Sun Valley Primary School

School Type: Public, Urban

Year Elected: 2014

The current Sun Valley team transformed the school into a place of applied empathy and social change in line with the transformations of democratic South Africa, having become a multicultural learning community with a strong neurobiological approach to teaching empathy, teamwork, leadership and changemaking. This “brain-based schooling” is composed of four pillars: (1)iConnect: relationship building; (2) iCare: embedded emotional intelligence; (3) iLearn (customizable and digital learning using IT); and (4) iPlay: movement, humor and sport infused throughout the entire curriculum.

Each pillar allows teachers to be prepared when dealing with the learners and being mindful of their feelings that day. Sun Valley has a significant level of influence in the education field, notably in the Western Cape. It serves as a great example of how a public school can help drive changes in education policies. The Sun Valley team is always eager to find like-minded people who share their beliefs and are  also innovating in their practices. They also hope this will help them enhance what they do, but more importantly, maintain  all their innovations fresh, alive and creative, so they don’t fall back.

Changemaking Initiatives

  • Every grade class starts with a care check-in, where students in a circle express how they are feeling and share it with their peers. 
  • HOOFIES (head of our families): During the entire school life, a family of learners made up of one student from each grade (from 1 to 7) meets every two weeks to build their relationship as a family and to support each other in all matters related to school life and their personal lives too.