Is Grade R a waste of time

Does Grade R offer value in a child’s schooling life? Many don’t seem to think so. This was evident when Minister Angie Motshekga announced that Grade R’s would be returning to school in July. Many mocked the minister as they believe that Grade R’s only play and colour books. Is Grade R only about playing, as many seem to think that is the case?

In this article, we look at the benefits children gain from attending Grade R. 

There are several advantages to attending Grade R. Some of these include school readiness, social skills, critical thinking skills and language development. 

School readiness

SPARK Rosslyn Hub Grade R teacher, Sebenzile Sithole, says Grade R offers a child a smooth transition from early childhood to a school environment. Furthermore, children learn how to write and read. It also equips them with phonetic knowledge and numeracy skills which are needed as a solid foundation for Grade 1. 

“Children who have attended grade R in a schooling environment are more aware of academic expectations and have the emotional capacity to meet those expectations with less frustration,” says Sithole. 

Social-Emotional Skills

Social interactions with peers help children to develop social-emotional skills. Part of the school day includes participating in group activities that help children learn about teamwork. They also develop empathy, as they have to show understanding and listen to what others have to say. 

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“The social interactions they have exposes them to diversity and solidifies respect and acceptance towards others,” says Sithole.  

Additionally, children gain confidence by interacting with other kids, as they have to listen and speak up. 

“Since speaking and listening are integrated skills in the curriculum, it builds their confidence and encourages them to have a voice,” explains Sithole. 

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At SPARK Schools social-emotional learning is incorporated into our curriculum. We help our scholars learn to take accountability for their actions and manage their emotions. This helps children to regulate their emotions, while also improving their behaviour inside and outside of the classroom. 


Routine is an integral part of a classroom environment. “Grade R helps kids to be more familiar with structures and routine and to respond accordingly. They get to understand that there is a set time for everything and they should work towards a goal at a particular time,” says Sithole. 

“I have taught both Math and Literary and colouring are the least of what the scholars do. They learn fundamental skills such as number and letter formation. They learn the difference between alphabetical and phonetic knowledge, reading, writing, spelling, counting, adding and subtracting.”

What Grade R looks like at SPARK Schools 

One of the benefits of enrolling your child at SPARK Schools for Grade R is that they get to learn through an innovative teaching approach. Our Grade R scholars become tech-savvy from a young age, as they get to work on Chromebooks from the foundation phase. 

During online learning, scholars use programs such as reading eggs. Reading eggs is a fun literacy program which helps in developing reading skills.  They also use ST Math to learn math concepts. 

With the world constantly evolving.  It is important that children get a strong academic foundation, as this sets them up for success. Grade R is a great way to lay a good academic foundation for your child. 
If you would like to join the SPARK Schools family, please click here to apply.

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