Children Are Persons

"I believe that the first article of a valid educational creed—‘Children are born persons’—is of a revolutionary character…"

— Essex Cholmondeley, The Story of Charlotte Mason

Who hasn’t been defined by character or ability?

Young girl enjoying climbing on play equipment

“You are very musical … or athletic, bright, or mathematically inclined”, says one teacher. “You are tone deaf … or clumsy, average, or have no aptitude for maths,” says another. Defining a child is a common way to identify who he is, to locate something he does well, to bolster his self-esteem, to place him in the right track in school, to direct his extra-curricular activities.

At The Vine School, we do not define children by their strengths or weaknesses. Instead we view them as young persons who have not yet grown into their potential.  As unique individuals, each one will mature at different times; each one is able to grow in areas where they are yet immature.  Each one needs nurturing to author a fruitful life filled with many interests and relationships.

As persons, all children at The Vine School:

  • experience a broad, rigorous curriculum.
  • calculate, solve, attend, explore, ponder, recite, paint, and sing.
  • are held to a high standard in relationship to self, others, ideas, and work.
  • learn without the external motivation of grades, rewards, punishment, or manipulation.
  • participate actively in the learning process each day.
  • learn to complete punctual, accurate, neat, work.
  • demonstrate complex thought, mastery of material, and academic skill.
  • receive support as they master the habits of a life well-lived.
  • encounter a wealth of ideas and knowledge in well-written books.
  • complete tasks worthy of their attention, time, effort, and thought.

“We attempt to define a person, the most commonplace person we know, but he will not submit to bounds; some unexpected beauty of nature breaks out; we find he is not what we thought, and begin to suspect that every person exceeds our power of measurement. I believe that the first article of a valid educational creed—‘Children are born persons’—is of a revolutionary character… We must either reverence or despise children; and while we regard them as incomplete and undeveloped beings … rather than as weak and ignorant persons, (whose ignorance we must inform and whose weakness we must support, but whose potentialities are as great as our own), we cannot do otherwise than despise children, however kindly or even tenderly we commit the offence.”
— Essex Cholmondeley, The Story of Charlotte Mason

Student and Alumni Testimonies

We would love to hear from our Alumni. Tell us what you are up to and share your memories of your time here at The Vine...

In 2019 we contacted the Grade 7 students of 2014 who, by then, were all in Matric. We asked them how they were doing, and what their plans were for 2020.

Abbygail Jacobs
...was at the Ambleside School of Hout Bay and volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium. 

She said, “My fondest memory of The Vine School is Mrs Zyster teaching me Geography. I will never forget the songs she taught us in order to remember the continents, countries and oceans.”

She hopes to go to Stellenbosch University to study Microbiology or Ancient Cultures and Linguistics.

Abbygail's advice to this year’s Grade 7s is, “High school is scary but it's a good scary. There will be challenges along the way but there will be triumphs too. Stay strong, be brave and do your best, work hard and when you get to matric it will be worth it. “

teenage boy playing hockey and receiving an award

Lawson Mangisi
...was at El Shaddai Christian School.  He had been elected as Prefect in charge of operations, and had played first team hockey for three years. 

His fondest memory of The Vine School was, “the small lunch breaks we had in grade 7 where we would all sit as a class and enjoy our food before we went out and played. It felt like a family.”

Lawson hopes to go to university to study Accounting or go into the Computer Science field. He hopes to obtain his qualifications in South Africa but wouldn’t mind an opportunity to study abroad.

His advice to the current grade 7's is, “Enjoy the good times you have with each other now because you don’t know what the future holds. Another piece of advice would be to have a good work ethic which will help you in high school and in life. I also would like to tell them that they should stick to their integrity, it will get them far in life.”

Both Abbygail and Lawson took part in The Vine School’s Shakespeare production of The Merchant of Venice.

Grade 7 Students


What I like about The Vine school is that we worship God every morning by singing and praying in assembly.  The other pupils and the teachers are all very kind and caring. 


I enjoy the assemblies and Bible messages that we study every morning.  I also enjoy PT lessons and the games we are taught to play.  All the teachers really care about their students and make sure that we grow and develop into honourable people and learn to live for Jesus. 


The Vine school has taught me to be a better student with understanding and resiliance.  When I come to school I feel ready to learn and be challenged.  It's also a safe environment to speak about anything.  The teachers are all friendly and ready to help anyone in need. 


The Vine school has taught me to encourage people when they are feeling down and to love your neighbour as you love yourself.  The teachers are very caring and understanding but if you are naughty they can be a bit strict.  Our school is not like any other school, which is a good thing because the Vine school has taught us that God says that we must not be like the world. The Vine School is all about character and who you are as a person.  We learn about God’s word and that’s why I love The Vine School. 


The Vine School has taught me many different things, one of them being how to build and have a relationship with God.  Here we have a different way of doing certain things and our philosophy is different to most schools because we use the Charlotte Mason philosophy.  The Vine School has had an amazing impact in my life teaching me many things metally and physically.  Growing up in a Christian household and attending a Christian school showed me how to become close with God and the importance of having a relationship with God.  Being here I have built many friendships from a young age. I am very grateful for what the school has done for me. 

Two puzzle piece shapes with a Grade 7 girl smiling at you in each piece
Two puzzle piece shapes with a Grade 7 girl smiling at you in each piece


At the Vine school were not just students but we're family.  Our bond with each other is very strong and we share the best memories.  The Vine school is a Christian school and we’re taught to be closer to God in prayer.  We also taught the importance of education towards whatever you want to be in life.  Our school curriculum is different from other school curriculums and we use the Charlotte Mason philosophy to learn the good habits of life. 


On my first day of school, I felt so welcomed.  That had a great impact on my life. The Vine is a family.  When one falls down, we help them get back up again.  This school made me love God more than I ever thought I would and because of that I gave my life to Jesus.  The philosophy of Charlotte Mason has helped me a lot.  At school we learn how to pray to God when we are having a hard day and to thank him for everything he has done for us. 


The Vine School has made a good impact on my life. It has taught me how to love, how to think about others before yourself and has also taught me about the world. The teachers are like our second parents, they care so much about everyone. The staff and admin are so kind and are always willing to give a helping hand whether to the teachers, students or parents. The Vine School's teaching philosophy does not only focus on academics but also focuses on behaviour, respect towards others and good life habits. It also has taught me as a Christian not to exclude nor to judge other people, but that in God's eyes we are all seen as equal.

A puzzle piece shape with a Grade 7 boy handing from a tree branch smiling at you


The Vine School has really changed the way I feel about the Bible and God. They teach us self-control, obedience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. The Vine School follows the Ambleside Curriculum and the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I really like this method because you don't get put under pressure when learning. If I don't understand the work they will always go through the work again to make sure you get an understanding of it. When new visitors come to our school I remember to always greet them like The Vine School taught me. It’s a great school and has really helped me in so many ways.

Younger students - past and present

Inez Gr 2

What I love about our school is that we get to have fun with our friends and that whenever we go to a new class we have sweet teachers. Our teachers are kind whenever they teach us and it is a very interesting thing that we learn about every day. We get to do PT and it is very fun.

Fin Grade 4

I loved the Shakespeare Festival each year. I was able to dress up and act in the play with my friends!

Tawana Grade 6

I love being at the Vine School because there are quite a few practical subjects which I really enjoy. Art , Handwork and Picture Study are my favourite subjects and they allow me to express my artistic skills. I also love being at the Vine School because I have made really good friends and everyone treats each other like family. Assemblies are my favourite time of the day as we get to sing and pray together!

Mila Pre-Grade R

I love playing with my friends and that we laugh and I miss them. I like my teacher, because she always gives me hugs and smiles.

Jude Grade 2

I made so many friends. I could be friends with everyone in my class. I loved the outings.

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