The School of Philosophy began in Durban during the 1960’s, and shortly thereafter the School Leader, Mr Lawrence Stretton, decided to form a ‘Saturday School’ for children between four and a half and 12 years of age.
Almost all parents, already in the adult groups, supported this venture, and about 30 children enrolled. They were introduced to Sanskrit, Geometry, Art, Calligraphy, Vedic Mathematics and Singing. But most importantly they were encouraged to pause often, and to listen with care and attention, Many outings were arranged; and weekends away to the Kamberg Valley, Umgeni Valley and Karkloof Valley – created amazing memories and forged long lasting friendships. This initial group are now in their 40’s and have children of their own.
In 1994 a young man who was attending a Philosophy course in Umlazi, asked if he could bring some children from his area to Saturday School. The following week clapped-out taxis and other dodgy transport delivered 90 children to Montpelier Road. The numbers grew each week. We did not have enough rooms, or equipment, or tutors or food. Communication was a problem.
And social issues which we were equally unprepared for, were even more problematic. We all did our best however, and Mr Graham Moore, the School Leader at that time, was adamant that love, discipline and a steadiness of purpose were the elements needed to enable these children to thrive. We touched their hearts, and they touched ours. We all grew together. Our Isipingo property was renovated in great haste to accommodate these growing numbers.
Ultimately, this experience lead to the formation of a day school; St James School for Girls and Boys, in Stamford Hill Road. We had to sell both properties to purchase this new building. Now in its 8th year, St James, is in itself, another beautiful story.