Newsletter Winter 2017

Sometimes intelligent minds do not shine in standardised tests because they are not standardised minds


It is called alternative assessment. Jan Kriel School provides 12 different ways of giving each child a chance. 72 out of 200 school days (36%) are spent on exams and tests.


If you would like to use this sketch by Ds Hannes Burger, please give credit to Mrs Christ Kotze and her staff at Jan Kriel School, who have developed this system of alternative assessment over 30 years.

The characters in this video represent the following:

  1. Learner reads and writes on his own (like mainstream education)
  2. Learner reads and writes on his own – with structuring help
  3. Learner uses MP3-player with audio question paper and writes on his own
  4. Learner has a reader and writes without assistance
  5. Learner receives assistance with graphs, ruler etc. 
  6. Learner reads independently and types his answers on a computer
  7. Learner makes use of a transcriber that reads and writes on his/her behalf
  8. Learner uses a speech -/language therapist as help
  9. Learner receives help from an occupational therapist
  10. Learner uses a screenreader, but writes by his/herself
  11. Learner uses a screenreader and dictates answers to the computer
  12. Learner receives a large print question paper
  13. Within all above mentioned categories extra time is given, if necessary.

Donors give around R600 000 annually to make this child-friendly system possible

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Jan Kriel’s children can easily hide behind the swipes that life takes at them. For this reason, we encourage them to be brave, sacrificial and enduring.
This is how the principal explains the slogan for 2017…


Gerrit Odendaal, Principal of Jan Kriel, on “soft options”

The easiest route between Cape Town and Johannesburg is via the N1. To travel by unknown routes – with a lot of potholes – is harder, takes longer and is definetly less convenient. Perhaps you are driving on gravel roads through places like Merweville, Hutchinson, Deelfontein, Kraankuil, Bethulie . . . but when you arrive in Johannesburg, you will be a better driver, you will have seen more, you will know more stories and you will be better prepared for the challenges ahead. 


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Rut Prinsloo, teacher to the Seniors, on “soft options’

The soft option for a teacher is to use the textbook, to teach a class and then to go home…but I make extra workbooks (over 90 pages) for each term with pictures, stories, examples and structural frameworks for learners who learn “differently”. It has made me a better teacher!

It captivates me to see how a boy with spastic and uncontrolled movements prefers to write by himself. He has the option to type – or have someone else write out his answers. I think it gives him – who is wheelchair-bound – a sense of self-worth and independence. His near illegible scribbled penmanship has become beautiful to me!

A Parent and “soft options”

The soft option for parents is to take responsibility for their child’s assignments. But more often than not, a child who struggles along on his own, getting just enough encouragement to keep him going, gains confidence in learning and eventually also succeeds.

Jan Kriel Clinic on “soft options”

Psycologists and therapists at Jan Kriel can, as a result of their knowledge of disabilities, easily make “excuses” concerning why too much should not be expected of a certain child. It is, however, our policy to never follow the soft option. For this reason we often gather as experts and ask… what else can we do to challenge a child to overcome his/ her problems.

A Jan Kriel Learner on “soft options”

To become a member of the speech choir, I had to give up all my break times and off periods. Despite my reading difficulties, I have to memorise difficult and sometimes very long parts, which takes time. I’ve considered giving it up, but when I remember how good it feels to get highest honours at the annual Eisteddfod, all the support and camaraderie we enjoy in the choir . . . it’s well worth the hard work!

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Marina Conradie, teacher to the Juniors on ‘soft options’

In the evenings I am exhausted, because apart from teaching, I also dance, sing, play with enthusiasm to make sure that each child will experience school as “wow”. Sometimes I will be w’apping past 22:00 with a mother over our little child. With this year’s concert, we needed to decide whether a boy, with strong noise sensitivity, should be a part of all the noise and loud music. He really wanted to and endured to the end with practices (sometimes with his fingers in his ears). His mom tells us that his social skills have improved to the extent that he can attend birthday parties with friends for the first time.

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Damian Walker: Not a soft option guy!

Damian played centre for the Jan Kriel XV at the Tony Stoops Rugby Festival in April. At the conclusion of this great event, hosting 33 schools, a Rhino Team was selected to tour Scotland and England. Yes, you guessed it! . . . our Damian made the team. We are immensely proud of him, because we know about his challenges, his struggles and his courage. He’s made difficult choices and done the hard yards, which now brings this opportunity his way.

Well done, Damian!

Jan Kriel turns 80!

Watch this videos with highlights from the birthday celebrations!


  • Place your donation in an envelope and post it
  • Through an electronic transfer with your own bank
  • Donate through our website
  • Complete a debit order and give monthly
  • Bequeath to Jan Kriel’s children
  • Send our children love, encouragement and prayer
Jan Kriel Institute issues Article 18A receipts for all donations received

Annual Tax Certificates were recently mailed to all donors. Please, contact our office for any queries you may have in this regard.

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