Thinking Schools

SACS Junior has initiated our Thinking Schools philosophy in line with the development of a thinking culture in every aspect of school life.

This is the beginning of a long and steady process whereupon we join other progressive schools in teaching children and teachers to think about the way that we think and learn as different individuals. We are delighted to have been awarded Thinking School Accreditation status from the Cognitive Education Centre at Exeter University in October 2017. Please contact the School for a copy of the accreditation report from Professor Lena Green.



Our SACS Junior Thinking Schools Philosophy Poster was launched in March this year and is proudly displayed around the school.


The poster was created in order to visually display the goals and values we place on the development of thinking at SACS Junior School.

The outer ring highlights the seven core values that we would like to instill in every one of our boys.

The next ring showcases the sixteen Habits of Mind. (Art Costa and Bena Kallik)  These are logical qualities that, upon reflection, are all sound habits through which we should conduct everyday life. The Habits of Mind form a common language used in all arenas; academic, sport, cultural and in the homes of our students. Strategies to improve and develop these Habits are taught both explicitly and also reinforced in everyday classroom teaching.

The inner ring outlines the areas of Visible Thinking, Reflection and Thinking Tools that we have chosen to assist the development of cognition in all boys.

We use several of Edward de Bono’s CoRT (Cognitive Research Trust) thinking routines. A firm favourite that allows good reflective practice is PMI. Plus, Minus, Interesting. Boys may be asked to evaluate their work, behaviour or use of a Habit of Mind using this reflection tool.

Habits of Mind:


Thinking Maps:

David Hyerle’s Thinking Maps are the graphic organisers that we have chosen to assist our boys in making their thinking visible. There are 8 maps, each of which depicts one of the ways in which the brain processes information. The maps act as the scaffold for learning. Units of work are taught using the Maps as a visual organiser, so that a deeper understanding of the thinking required for each of the tasks is developed.



Grade 1 Circle Map defining the digit 4

Blooms SACSonomy (sic):

2017 brings the development and explicit teaching of Blooms/Andersons taxonomy as another method of developing Thinking within the school. We have created our own visual depiction of the Blooms pyramid in the guise of Saxie the lion. Saxie is our school mascot.


Susie Appleby one of our current parents drew the following illustrations to depict the six levels of cognition that the brain utilises to learn. The boys receive explicit teaching into how to develop these areas of cognition and how to use them effectively in the classroom.







All staff receive intensive training and regular updates into current practices and models that serve to develop higher order thinking and processing in themselves and the boys’.

Metacognition is practised inherently from Grade R – 7. Explicit Thinking Schools lessons for Grades R, 4 – 7 take place twice yearly with teachers taking the lessons learned into their own classrooms. Grades 1 – 3 have a Thinking Skill lesson every second week. The thinking school coordinator plans and teaches these lessons.


Thinking Schools South Africa –


Habits of Mind –

Thinking Maps –

Blooms Taxonomy –

Exeter University Cognitive Education –