It started

with a Green Wall

“We started off small, so small in fact that our first classroom was in my parent’s extra garage. We painted one wall green, had a little brown desk with compartments underneath, (that I still love) and a small bookshelf to corner off our library from the classroom. For six months, Jaydene and I, (my very first teaching partner) taught our first grade 1 class there. Anna (German), Maddy (Canadian), Seamy (American) and Sally’s family (Korean) had all just arrived in the country and were on the waiting list for the International School.”

“I was taking a year off after having my baby, when their families approached me. After teaching at the International school for two and a half years, I was well trained in the curriculum and education standards. While our students waited for their year to start at the International School in August, we had a fun-filled time together. The feeling of our time together coming to an end was soon uplifted, when June came around and more children were on the waiting list, this time for grade 2.”

"We needed more space! "

“I had six kids starting grade 2 in August. I contacted a friend of a friend, who had a preschool in Chartwell, and asked if I could put up a classroom next to hers. 

June and July were jam packed. We quickly ordered curriculum from families traveling to the states to bring back for us, bought new furniture, put up a giant log cabin, planted grass, built bathrooms and ordered some playground equipment.”

“Over the next two years, South African families started hearing about our little school and our differentiated learning and international curriculum. I had realized that kids thrive when their anxiety is low, and their motivation is high, when their teachers know them well and can make learning relevant to them. The combination of highly skilled teachers and implementing the best curriculum in the world started to show amazing results. By 2016, we had 20 kids, and we had expanded into the barns at this stage and almost taken over the preschool playground.”

"We needed even more space!"

“I was starting to itch, I knew we needed more, and so I started putting out my feelers again. One day, while driving to Lanseria Airport with my husband, we spotted a large ‘Property for Auction’ sign. On impulse, we took a sharp turn and rang the doorbell. A security guard living on the property let us in and allowed us to look around. It was perfect; A large farm house, stables, cottages and a jumping arena.”

“The property was completely over-grown with blue gums and the pool was black…but I could immediately picture it. Classrooms leading onto a joint library, music and art rooms, playgrounds and fields.”

“I approached my family and current parents at my school. My parents, Charles and Cheryl-Lee, Thantaswa and Thabelo, Rachel, Chris and Jack miraculously saw my vision and invested in the property – we started construction within the month.
 
Looking back, it was probably the toughest year of our lives. I was eight and a half months pregnant with our second child. Justin had just finished his honours degree in Design and was starting up his own business. I was running the school and building a new one…we were under serious pressure.”
“In January 2017, after six months of building, school was about to start. I know to this day that it came together like it did because of the amazing people in my life. My husband and parents, Bridget, Meghann, Liza, Kendal, Vanessa, Courtney and Pippa made up an immovable support structure and teaching team. They combined their skills and creativity to get us ready for that first day of school, which at the time I thought was impossible.”
“It’s hard to write an ending to this story especially when it feels like just the beginning… beginning to transform education, beginning to personalize it.”
 
Nicole Greyling
Founder & Principal of The Green School.

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