By | February 27, 2020

Grade R stands for Reception. It is the year that our children are received into the scary world of ‘big’ school. If their reception is warm and fun, they will have an excellent foundation for coping with school and enjoying learning.

The DBE’s Foundation Phase includes a pre-school grade known as grade R, for “reception”. Grade R is compulsory, but not all primary schools offer grade R. Grade R may also be attended at pre-school facilities.

Grade R Curriculum

Ages:   12 Months – 2 Years

             3 years – 4 years

             4 years – 5 years

2 – 5 Years Curriculum

    Arts & Crafts

    Physical training (PT)

    Songs + Rhymes




    Listening skills

    Stimulationg games

    Stimulating activities

    Sensory stimulation

    Motor stimulation

    Social Development

    Fantacy Play

    Numerals – 1 2 3

Grade R Curriculum

    School readiness

    Perceptual training

    Emotional Maturity


    Numeracy + mathematics



    Physical Education

    Reading Readiness

    Writing Readiness

    Preparatory writing

    Listening techniques

    Song, music, movement & drama rings

    Science, History & Geography

Grade R Age

The admission age of a learner to a public school to

  • Grade R is age four turning five by 30 June in the year of admission;
  • Grade 1 is age five turning six by 30 June in the year of admission.

The principal of the school must give a parent/guardian the admission policy of the school and explain it.  A public school may not administer any test for admission to a school.

Grade R Admission Requirements

Documents that are needed when making an application include the:

  • Birth certificate (Note that baptismal certificates will not be regarded as proof of birth date)
  • Immunisation card; and
  • Transfer card or last school report card for learners who have been to school previously.

Additional documents required if one is not a South African citizen are: 

  • Study Permit
  • Temporary or permanent residence permit from the Department of Home Affairs; or
  • Evidence that you have applied for permission to stay in South Africa
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Grade R Registration

About enrolling your child in a public or independent school

You must enroll your child in a school between 1 August and 31 October of the preceding year. A Grade R applicant must be four years turning five or older by 30 June the next year and an applicant for grade one must be five years and turning six or older by 30 June the next year.

You are free to choose whether to register your child at a public school or at an independent school. Public schools are state controlled and independent schools are privately governed. Independent schools must be registered with the Provincial Education Department. Public schools must be established by the MEC for education in the province.

You can check with the Provincial Education Department if the school you wish to enroll your child in is registered before you make any registrations and payments.

Note: No school may treat your child unfairly and no public school may require your child to write an admission test, or prevent your child from coming to school because you have not paid or cannot pay the school fees.

Registration procedure

Apply a year before at a school near you or a school of your choice (between 1 August and 31 October).

To register the following documents are compulsory:

  • Application form from the school
  • Official birth certificate
  • Immunisation card
  • If you are moving your child from one school to another, submit latest school report, and a transfer card.

If your child is not a South African citizen, include the following documents:

  • study permit 
  • temporary or permanent residence permit or proof that you have applied for permission to stay in South Africa.

School fees

School fees vary from school to school. If you cannot afford to pay you must make arrangements with the school. Although a school cannot refuse a learner admission, they can take legal action against you for failure to pay any outstanding school fees.

Forms to complete

Application forms are available at schools.

Importance of Grade R

Bridging the gap between pre-school and primary school

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Although many parents are aware that Grade R is an important year that bridges the gap between pre-school and primary school, not many realise that this is a fundamentally important phase of a child’s life. It’s during this time that a child starts to develop a sense of self and acquires skills such as responsibility and independence. It’s also during this phase of a child’s life that they learn about consequences.

Grade R teachers shape a child’s development at this age

Grade R teachers have a tough job. They’re essentially laying the groundwork to prepare our little ones for schooling as well as for life. Grade R is a key year in a child’s educational development because it focuses on helping children take important steps towards independence while teaching them vital social skills.

How to make choices that foster independence

Children in Grade R are usually around six years old, which is a good stage to introduce them to the idea of choices and their consequences. The focus moves from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation. The aim is to start developing the notion of responsibility from an early age, which allows children to make the decision to develop good habits. Ultimately the hope is that children will choose to do good things themselves.

The importance of play

There’s a big misconception that Grade R is ‘just about play’, but Fiona points out that play is the root of many important learning experiences. ‘Children learn through their senses, so they need to spend time touching, seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling. They also learn through doing, so they need many opportunities to experience things for themselves.’

Grade R teacher Qualifications

In order to become a Grade R teacher, you need one of the following qualifications:

  1. a 3-year Diploma in Grade R Teaching OR
  2. a 4-year Bachelor of Education: Foundation Phase Teaching (B.Ed. Foundation Phase) OR
  3. a Bachelor degree other than a B.Ed. plus a 1-year Post-graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), specialising in Foundation Phase teaching.

Salary for Grade R teachers

According to Payscale, a special education Grade R teacher can earn as high as R233,835 per year and R7 500 a month.