2019 celebrates the 30th Anniversary of our official registration with the Department of Education. To mark this significant milestone for the school, which first opened its doors as pre-school in 1977, The Mercury journalist Linda Zakas, spoke to our school’s Principal, Darron Tarr.
LZ: What makes John Wesley School special / unique?
DT: The school began as and remains to this day a mission of the Pinetown Methodist Church. As such, we maintain a strong relationship with the church and there is much interaction with church ministers and staff members - a tradition upheld since the inception of the school. We employ dedicated and highly proficient teachers, administrative staff and general assistants, who add significant value to our school. All staff members are treated as equals and as a result, a tremendous family atmosphere prevails. Add to this a proactive, focused and intentional Board of Governors and the reasons for our tremendous success, and our established ability to attract both first and second generation learners, become evident. We offer an English medium, co-educational environment for children from the age of two years in our Grade 000 class to Grade 7 – and being an independent school enables us to very candidly express our Christian identity and ethos. Whilst we follow the CAPS curriculum, our progressive approach towards academics affords our educators the space to interpret the curriculum more freely and reach beyond it to add the quality that has become synonymous with John Wesley School. Teachers are treated as competent professionals and are encouraged to adopt other methodologies and aspire to the highest standards.
LZ: What are your expectations of JWS learners as they leave the school gates and enter high school?
DT: Learners need to outwardly convey their Christian values, a strong sense of self-worth, high self esteem and confidence. They must retain a keen sense of what is right and wrong and have the resilience to resist peer pressure – strong character qualities that have been instilled through the school’s clearly defined boundaries, its enforcement of discipline and its positive reinforcement methods of correction. This enforcement of boundaries and discipline takes place within a highly positive environment in which the sound of learning is punctuated frequently by prayer and devotion.
In line with our holistic, balanced approach to education, the school also offers a broad range of extracurricular activities that include cultural, sport and academic pursuits.
LZ: What are your hopes and dreams for JWS learners as they approach adulthood?
DT: My hope is that their years spent at the school would have instilled values that remain with them and continue to guide them into adulthood and throughout their lives. But more than that, I hope that they are able to express a collective consciousness that is geared towards the transformation of society; that they are proud, patriotic South Africans who are aware of the country’s challenges and are able to leverage their education to positively influence and improve the lives of others.