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  • October 21, 2021 8:55 pm local time

Up with Downs is a private school in George, South Africa, whose aim is to provide a specialized education that will meet the needs of children with special needs from pre-primary school through adulthood. The school presents young adults with special needs the opportunity to learn life skills through a workshop environment and sheltered employment opportunities throughout the community. Up with Down's strives to remind learners with special needs that they are an important and productive part of society. Visit us online at: Upwithdowns.co.za

Up with Down’s consists of a school that covers basic academics with our learners, a Training Centre where our adults learn valuable life skills and a hostel. We have a total of 35 learners and 15 members of staff running this 3-in-1 facility.

Up with Down’s receives no government subsidies and school fees are insufficient to cover our operating costs. Or annual fundraising events help to fill the shortfall, and we are always on the lookout for volunteers to help us with various programs.

We operate within a Trust, and we are a registered Non Profit Organistation (PBO 930029476). All funds received go directly to the school and running of the hostel. Donations in cash or by means of service or goods are always welcome. Cash donations are tax deductible.

Should you wish to visit our school and meet our very special ‘family’ at Up with Down’s please feel free to contact the school office to set up a suitable time or visit our Facebook page for more information.

Bookings can be made through the school office to attend the coffee shop on a Wednesday morning at the Adult Training Centre, where the young adults cook, bake and wait on patrons – they just love to show visitors around the facility where life skills are the main focus of the program.

A hair salon, woodwork room, laundry and a very busy kitchen keep the young adults occupied.

Outings to the SPCA, library, working at Panarottis and the Heather Park Spar are just some of the fun excursions enjoyed each week. Volunteers give generously of their time to enable the learners to take part in hose riding at the George Riding Club and line dancing with “Steptogether”.

A full time Adult Home will complete the facility – a safe haven for our adults to live for the rest of their lives. It is an ongoing concern for families of children with special needs as to what will happen later in life when parents are no longer around.

Our Services

School program: 07h50 – 13h00

The school program focuses on basic academics (Numeracy and Literacy), life skills, as well as developing speech, gross – and fine motor skills.

We are constantly tweaking and adapting our teaching and assessment in order to suit the learners in our program. At the beginning of the year we set out clear goals for each learner as part of their IEP (Individualised Education Plan). Teaching also incorporates technology in the form of using iPads, an interactive white board and laptops with large display screens.

A healthy body equals a healthy mind is also true for special needs individuals and therefore we aim to do two physical, extramural activities a week. These activities change from term to term. We also incorporate PE (Physical Education) as part of our weekly lessons.

The school has four classes: Blue, Maroon, Yellow and Purple. Each class room has a teacher/facilitator and an assistant. Our class sizes vary; our smallest class consisting of 3 learners and our biggest class has 5 learners.

Teachers are encouraged to organise one trip per term where learners can learn and experience the subject matter first hand in a fun, practical way.

Adult program: 07h50 – 13h00

Facilitator, three assistants plus volunteers

The adult program focuses on life skills and income generating projects. It is designed to prepare the young adult for a working and living environment by identifying and building upon the individual’s strengths within their own potential.

Currently there are 15 adults in the Training Centre. A variety of projects are incorporated into the full day program, such as cooking, baking, cleaning, laundry, gardening and woodwork. Extramural activities such as horse riding, swimming, 10 pin bowling and tennis are all very popular within the program.

A lunch program was recently introduced where the adults prepare and cook meals for the learners and also for outside orders 3 times a week. Plans are to expand on this to include the sale of frozen meals. All vegetables used are grown on site.

Extra activities during school hours include:

  • Tennis
  • Horse riding
  • Swimming
  • Ten Pin Bowling
  • Yoga

Adult Home

Phase 1 of the adult home is underway with phase 2 to follow within the next few months. Situated across the street from the school and Training Centre, the adult home will eventually offer a full time ‘home’ for adults who attend the UWD adult program.

Afternoon programme/aftercare: 13h00 – 16h00

We have an afternoon programme/aftercare for those parents/families who need to make use of it.

Admission to all of the above programmes is subject to terms and conditions.

About Us

Up with Downs school was established in 1998 by parents of children with Down Syndrome. The need for special care and schooling for their children was the main aim. Today the school houses children of various special needs. The school is managed by the parents. The aim of the school is to provide a specialized education that will meet the needs of children with special needs.

Up with Downs is a non-profitable organization and operates within a Trust under the supervision of a Board of Trustees.

The school was founded when a few parents saw no alternative for their children, other than sending them far away to live in a hostel environment.

The school acknowledges each child’s own potential and works in collaboration with the parents to build each child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).


25 Pieter Theron Street, Blanco, George, South Africa

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