Where children flourish

Three Peaks is an independent Christian primary school in the Cape Town City Bowl.

A joyful, supportive environment that nurtures your child through ideas and relationship.

Rich and broad content that cultivates your child's natural curiosity and motivation to engage with the world.

A foundation of good, life giving habits that develops your child's capacity for focused, sustained attention.

Like you, we've wrestled with the idea of entrusting our children's future to a school system that seems to be getting more demanding on the family, yet less effective at equipping our children with the character, competence and social skills that they need.

We've dreamt of an alternative, yet grounded education rooted in Christian values where children are valued and seen as active contributors capable of great works.

That's why we've established Three Peaks, in partnership with Ambleside Schools International.

Based in the City Bowl, we offer an educational model that supports genuine learning built on the following three pillars

  • A joyful environment where children are safe, secure and valued.

  • A curriculum that develops independent thinkers with a broad foundation of knowledge.

  • The discipline and structure that builds life-giving habits and excellent character.

"Whatever the natural gifts of the child, it is only so far the habit of attention is cultivated in them that they are able to make use of them"

- Charlotte Mason

Our Application Process

Fill in the application forms

Visit the school

Parent interview

Applications for our 2022 Grade R-4 classes are currently open. Please click the "apply" button for more information on our application process.

You can download the fee schedule here: 2022 School Fees

Please visit our Gardens Nook page for more information about our Pre-School applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is our approach to education?

True education is the growing experience and understanding of the interwoven relationships of life. As children discover the world around them, they begin to understand themselves in relation to the present, the past, nature, literature, music, art, and human needs and aspirations.

One of the ways this transpires in practice is that you will find the classroom has maps and a timeline on the walls of each classroom – the life of every historical figure we study, whether an artist, composer or political leader is numerically placed on the timeline according to when they lived and their geographical location identified on the maps. Each person is understood in terms of the context in which they were born which may have influenced them and their life’s work. This provides children with the opportunity to see the unfolding of civilizations, appreciate the cause and effect of significant events, and helps them to grasp the story in which they play a part.

True education is also not limited to the classroom. The tangible experiences of forests, oceans, singing birds, life size sculptures, community and family all play a vital role in helping children make sense of their world and how they ought to respond to it.

All children participate in a broad, rigorous curriculum—all children calculate, solve, attend, explore, ponder, recite, paint and sing. The curriculum is divided into inspirational and disciplinary subjects. These are alternated throughout the day to keep the children stimulated and their attention focused.

Inspirational subjects include: Bible, Nature Study (the foundation of science), Picture Study (examining great works of art), Composer Study (examining great music), History Readings, Poetry, Read Aloud and Tales and Fables.

Disciplinary subjects include: Art, Home Narration, Afrikaans, Geography, Handwork, Handwriting, Mathematics, Phonics / Spelling / Reading, Recitation, Transcription / Dictation.

Children are exposed to “well chosen texts” – these are great works of literature, art, music, science and nature, compiled by experts in their fields. The children are expected to engage with these texts themselves directly. They make connections across subject areas that are real, not manufactured or contrived. They are exposed to high levels of language and are not spoken down to. The expectation is that children can learn to relate to these texts themselves in a life-giving way.

Homework is usually only reading. Occasionally, work may be sent home if a child hasn’t completed it in the designated time, or in order to practice and master specific skills. However, the teacher may request to spend time with a child after school to consolidate work if a child is struggling.

The teacher carefully observes the children and evaluates their progress on a daily basis. Children are also formally assessed each semester but no additional preparation is required for this – rather, this is a genuine assessment of what the child is learning at school and provides further data, in addition to the teacher’s running records, to demonstrate the growth in the child’s mastery of content and skills.

What are the sizes of our classes?

Our approach to education can only be effectively applied in small classroom environments. We believe that 16 children per class is an optimal number and do not allow our class sizes to exceed 18 children.

Why do we intentionally cultivate a non-competitive environment?

“We’ve forgotten that school is a place that you go to learn. It’s a place of preparation, not performance. Once you’ve learnt skills and gained confidence based on real competence, you are better prepared for the stress of performance and competition.” - Gary Kirsten, former SA cricket team coach and batsman

Gary Kirsten was quoted saying this while addressing parents regarding school sport. We acknowledge the ruthless and competitive world that we are preparing our children for. However, we do not believe that the exposure to competition at a young age is the best way to prepare them for this. When there is competition in the classroom, children’s attention is taken off the subject at hand and is then drawn to competing with their classmates for rank, grades and prizes. Competition and artificial rewards shut down real learning. Rather, their childhood should be a time when they are provided an opportunity to learn a broad range of subjects to develop their interests and skills. As Gary Kirsten mentioned, this will then ensure that they are better prepared for the world. In addition, as they learn alongside their peers with consideration and respect, they learn to collaborate and share knowledge which is even more important for their future.

What is our approach to sport?

We believe children should learn to master their bodies and sport can be one of the ways in which this is done. During the school week, we make time for physical conditioning, which serves to build a foundation of fitness for life. Sport and healthy competition can be a wonderful gift to children. Should you wish for your child to receive sports coaching, we highly recommend Sportshub which is offered as an extramural (at an additional fee when the Covid-19 regulations are relaxed). The children receive excellent coaching related to the six most popular sports in South Africa and enjoy team games and match simulations as they grow. Their model is based on the best of sports science and is the foundation any child needs to enjoy sport in their life. You can read more about it here: Sports Hub Coaching

What about extra-murals?

From an educational philosophy point of view, we do not believe that your child “needs” to go to extra murals as the curriculum we use is rich and varied and prioritises forming the habits which will help them succeed in all areas of life. Having said that, extra murals can enrich your children and make practical sense for you in terms of extending the school day, and those that are offered are in line with our educational philosophy. We do not recommend that children be so overscheduled that they don’t have time for rest and unstructured play – this will backfire on the benefit to the family.

What are the habits that we foster?

We train children in the habits of:

  • Paying attention to the matter at hand, whether it be working out a mathematical equation, cleaning the school garden or following a given instruction

  • Managing their bodies – learning to exercise control over the movement or lethargy of their body

  • Imagination - delighting in tales of imagination rather than the ludicrous; expressing themselves freely through diverse and various mediums, and exhibiting curiosity in learning

  • Neatness and order – executing work properly and neatly; practicing executive function skills

  • Excellence – giving their best effort, being thorough and accurate, and completing tasks

  • Punctuality – observing appointed times & working within them

  • Remembering - recalling information, facts and knowledge. Retaining knowledge from previous lessons and assimilating that into the lesson at hand

  • Responsibility - attending to personal belongings and accounting for their behaviour in relationships, work and activities

  • Truthfulness - displaying carefulness in stating the truth, avoiding exaggeration

  • Careful Thought – tracing cause and effect, making comparisons, working independently and confidently and participating in a dialogue of thought

  • Good Temper – demonstrating kindness, patience, humour, cheerfulness and humility. Displays strengthening of will by bringing themself to do what they ought to do

What is our approach to technology?

We are preparing our children for an uncertain future – although we are certain that our future is in a digital age. Why then don’t we use technology? If you want to code in the future, the underlying skill is problem solving. If you want to innovate, the underlying skill is creative thinking. We see technology as an enabler, and something that is invading every aspect of our reality. We want to focus on the underlying skills that will enable our children to participate meaningfully in a digital future. We also want to develop their ability to pay attention – and the presence of screens and phones in a room undermines the capacity for undivided attention. So you won’t find computers in our classes because we’re developing the underlying skills needed for the future which, enabled with technology, can change the world.

What is the difference between mainstream, Montessori and Charlotte Mason education?

The mainstream education system was designed in and for the industrial era. It has been labelled the “factory model of education” where children pass through a standardized system in order to produce workers for the economy. Both Maria Montessori and Charlotte Mason were education reformers who rejected the idea that children be seen as products of a system. You may find that schools that embrace their philosophies are similar as they both are intentional about preparing beautiful learning environments for children whose value is esteemed. However, their underlying philosophy of education differs as evidenced below:

Schedule of the day:

  • Montessori schools will allocate long periods of uninterrupted and unstructured time (2-3 hours) in which the children choose what they focus on.
  • Charlotte Mason schools have multiple short lessons in a day covering a broad range of subjects.

Role of the teacher:

  • The Montessori teacher guides the child as the child chooses what they learn.
  • The Charlotte Mason teacher presents the carefully selected texts and then directs the child to pay attention to and engage with various ideas relationally.

Role of the classroom:

  • Montessori schools provide thoughtfully prepared, age-appropriate environments that nurture children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
  • Charlotte Mason schools present broad and thoughtfully assimilated experiences through varying texts that nurture and challenge children’s understanding of themselves in relation to the world around them, whilst mastering skills that are cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically related.

What do we mean when we describe ourselves as a Christian school?

By Christian we mean Christ-centered. As we apply ourself to the task of education and the fostering of a dynamic learning community in our context, we work from the assumptions of the Bible regarding truth and human nature - i.e. how we know and how we grow as people.

For example, one of the fundamental beliefs that shapes our on-the-ground-day-in-and-day-out experience of learning and being together is the idea that the child is a person, not a product - created in the image of God. At the same time we wrestle with the reality of our sinful condition and the weakness of will, mind and heart that each one of us experiences.

Likewise, because we believe that all truth is God's truth, we encourage children to discover and embrace it in all the beautiful dimensions of knowledge before us (art, history, maths, nature study etc.). But knowledge is never abstract, it is always known in relation to something else - God, ourselves, our neighbour, and our world. Therefore true learning and knowing is never divorced from personal growth in understanding, character and doing. And because learning is never just a content-aquisition excercise, but a discovery of God, life and self, learning is something to be loved.

The answer to the FAQ above might sound more like part of the answer to a question related to our educational philosophy. This is both unavoidable and intentional - for the simple reason that our Christian faith is not just a statement of beliefs, but is the most significant shaping factor in who we are and what we do as a school.

In terms of denominational affiliation, Three Peaks is not affiliated with any particular Christian denomination or theological tradition. We are committed to bearing witness to the person, work and principles of Jesus Christ as expressed in the New Testament, and the expression of its central truths in historically orthodox creeds such as the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. Within these bounds, we recognise that a broad range of secondary theological differences and identifying characteristics do exist between different church groups and Christians.

Similarly, Three Peaks warmly welcomes children from all backgrounds. We do not require that the families of the children in our school fully share our Christian convictions, only that they agree to be respectful of our commitment to them, understanding that this is a core aspect of our school identity.

What about children with special needs?

Children who attend Three Peaks must be able to access our curriculum. Where this is possible, we can offer a rich learning experience. We use a set teaching methodology in the classroom, and do not offer individualised programmes. Should your child experience any barriers to learning, whether neurological, physical, hearing, visual, emotional, behavioural, or any other medically assessed special need, you are required to inform the school before your child is enrolled. During the application process, children are required to spend up to three days visiting the class that they are applying to be a part of. This provides an opportunity for the school and the family to assess whether Three Peaks is a good fit for the child.

Contact Us

Email: info@threepeaks.org.za

Address: 5 Vriende Street, Gardens

School hours are currently:
- Grade 2 & 3: 7:50am - 2pm
- Grade R & 1: 8am - 12:45pm
- Pre-School: 8.10am - 12.25pm
- Extended Care available until 2pm each day

Feel free to email to arrange a call or meeting with us.

Please note that currently, no extramurals are operating.

Term 1: 18 January - 26 March
Term 2: 12 April - 25 June
Term 3: 20 July - 22 September
Term 4: 6 October - 8 December
There is a school holiday on 26 April 2021.
There is no school on public holidays.