Apricot Tree Centre is committed to the stimulation and development of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Apricot Tree strives to provide the highest quality service; enabling each learner to reach their full potential. We cater for learners with unique disabilities who are often not accepted in the public or mainstream special needs schools. As each learner is unique and they have different needs, an ISP (Individualised Support Plan) is set up to establish specific attainable goals and is designed to enable the highest level of development.
We keep our classrooms to a maximum of 7 learners per class. This ensures that learners receive the maximum educational benefit possible.
As each learner is unique and they have different needs, an IEDP (Individual Education Development Program) is set up for them establishing specific attainable goals and is designed to enable the highest level of development.
The Centre has a holistic approach, directing its efforts not only towards the development of the learners, but also towards the support of families with special needs children.
As each learner is unique and they have different needs, it is not possible to follow a specific mainstream curriculum instead we create ISPs (Individual Education Development Plans) in order to establish specific attainable goals and enable the highest level of development. The ISP is formulated within a multi-disciplinary team, which includes the parents, doctors, therapists, facilitators and teachers. The following are areas of focus in the classroom:
Activities are included in the classroom which relate to establishing learning and learning readiness. Learners acquire these skills as a foundation to formal academics.
Formal and functional academics
Functional academics are included in the curriculum, which allow the learners to succeed in real-life situations at home, school and within the community. These include reading, writing, thinking and reasoning and numeracy,
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor activities form an integral part of the daily schedule. These physical skills are important for growth and development; they include balance, posture correction, and movement and ball skills.
Fine motor skills
Fine motor skills involve the small muscles controlling the hand, fingers and thumb and allow learners to complete tasks such as writing, drawing, buttoning, grasping and manipulation of objects. Activities which are included in our curriculum are specifically tailored to each learner’s physical capabilities.
Alternative and augmentative communication is included in all aspects of the day at the Centre. At the Apricot Tree we utilise Makaton signing, Boardmaker PCS symbols and the GRID. We are fortunate to have access to iPads, big Mac communication devices and PODD books.
Life skills form a significant part of the leaner’s IEDP. Learners are exposed to and explicitly taught practical skills that are needed to take care of one-self. The learners are encouraged to be as independent as possible and the life skills are adapted to allow each individual learner to participate and succeed.
Social Emotional Development
Social emotional development refers to a learner’s ability to understand their feelings and the feelings of others. Regulate their emotions and behaviours allowing and encouraging positive relationships to form between peers and in society.
We are not special parents because we have special needs children. We are regular people who have become better human beings because of our special needs children
After having at first been through a few special needs schools, and being home-schooled for a couple of years, Keenan has now been a part of the Apricot Tree school for the past 10 years. Both we and he love the environment and the beautiful surroundings, but most of all the wonderful caring, patient, loving teachers, care workers and therapists that take care of, teach and interact on a very personal level with Keenan (and us) every day. Each child is treated as an individual and assisted to reach their full potential. In spite of living about 20km from the school, we feel it is absolutely worth the journey.
Child – Keenan Grey 22 years
Apricot Tree is more than just a Centre to me, it is family.
It’s our little safe haven, truly the best-kept secret in Benoni.
Our amazing journey started with this special place in 2013, Apricot Tree was the 5th Centre in four years for my little girl.
From the moment she arrived; she was welcomed with open arms and she received the best care, stimulation and input that she needed.
Her little brother joined this year as we confirmed last year that both have the same, rare genetic disorder, Called SPATA5.
Apricot Tree is the place for rare and special amazing learners to grow and discover who they are.
I am so blessed to be part of this Centre and excited to grow with them.
Child – Chloe 12 and Stuart 3
Apricot tree for us as a family is one of our biggest support structures with Tristin. Not just with regards to his education. But to His abilities to be a functioning young man at home and within his community! Every staff member is passionate about their calling to assist and work towards each child overcoming their disability to be all God has created them to be. Zoning in on their strengths and lovingly, patiently encouraging and strengthening their weaknesses! It’s a super fun place to learn. Each teacher is full of love, life, energy, excitement, passion and understanding. As a family, we feel loved, accepted, encouraged and supported on this adventure of raising a special needs child. The Apricot Tree has grown Tristin in ways we could never have imagined! He LOVES going to school. Because there he feels loved, accepted and celebrated. As well as having a purpose! He loves his friends, teachers, Facilitators and therapist. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and this is very true raising a special needs child too. Apricot tree is part of that village! And we are truly grateful to be apart of the Apricot tree family!
Child – Tristin 18-year-old