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The Deutsche Schule Durban offers a quality German-based education to all


The Deutsche Schule Durban offers a quality German-based education to all

From its beautiful campus in Woodside with its distinctive white buildings, the Deutsche Schule Durban (DSD) offers the greater Durban community an opportunity to provide their children with an excellent bilingual education whilst preserving and celebrating their German culture, language and heritage.

There's a good reason why you'll find a centre of learning dedicated to the German language and culture in the area. Although the DSD originally started in a tiny building in Sarnia in 1971, it found its forever home in 2005 on the border of Cowies Hill and Westville - an area which is rich in German history. KZN's first German community was enticed to the area in 1848, and the incomers established new settlements, which they named New Germany and Westville. So it is little wonder that the site is now home to a thriving independent school with a mission to offer the community a bilingual education and all the benefits that go along with it. 

What bilingual education offers
There's a lot of chatter about how to implement and reap the greatest rewards from education, and one of the shining stars of educational pedagogy is bilingual teaching. Potential benefits for kids are numerous and filter through all aspects of their life. 

The first and most obvious benefit of bilingual instruction in the classroom is that kids master an additional language in an immersive environment. Their skills develop organically and at a pace that set language lessons just cannot compete with. Aside from the increased fluency in an additional language, bilingual education also gives kids a cognitive boost. While they are young and learning the complexities and conflicts of grasping two languages, their malleable brains are building neural pathways that help them resolve internal conflict, process sound better and recognise the subtlety of language at an earlier age than their monolingual peers.

Bilingualism also offers a deeper cultural awareness - an increasingly pivotal aspect in today's society. Being bilingual brings children into close contact with other cultures and equips them to navigate different traditions and systems with greater ease and sensitivity. And in doing so, they also help preserve cultures, languages and traditions, especially in environments with a dominant language like English. It's a win all around and well worth looking into. Luckily for those interested in bilingualism, Westville and its surrounds are fortunate enough to have a German gem right on their doorstep. 

The Deutsche Schule is on a mission
Home to around 140 pupils, the Deutsche Schule Durban opens its doors to children from as young as 18 months in their toddler group all the way up to and including grade 7, the final year of primary school. The kids that attend the school get the advantage of a robust and holistic academic education that includes instruction in both German and English. 

Although traditionally, the pupils come from homes where at least one parent speaks German; there is an increasing trend of non-German-speaking families looking to give their children the advantage of bilingual education with German as their additional language of choice. And, so long as they enter the school at a young enough age to absorb the language (kindergarten level), the Deutsche Schule Durban is keen to welcome children from a variety of backgrounds into their school and wider German community. 

With your child every step of the way
The school's interactive toddler group allows you to enrol your kids from as young as 18 to 36 months of age. The assisting staff members are passionate about using fun methods involving sensory activities to enhance cognitive as well as gross and fine motor skills development - allowing your child to easily pick up on the German language through play. 

The next phase, Kindergarten, caters for children aged from 3 to 6 years old. Even in this phase, the school proudly emphasises that you don't have to speak German to enrol your child in their Kindergarten. Much like the toddler group, three qualified teachers ensure that your child's cognitive, emotional, motor, as well as social skills, are developed and fostered through planned activities. 

The primary phase offers small classes from grades 1 to 7, allowing your child to benefit from plenty of individual attention provided by well-trained and motivated teachers. A calm and nurturing learning environment with bright and airy classrooms surrounded by beautiful grounds gives your child the comfort and confidence to achieve their best with a combination of the South African and German curricula - offering the dual advantage of drawing on both local and international cultural traditions. The school's holistic programme boasts high academic standards, environmental awareness and multiculturalism among other things. 

Although the DSD does not yet offer a high school education, pupils who leave after completing their primary education are given the opportunity to return on Monday evenings to continue German lessons. This allows them to take German as a Matric subject and prepares them to write the internationally recognised German Language Certificate exams. The DSD also offer the Goethe Exams, conveniently administered at the campus as of 2019 so that students no longer have to travel to another province to take their A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 exams. For adults and youth who want to learn German as a foreign language at different language levels, the DSD offers classes that are tailored to all individuals.

Music, sports and other offerings
At the DSD, it's not just all about language. Forming an integral part of the school's curriculum, the DSD believes that music enhances the academic and social development of its students. A comprehensive music programme that incorporates choral singing, Orff, the recorder and music theory is offered from Kindergarten to Grade 7 with opportunities to play in the school orchestras.

Just because the DSD is considered to be a small school does not mean that they're not big on sports. Each student can participate in many sporting events and the school participates in inter-school fixtures. The DSD offers team sports such as Netball, Hockey and Soccer as well as sports that promote individual performance such as swimming and athletics. Students at the DSD also play Cricket and participate in Cross-country events.

For those who don't live within close proximity to the DSD, the school offers a bus service to key Durban areas depending on demand. For busy parents, guardians and caregivers, the school offer a Monday to Friday aftercare programme (including break-up days) from 12:45 to 17:00. Aftercare is provided by an external German-speaking service provider who utilises the school's Kindergarten. For added convenience, Sandy is able to assist kids with their homework. To find out more, you can visit her website:

Caring for the environment 
Community plays a big role in the Deutsche Schule Durban's mission and values. Part of developing and encouraging children to become independent and responsible members of society includes undertaking social responsibility projects. To this end, the school is a long-time Eco-School with initiatives like waste recycling, annual "67 minutes for Mandela" environmental activities, eco-brick collections and planting of indigenous trees. And these children do this all bilingually, which we think is pretty amazing.

The German Academy
At the German Academy, the DSD offer German lessons at any level and for any age group - from Kindergarten kids to retirees who want to keep their minds fresh. Whether you hope to study or live in Germany one day, or simply want to learn another language while meeting interesting people, it's all possible and accessible to anyone as their classes and private lessons are taught online or in person. Start your German learning journey today by sending an email to or visit their website: 

Visit the Deutsche Schule Durban's website or Facebook page to see what the school is all about and how they harness bilingualism for the community's kids. If you are keen to know more about the Deutsche Schule Durban, join them for their open day on Wednesday, 15 March 2023.

Author Shelley Residential
Published 09 Feb 2023 / Views -

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