The Dominican Sisters have been involved in Deaf Education since 1884 in King Williams Town. In 1933 Mr JH Hofmeyr, the Minister of Education, asked the Dominican Sisters to provide education for deaf children in Johannesburg . A property was bought in Melrose, and St Vincent School opened on 23 January 1934 with 38 pupils and 5 teachers. With the help of government, benefactors and parents, the school expanded. The pupils came from all over the then Transvaal, and others from as far as East London, Durban and the former Rhodesia , now Zimbabwe. St Vincent School was for many years the only school for deaf learners teaching through the medium of English and using the oral method.
The changes in the country have brought many adaptations in our school. Our learners now mainly come from disadvantaged areas in Gauteng . Their home language is not English; therefore their language of instruction is their third language, Sign Language being their first. They often have transport problems and never enough money to pay for school fees, hearing aids and school uniforms.
St Vincent School carries out hearing tests to fit learners with hearing aids. Speech therapists assist with language acquisition and voice production. Although Sign Language is the advocated medium of instruction, the staff is convinced that we would be failing our learners if we did not teach them to speak and thus enable them to communicate in whichever mode they feel comfortable.
The school assists parents in coming to terms with their deaf child by counselling and parent support groups. Parents and family members are taught Sign Language in order to communicate with their deaf child. We are constantly encouraging sponsorship from business and the private sector to assist our learners’ educations. Our many friends and benefactors from the community respond wonderfully to our collections of jumble and paper recycling.
We promote deaf awareness in the hearing world. Our signing choir performs at various public functions as well as at other schools. The school also has a variety of visitors ranging from students to researchers, some from overseas. Our shared campus with Pridwin School is a unique venture between a hearing and a deaf school. Not only do we share sports facilities but learners meet regularly during breaks. Pridwin learners receive Sign Language lessons.
Many of our past pupils visit us regularly. They show great interest in the development of the school, and are quite protective of it because they consider it their home. At functions they congregate in large numbers to meet staff and friends. At the school we have a number of past pupils in teaching posts or in class assistant posts.
Chapel; hall; media centre; two computer centres; workshops for Woodwork, Metalwork and Crafts; tuckshop; afternoon care; boarding; soccer field; netball court; four tennis courts; swimming pool; gym
Netball, soccer, tennis, swimming, athletics, volleyball, chess, signing choir
English, Sign Language, Computyping, Computer Application Technology, Mathematics, Woodwork, Engineering Drawing, History, Physiology, Secretarial Catering, Art, Design, Metalwork, Sculpture
140 Visagie Street
PO Box 8149, Pretoria, 0001
012 321 2094