Welcome and thank you for choosing boarding at St Mary’s DSG. We look forward to a long and happy association with you. This is our community and we strive to make it vibrant and inclusive. The Boarding House provides a welcoming home to up to 200 girls from the age of 10 with freshly cooked meals, organised social activities, relaxing times and supervised prep.
At DSG Boarding you’ll discover the strong connections that result from living in a Boarding school environment. Boarding creates bonds — many of them lasting into university and beyond. At St Mary’s DSG, we believe that boarding should complement, not replace family life and that is why we ensure that we have open lines of communication with the families at all times. One of the attributes of being at St Mary’s DSG Boarding, as shared by some of our past and present students is the independence and responsibility that comes with being away from home and knowing that they are becoming experts at solving their own problems and making decisions.
It is important to acknowledge that students in Boarding don’t just have to manage their own affairs, they learn how to live and deal with other people. They are challenged to develop their interpersonal skills through a wide range of activities. Therefore, in order to achieve this, at St Mary’s DSG we believe in holistic education. While in Boarding, the girls are equipped with much-needed life skills that will help them navigate life. In the junior Boarding House, each student is expected to develop the necessary skills and attitudes for effective communal living. This includes taking responsibility for her personal hygiene, maintaining a clean, orderly living space and becoming aware of the impact of her behaviour on others. They are assisted in this process by the Boarding staff who guide them and provide different learning activities. The Boarding House staff also support students who are struggling with home-sickness and help them to develop positive coping mechanisms. As the students settle into life in Boarding, they are expected to work on the development of their time management, organisational skills and interpersonal skills.
On the other hand, the senior students are expected to demonstrate leadership and exhibit a positive outlook and attitude. They should also demonstrate sound organisational, interpersonal and time management skills as these skills will assist them to become well-balanced, responsible individuals who are preparing to live independent lives. At the end of each term, parents and guardians get a report on their daughter’s progress.
Every student at DSG is valued and we strive to ensure that she is comfortable during her stay. We have students from all over Africa which provides a diverse mix and allows for girls to make friends with a wide range of people.
Our boarding environment contains a strong system of care and the Christian values underpin our Boarding philosophy. Each grade is allocated a housemother who keeps a close eye on the development and well-being of each student. The team is supported by housesisters, (university students) who supervise prep and organise fun weekend activities, the School Chaplain, School Counsellors, Nursing Sisters, Parents and, as appropriate, the Head and Deputy Heads of the School. Boarders have a Chapel service with the school chaplain every Sunday.
Please remember, we are always available through email and on the other end of a phone. These important phone numbers are listed in the handbook.
Wishing you a very happy stay.
Mrs Pumla Dlungwana
Director of Boarding
Subject reports, supported by the Director of Boarding and staff, are an essential summary of the term. These are available as per school calendar.
We try and schedule one social event per term for boarder families. Where possible, it is recommended that you attend. These events are usually on the same day as a Parents / Teacher meeting, providing the opportunity for you to meet your daughterï¿½s teachers and discuss her progress, as well as to meet her friends and their parents.
Cell phones give opportunity for greater ease in communication. Boarders may have their cell phones but conditions apply. Should a boarder be found, not adhering to the rules applying to cell phones, it will be confiscated for a period of one week (SIM card included).
The security of the cell phone is the responsibility of the boarder.
Cell phones may be used during the following times:
Monday ï¿½ Friday ï¿½ after school until evening silence. Not during school times, afternoon activities, prep, meal times etc. On weekends boarders may use their cell phones throughout the day, except during meal times and after evening silence.
Boarders are required to inform the Boarding Office of the cell number, make and model of any mobile phone brought to the boarding house. Airtime is available for purchase from the Boarding Office on a Debit Card System.
All new grade 08s may not make use of any telephones for the first two weeks of term. This is to assist with the settling process and to encourage the girls to follow the correct channels. Parents are more than welcome to call the Director of Boarding to enquire about their daughterï¿½s well-being.
All boarders have an email address and have Internet access through the School Network. All Boarding Houses have wireless networks easily accessible to students as well as networked printers. All boarders have access to computers for emailing. Your daughters email address will be: initial firstname.lastname@example.org;
eg Pumla Dlangwana - email@example.com
Parent / School communications
Parents are always welcome to visit school, but should contact the office in advance to ensure that the boarder and any member(s) of staff the parents may wish to see are available. If parents wish to see the Head, Mrs Howard, they should make an appointment with her secretary, Mrs Pippa Marais.
It is not at all unusual during the early stages of a boarder's stay to experience a degree of homesickness. This is a perfectly natural response to the loss of security and emotional support that home life represents for most young people. Parents also often experience emotional upset that results from the absence of their child. As boarders develop friendships and become familiar with the surroundings and routine of boarding, this feeling of insecurity and emotional confusion passes. In some cases it will recur, particularly if the student is worried or concerned about circumstances at home.
In the early stages of adjustment, keeping busy at school or sport, or at any of the activities that are on offer, can be helpful and boarders will be encouraged to become involved. Parents who are concerned about their daughters are encouraged to make contact with the Boarding Manager.
In the early stages of settling in, parents are encouraged to limit contact with their child. Surprisingly, contact with home can make matters more difficult for some girls. They need to be reassured of parental love and support but excessive contact with home can often be counterproductive. Therefore we encourage parents to:
• Expect that homesickness is a passing phase of a girl's adjustment to boarding life.
• Make contact with the Boarding Manager if there are concerns.
• Encourage your daughters to seek support from boarding staff.
Boarding at St Mary's DSG provides a safe, caring atmosphere ideal for both intellectual and emotional growth.
The aim is to foster a lively, happy community which operates from a stable base where the feeling of belonging to a large family is important. Boarders learn how to live, to work and to play in a community environment, sharing experiences with people of their own age who originate from many different countries and cultural backgrounds.
GENERAL OVERVIEW OF BOARDING LIFE
Boarding is an integral part of life at the school. The boarding house is located on top of the main school building. Boarders enjoy an excellent standard of accommodation, readily available educational and sporting facilities and the chance to enjoy all the opportunities of school life to the full. Perhaps the most important of these opportunities is the time spent building friendships, which will hopefully endure throughout their time at the school and their lives beyond it.
Following are the nine principles upon which boarding at St Mary's DSG is based.
06:30 - 07:20 SAN
06:15 - 06:50 Breakfast
07:15 Boarders leave for school
07:25 Line up and Registration
07:30 - 13:35 School
10:55 - 11:25 School break time
13:35 - 14:10 Lunch
14:00 - 14:30 SAN
14:10 - 17:50 Prep, afternoon activities, watch TV, relax, etc.
14:30 - 17:30 First Supervised Prep session
15:15 - 16:15 Afternoon juice / tea served in boarder courtyard
15:30 - 17:00 Laundry collection
16:00 - 19:00 SAN
18:00 - 18:20 Supper (Formal) - Session 1
18:30 - 18:50 Supper (Formal) - Session 2
19:00 - 20:00 Silence in Dormitories
18:45 - 21:00 Second supervised Prep session
19:15 - 20:00 Coffee break downstairs in the Refectory for everyone
20:30 The outside doors are locked, all boarders must be inside
21:15 All Boarders should be upstairs
21:00 Silence for Grade 8
21:30 Silence throughout the Boarding House (Grade 9 - 12)
21:15 Lights out for Grade 8s
21:45 Lights out for Grade 9s
22:30 Lights out for Grade 10s
22:45 Lights out for Grade 11s
23:00 Lights out for Grade 12s
08:30 - 09:30 Breakfast
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
17:45 - 18:30 Supper
19:00 DVD's or recreation
22:45 Prepare for bed
09:30 - 10:30 Brunch Breakfast
11:00 - 15:00 Recreation
15:00 - 15:30 Afternoon Snack
17:45 - 18:30 Supper
19:15 - 20:00 Chapel
21:15 Silence (All bed times - hr earlier)
The spiritual well-being of all the boarders is of utmost importance. The Boarding Manager, Nursing Sisters, Counsellors and Chaplain, as well as all members of the boarding staff, are only too pleased to talk to any boarder and / or their parents.
In times of personal need boarders are encouraged to contact any of the above for advice, support and encouragement. The Counsellors, Chaplain and Nursing Sisters are directly accessible to students during the day and through the boarding staff at night and on weekends.
Parents who have particular concerns about their daughters can discuss these with the above staff at any time. Counseling is available through the Director of Boarding, the Nursing Sisters or the Counselling Centre.
For girls to develop a sense of belonging, it is necessary for them to have shared experiences with other in the boarding house. These experiences occur in both a structured environment and more importantly in the events of everyday boarding life. It is for this very reason that it is important for girls to spend time in the Boarding House relating to others rather than taking exeats at every available time or be away in their cubicle playing on a computer. Activities are regularly planned on weekends and social activities are also regularly conducted with the boys' schools.
While we do not expect all boarders to be the best of friends, we expect everyone to show respect for others in all that they do and say. Rules are necessary to make it possible for the Boarding House to run smoothly and to ensure that the lives of the girls will be happy and comfortable.
Dormitory Leaders, House Mistresses and the Director of Boarding will respond to and deal with unhealthy dormitory and boarding situations. If the need arises, the Director of Boarding, Mrs Mbandlwa, and then the Head of School, Father Paterson, will become involved with individuals who are incapable of or unwilling to adhere to the boarding and school's expectations mentioned above.
Boarders may go home every weekend if they so choose, except for the 1st weekend of the 1st term which is a closed weekend for all boarders.
Boarders may go home on Friday after their afternoon commitments and should be back in boarding by Sunday evening 19:00.
The Director of Boarding deals directly with requests for exeats from boarding. If the request also involves missing school time, a separate request to be absent from school is to be made directly to the Deputy Principal, Mrs Miller, via the main reception.
Exeats with Parents during the Week
St Mary’s DSG Boarding recognizes the right of access by parents to their child at any time. Prior notification by parents would be appreciated, giving the boarding staff plenty of time to check school commitments or activities. Boarders are to ensure that their prep commitments are met before taking exeats during the week. Return times for outings with parents during the school week is 21:00. The right to access by parents can be further qualified to extend to Grandparents and older brothers or sisters. Special negotiation for an extension beyond these immediate relatives could be to an aunt or uncle, a special family friend or neighbor. The latter is specifically designed to accommodate long distance boarders who have little opportunity of connection with family or friends.
Approved Host and Visitors List
At the beginning of each year, all parents are requested to supply a fully completed and signed Approved Hosts and Visitors List. When nominating persons on your daughter’s visiting/leave lists, it will be assumed that no further permission will be sought from you when these people visit or request leave for our daughter. (If you wish to be notified, please do not enter names on the list). With the exception of siblings, people under 21 years of age cannot be placed on the overnight/weekend/afternoon/tea leave list or sign out or collect girls. Students may only visit, or receive visits from, people on this approved list. Students will only be permitted overnight and weekend leave into the care of a person who has the maturity of years (i.e. wisdom and experience) like that of a parent.
Flexibility in times is acceptable with visits from family members. In the case of visits from friends, visits are generally permitted during the week between 15:00 and 17:00 for a maximum period of one hour. Boarders must introduce their visitors to the staff members on duty, in the office, on their arrival and report again when the visitor is leaving. The area to meet visitors is on the front lawn area. Boarders must be visible at all times. Public displays of affection are inappropriate at the school.
Responsibility for boarders on leave
In authorizing persons as approved Hosts, parents acknowledge that the responsibility for supervision and care of the boarder while on exeat from the boarding house is transferred from the Boarding House to the approved Host. Persons taking on the role as host for boarders need to be made aware by parents of their responsibilities. Parents approving of their daughters visiting homes of Approved Hosts are to confirm their confidence in the suitability of the carer, both morally and legally by making direct contact with the proposed hosts, thus assuring themselves that their daughters are in suitable care.
End of Term Exeats
The School does not support early departure at the end of term. A boarders’ early departure will not be approved except in an emergency. Please apply to the Deputy Head of School in advance if possible. Repeated early departures will be referred to the Head of School.
Weekend Exeats are arranged as follows:
· Requests are to be submitted weekly to the Boarding office on a Pink Exeat form (whether going out or staying in) no later than Wednesday 21:00.
· The Director of Boarding processes and checks permissions. Outstanding permissions are to be emailed, faxed or sms’ed to the Boarding Manager before Friday morning 09:00.
· No boarder may leave until her weekend exeat has been granted.
· All those collecting boarders are to announce themselves to the boarding office prior to pick up and sign the girl out. Please take a Host Slip with you for her return.
· Departure and arrival times for normal exeats are: Departure Friday between 14:00 and 20:00, Saturday after 10:00. Arrival Saturday between 09:00 and 20:00 and Sunday between 10:00 an 19:00.
· Boarders may go shopping Monday to Friday between 14:00 and 17:00 provided that they have no afternoon commitments and over the weekend throughout the day.
· Boarders are expected to wear full school uniform during the week on outings. Over weekends the girls may wear civvies, but must ensure that they are clean and neat, in good repair and worn with modesty.
· Boarders may only go to the Hillcrest Boulevard for the maximum time allowed below:
o Grade 12 a total of 3 hours a week (Monday to Thursday)
o Grade 11 a total of 2˝ hours a week (Monday to Thursday)
o Grade 10 a total of 2 hours a week (Monday to Thursday)
o Grade 9 a total of 1˝ hours a week (Monday to Thursday)
o Grade 8 a total of 1 hour a week (Monday to Thursday)
· Grade 8 boarders must be in a group of at least three boarders. Grade 9 – 12 boarders must be at least two boarders.
· Boarders exceeding their allowed time will not be allowed out the following one week (Monday to Sunday – if staying in – no outings) and will receive a demerit.
Weekday Exeats with Parents
If a parent comes and takes a Boarder out during the week, extra time will be allowed. However, the parent must accompany the boarder to the office when signing out.