Elbe van der Walt-Webber and Thornley Webber were involved in performing arts youth development projects across South Africa for more than 15 years. As a result of their long-standing relationship with the legendary name in musical instruments, many of their initiatives, aimed at the development of young talent in South Africa, were sponsored by Yamaha. Following the birth of their sons, both now teenagers, Elbe and Thornley embarked on an exciting new journey – the search for an ideal education for their own children. Having practically seen the enormous benefits of exposure to the arts in action for so many years, they longed for their sons to experience this educational advantage on an everyday basis. Sparked by an interest in Montessori education and the wealth of emerging modern-day creative development programmes for pre-school children, Elbe’s psychology background and specific interest in child psychology led her to doing extensive research in this regard. A new vision was born: To establish an educational concept where young people can benefit from arts-inspired learning, a unique style of early education that encompasses all aspects of child development.
Elbe holds a B.A. degree (cum laude), majoring in Psychology and Law, and an Honours degree in Psychology (US). Exploring her interest in the performing arts from an early age, she trained as a dancer for more than 15 years and was actively involved in various music, drama and dance projects. She was elected head girl in high school, acquired the UNISA music qualification ‘Final’ (piano), played the flute and received distinctions in Music, Biology and Languages in her matric year. During her student years, she was a member of the acclaimed Alabama revue group and taught ballet to pre-school children.
During her first appointment as marketing manager, she enjoyed the privilege of being selected as a national finalist in the Miss South Africa pageant, which afforded her the opportunity to complete relevant courses in public speaking, drama and television presenting, while being introduced at a professional level to the world of showbiz and television. She worked as a professional fashion and commercial model on a number of modelling and acting assignments and handled the creative planning, make-up, styling and art direction of various photographic and television shoots.
Elbe co-founded Options Productions in 1995, then one of the pioneering businesses in the South African event production industry, producing more than 250 events across South Africa over 15 years, including talent shows, fashion shows, music concerts, promotional events and the like, with most of the events being part of broader national performing arts youth development initiatives. Her affinity for all things creative found expression in skills such as project conceptualization, event planning and management, creative project marketing, public relations, copy-writing, creative design and choreography, whilst her inherent ability to teach and direct found expression in artistic direction. Some of the highlights of Elbe’s career of 17 years as a performing arts youth development specialist include the conceptualization, planning, marketing and management of the Annique Missy Junior R.S.A, Yamaha Young Talent, S.A. Model and Yamaha Key Performers of Note campaigns. She also headed the adjudicator panels of the Yamaha Young Talent and Yamaha Key Performers of Note youth projects.
Soon added to her repertoire were completion of a NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action) White Belt Intensive, the Theophostic course in pastoral counselling, specialist workshops on creative movement, music, sensory processing and the education of young children, as well as the becoming mother to two beautiful sons. Propelled on by her educational vision for her own children and her longtime interest in Child Psychology, supported by extensive research and an intuitive passion for creative childhood education, Elbe founded the Capriccio! Arts Inspired Education concept in 2012. Currently still the managing owner of Capriccio Private School, she has been a creative entrepreneur and businesswoman for more than 30 years.
No stranger to the world of childhood education, Thornley is a Third Dan karate instructor who participated in various championships on provincial, national and international level, with more than 6 year’s experience in the instruction of young children in karate and extensive all-round sport background.
He owned a children’s model agency, trained many young ramp, photographic and commercial models over a period of 10 years via workshops hosted at model studios across the country, inspired numerous aspiring young talent performers and choreographed a vast number of talent and fashion shows involving young children over a period of 15 years, sponsored by well-known fashion houses and brands. Having studied B. Comm. Accounts, Thornley worked as an accountant before being beckoned from the world of numbers to the industry of figures. The experience of being selected as a finalist in the Mr. South Africa competition led to him being offered the opportunity to work locally and internationally as a professional model, but his natural ability to analyse, organize and manage eventually called him back to the business world, where he was involved in the restaurant business for many years.
Having worked extensively on youth development projects across the country, he possesses impeccable organizational skills and has extensive experience in project planning, strategic marketing, project management, event coordination and technical production elements such as stage design and sound engineering. As choreographer, compere and artistic director, he was involved in a vast number of productions and has excellent public speaking skills. As a sought-after photographer specializing in contemporary wedding photography, model portfolios and fashionable family photography, Thornley developed an unparalleled eye for detail and creative composition.
We have the privilege of perusing Thornley’s extensive background and business experience in the financial management and development of our school. Having been a businessman for more than 40 years and also the proud and caring father of two teenage boys, Thornley is a strong role model who is committed to honouring family values and investing in the well-balanced development of children.
Principal Rosina has specialized in education since 2005. She ran her own school for 12 years, after which she spent a year in New Zealand with her daughter. Rosina obtained her B. Ed Foundation Phase degree and has extensive experience as an art teacher as well. Community outreach has always been a big part of her life and she endeavours to make a difference in young people’s lives. This includes working with children that have severe disabilities and working in the field of Creative Arts in Somerset West.
Having a passion for art and education, Rosina has always been intrigued by how effectively the two can melt together for the enrichment of the child. Her philosophy in life is that you should never stop learning and consistently continue adding to the quality of your life by exposing yourself to new experiences. She has completed workshops in Child counselling and Special Needs Memory and Concentration.
Rosina strongly believes in the power and importance of art, not only as an essential component of a curriculum, but also in offering emotional support and wellness to students – Hence her special interest in art as a counselling tool to offer support, nurturing and guidance through expression.
Rosina has a kind, dedicated and gentle nature that is evident in the way she approaches every child, parent and situation that she comes into contact with. She is the principal at Capriccio Private School and head educator in our Foundation Phase, who facilitates communication at our school and oversees the development of our arts inspired curriculum.