- Written by Super User
A Nairobi mum has opened a cottage school for primary school going children in a bid to offer alternative education in a home-like environment to the young ones.
Dubbed, the DaVinci Cottage School, the institution incorporates various aspects of both normal schools and home-schools so as that the child fully benefits from the learning experience.
One of these aspects is the curriculum that is a mixture of sorts.
“We run under the British System but also have influences from the American system and the International Primary Curriculum whereby children learn based on themes such as oceans,” said Emma Dignnaro, founder of DaVinci Cottage School.
Targeting primary school children, DaVinci Cottage School caters for children between the ages of four and 10 years but hopes to grow with time.
“We will have a Reception class for the four-five years then the primary school begins at 6 years,” said Emma.
Having been an educator for 15 years, Emma hopes to draw upon her experience to offer a child-centred approach to learning.
“ For each class there is having eight children who will therefore have the full attention of the teacher,” said Emma.
The school has three teachers including Emma. She however teaches sports and art.
At DaVinci Cottage School, parents also have a chance to be actively involved in the education of their children.
“Most schools expect parents to drop off their children then go but at our cottage school we give parents time to stay on a bit and help out,” said Emma.
This 'helping out' is done through volunteering whereby parents can read to the children or participate in an art class.
According to Emma, such a volunteering program is possible at DaVinci Cottage because the lessons are not too mainstream. Despite there being a timetable in place, it is flexible and the teachers take a cue from the children.
“If they are very tired then we give them a different lesson instead of following what is written on the timetable. They can do a lesson then play or use art to teach them numbers, sound and even writing essays. I believe that children have to play until the age of 12 years whether it is structured or free play,” said Emma.
DaVinci Cottage School is also unique in its fee structure in a bid to accommodate all types of parents.
“Children coming from an 8-4-4 system will pay Sh50-55,000 while those from other systems such as the British one will pay Sh100,000 from Year 1,” said Emma.
This price is all inclusive apart from the registration fee of Sh1500 and horse-riding which is optional at an extra cost of Sh1800. There is also no school uniform therefore lowering costs for parents.
The cottage school does not also provide food. Children are expected to carry their own packed break and lunch.
“Today there are so many allergies going around so we decided it would be best to not include it. You will also find some children do not like the school food,” said Emma.
DaVinci Cottage School also offers a monthly fees structure of Sh75000 which is aimed at expatriates.
“Sometimes expatriates are not sure how long their contract will last and they do not want their children to miss out on school so this works perfectly. Also when they are leaving, instead of paying the full term fees, they can just pay for the months are they sure of,” said Emma who assures parents that the fees structure will not be reviewed until September 2017.
Located in Hillview, Lower Kabete, the cottage school will also have extra curricula activities such as yoga, gymnastics, ballet and modern dancing.