing them all the things that she does at Synergy. She is also very respectful, to her peers and to other people as well.
I like looking at her and seeing what a beautiful girl she has become. I like the way that the teacher-parent relationship is being developed here. I may have nothing but I feel valued when I come to your school and my child is also valued, I can see that by the way Lindokuhle likes the school. I am grateful to the sponsorship that my child received and the time that she spent there at Synergy, making her this beautiful creature that she has become.
Kevin, father of Nina
Since joining Synergy School, I have started to have a deeper understanding of the essence of what it takes to be a good parent. I have begun a journey of equipping myself with the tools to be able to achieve the most important job of my life, being a parent.
Through attending courses offered by the school and simply talking to the staff about the progress of my child and her development I feel empowered and I can see her progress. I am also encouraged by the fact that I am doing the best I can do â€“ with the backing of the Synergy staff and other parent's experiences.
Tammy, mother of Bianca
It is quite an unbelievable change I have witnessed in my daughter Bianca, since she has joined Synergy. The way she has learnt to handle herself in certain situations is remarkable. As well as her respect for others, and also her respect for herself. She is more willing to share, and by this I do not mean with toys, I refer to the sharing of herself, her thoughts and feelings.
She is so much more aware of what is going on around her and in others. As well as being aware of what is going on inside of herself. Her acceptance of others and her acceptance of herself is inspirational.
To try and describe exactly what it is, is really hard for me, as at the best of times I struggle to make myself understood. I find that in Synergy, the way of treating each child as an individual in relation to others, and helping them to resolve conflicts by discussing them, as opposed to ignoring them, is priceless. My daughter is growing daily, not so much physically, but more emotionally and mentally.
The fact that Parents are encouraged to attend the Workshops is brilliant. Synergy is as eager to teach us as parents as they are to teach our children. As we are given the opportunity to learn the Synergy way of empowering our children, so their way of being at school and at home becomes unified. We also get the magic gift of changing and growing with our children. Change - which is NEVER easy, at the same time each generation evolves more than the one before, and if we are really honest with ourselves we will admit that change is NECESSARY.
Ginna is one of the parents.
This is the best decision we have made regarding Joshua's education. He is so much more mature and self confident and much more creative. It has been very moving to experience the environment of Synergy Schooling.
Amanda, mother of Paul
We tried a 2 day trial at Synergy and Paul took to it right away.I can truly say this entire year he has thrived and seems far more self confident and able to share.
I love it that there so many permanent activities available and so much for the children to get busy with; the Track, Fountain,woodwork corner etc.
I also like the way the children are encouraged to think through problems and innovation is encouraged even from an early age.
Finally, the best for me is leaving Paul at school in the morning and knowing he is safe and really happy.
Ettienne and Rene,parents of Jenna
Our daughter moved from an Afrikaans medium schooling to Synergy Schooling, and we envisaged that it would be quite stressful for all concerned. Much to our surprise, the acceptance and support she received not only from her teachers and teacher assistants, but also from her class mates made the transition virtually painless.
She is now self-motivated to take responsibility for her own learning which is a huge change from depending on the teacher to instruct and tell her what needs to be done. The approach of allowing children a voice of their own in determining their learning interests has seen her explore topics in a lot more depth. So much so that we find her self-researching classroom topics in the garden or in books after school hours - a wonderful way to nurture a lifelong love of learning.
Another unexpected plus is that she is the one edging us on to get her to school bright and early and not the other way round!
Debbie talks about her son, Ben.
His self confidence have increased 10 times over. He is a new child. What an amazing difference. Thank you!
Marlene is the mother of Olivia, age 7 and joined at the beginning of 2005.
I had already gone through 12 years of schooling with my older boys. When my "laatlammetjie" approached school going age, I found myself in a real dilemma. The truth was that I did not look forward to another 12 years of homework,school sirens or the inevitable rule book for parents and learners.
Other alternative options did not excite me either. I wanted to be excited about sharing this journey with my little girl! I cautiously decided to try Synergy Schooling.
Seven months later, my daughter and I are part of a team of optimistic people who recognise the need for exploring new realities in a world that requires change in order to grow. Experiential education accepts my daughter as an individual human being with unique abilities and challenges. She is carefully nurtured. She is growing in relation to herself and the other children in a way that has made her stand firm with self confidence.
My deepest sense of relief comes from the Synergy team's belief that a new consciousness, including emotional intelligence and positive self-esteem, have become essential building blocks in our changing world. How do we value a traditional curriculum, when we are at war with each other? How do we grow when we are afraid to take risks? In a country with the highest divorce rate in the world, what is it that we need to heal our lives? These are a few of the questions I needed to engage in.
In this process of responsible exploration, I have found an unexpected gift. As I have witnessed how the teachers respect my daughter's voice and her personal rights, I have grown more confident in expressing my voice and rights as a mother in the context of the school.
We do not pay lip service to each other as we engage in the growth of the school community - our talk centres around issues such as authenticity and integrity. I feel safe enough to be vulnerable and honest, as I realise that this is an essential ingredient when one truly desires change. It needs great courage to say "I do not know the answer - let us explore solutions together." It requires trust.
Margot is the mother of twins.
My daughter wishes there was school on weekends.
Stephne is the mother of David, age 9 and also started at the beginning of 2005.
I sent my child to Synergy so that he could be part of a learning environment that cares for him as an individual discovering how to live in this complex world.
I have found that Synergy addresses children with deep caring, honour and respect. And for me this is an essential element of life that allows a child to develop their true essence, joy and full potential.
I am sure this way of relating gives rise to healthy and happy adults who begin to nurture each other in all their relationships.
Since my son has joined Synergy, he has such a love for school. He is positive and enthusiastic. He comes home from school and enjoys sharing the new experiences he has had and the new information he has been introduced to. He is confident in his expression and definitely has shown a confidence in his nature.
I believe Synergy's intimate and holistic approach has broadened his understanding of himself as an individual and in relation to others.
The school encourages parental involvement in a way that enhances the sense of community accountability for the development of the children. Ie the development of the children academically and socially has more potential when parents are included in this relationship.
Dean is the father of Joshua, age 5.
Our whole family experience at Synergy Schooling in Noordhoek has been uplifting and enlightening experience. The dedication of the Synergy Team is totally inspiring and unique... and as concerned parents Gina and I have certainly searched around seeking out the best form of schooling for our children which is always a top priority in our family development.
Synergy has a unique way of weaving together all the children and their parents in ways which draw on natural talents, respect for diverse perspectives, and communication and integration with their peers. The focus seems to be on teaching children and parents GREAT communication skills, as we all know that ineffective communication leads to misunderstandings, and often a downward spiral.
We have noticed how the Synergy Team builds the children;s confidence, allowing him equal opportunity to lead and to share in each other's growth. Collectively this forms a unified spirit within the school creating a bond between parent, children and teacher. We are privileged to be part of this process. What an empowering and creative learning environment!
Cathy is the mother of Matthew, age 4.
This is the first school my son has been truly happy in.
Charles is a parent who works with us in the IT field.
I wish I had gone to a school like this. To think how much further I would be in my life now.
Debbie talks further about Ben.
Ben is a different child at school. He is full of confidence and doing really well with maths and does all his class tasks, loving history and has a lot of input. New communication patterns are developing in our family that we never had before. Robin's workshops have changed how we are reacting. I can't thank your team enough for all the hard work you put into Ben to help make him a happy and confident child again.
Brenda shares her vision.
Now I need to move from Sea Point to Noordhoek so my son can come to Synergy.
Michael's Mom says:
His self confidence has really increased. We were very impressed when he wanted to sing in front of a group of strangers.
Perhaps what is most clear in the sharings of the parents above is that this school is not about new age theories, or some new break through techniques. It seems to be about people, their relationships and about how we can all live and learn together. The learners are encouraged to reflect on their own thinking and actions, and those of others. Here they can learn a way of living that is integrated, sane and intelligent. This process is liberating, for as we grow in awareness and understanding of our behaviour, we can see the immense potential of life and the possibility of changing our world for the better.