Since January 2019 we finance a kindergarten for (so far) five children on the property of Tlholego. Since the children are still too young to go to school, it is often difficult for the parents to go to work or to find work at all. We also noticed that it was particularly difficult for the other children to go to a boarding school after five years at home. So we want to prepare the little ones to go to school, teach them a bit of English and some basic numbers.
We rent a room on Tlholego that can accommodate up to 20 children and finance books, pens, footballs and other materials. In addition, the children receive breakfast and lunch every day, which they prepare together. The caretaker is Emilia, a South African young woman from Rustenburg (20km away). She has studied social work and now wants to make use of her skills.
We would like to see how quickly the children get used to their new everyday life and then increase the number of children. There are many children living in the area who could come to Emilia and relieve their parents a little.
On Facebook we will keep you up to date and provide you with pictures and information about our new project! Also, you can find here regularly the report of Emilia.
If you want to support the kindergarten directly, you can do this in your by mentioning it in the subject line and we will make sure that your money only goes there and for no other projects.
As it is the beginning of a new month, it is a good idea to report back and make it regular.
The first week was a shock to the system, straight into the deep end with 7am-4pm shifts, as well as organising and sorting out the lecture room. Of course, it was a new move for me and it has been an adjustment for the children too.
We ended off the third week on a much more settled note.
The books, games, magazines and general stationery has been organised in the lecture room and the new tables, chairs and lego has been exciting.
There is still a lot more work to be done but we have come a long way and progress should be the focus.
For now we only have four children coming to classes, I will organise all the children’s paperwork to be filed and kept in a system.
From time to time, baby joins us.
It is important for me to arrange indemnity and have other paperwork in order.
We have organised ourselves so that the children come to class between breakfast and lunch, 9.30am-4pm.
The children have sports periods every Tuesday and Thursday, after lunch, which the Volunteers at Thlolego manage. This has been successful.
The children have attended 4 sports sessions.
The children have been swimming every day and have officially learnt the difference between floating and sinking.
Improvements on kicking and confidence going under the water, have been immense.
We are eating peanut butter sandwiches every day before home time. This is at 3.30pm. Starting from next week, we will be baking every Wednesday morning.
We have found that nap time is unnecessary.
Our walks have been great, being outside is an awesome space for the children to learn. The soil serves to be an infinite sandpit and we have even spent time playing in the mud. Being outside has been great for identifying and learning about various living organisms. Spiders, frogs, tadpoles, cows, chickens, dogs and a cat.
The termite mounds have been an awesome point of focus and close examination, along with questions being raised all through the community.
We have planted an acacia tree.
Communication is a bit difficult, but I have already learnt a lot Setswana and the children are picking up English fast.
I have taken up Setswana as my choice of African Language as one of my subjects through UNISA.
Various members of the community have offered weekly assistance.
I am struggling with control, however, after a day trip to a Waldorf pre-school, I am more relaxed about free play and a less ridged structure.
With regards to the discipline and enforcement of certain rules and boundaries, we are working on a close relationship with the parents. Hands on and involved is the best way to ensure the children’s growth and development all round.
I hope, to firstly, clear the lecture room of everything that is unnecessary and then to move all the things in the learning centre that would be useful into our classroom space. Painting the walls bright would be fun and uplifting. This would be a good opportunity for a community project and for all the artistic youngsters to express themselves.
A radio and clock would be a great addition to the lecture room.
I have been looking into resources for making our own beanbags. As well as resources for lockers.
It would be lovely for the children to have their own space to keep aprons, swimming costumes, hats and various other person belongings.
I am currently looking into getting Rotary involved to try and fix up the jungle gym and possibly build a tree-house in the long run.
I vision Tlholego having a fully functioning Waldorf pre-school in 5 years time. I hope that you share this vision with me and that we can work together overtime to meet this goal.
This is going to be amazing,
Emilia Ruth Nunn
As we come to the end of the second month, things have really come together.
Indemnities have been signed and copies of the children's identity documents have been collected. My paperwork is getting updated with snake training and first aid.
Our lesson times have changed, and we now start at 7am and end at 4pm.
The day starts with a walk before breakfast at 9am. Solid class time after breakfast (9:30am) The children are used to being outside, having the freedom to do what they want. Breaking up the day with regular bathroom breaks and a gardening session makes it easier.
Class time lasts until Lunch at 1pm.
The children have been encouraged to have a half an hour sleep between 1pm and 2pm, after eating. At 2pm the children do a sport.
On Monday and Wednesday, we do swimming, Tuesday and Thursday sports with the volunteers (This has proven to be very successful) and Friday we dance.
We have a snack every day at 3:30pm just before home time.
We had our first two baking sessions, we made bread together as well as popcorn and Jelly.
The Lecture Room has really come together too and feels like a fun, safe space. I am trying to include daily tidying up, sweeping and dusting into our routine. Teaching the children how to respect their space and their things.
We have had three parents’ meetings in total.
The first meeting was held on the 22/01/2019 and we discussed:
- The opening of the pre-school and my role in the community.
- Long term commitments.
- The relationship between the children.
- Children looking for attention.
The second meeting was held on the 06/02/2019 and we discussed;
- Paperwork, indemnities and identity documents.
- Discipline and levels of discipline at home.
- Children keeping hats and costumes at school.
The third meeting was held on the 26/02/2019 and we discussed;
- School times changing.
- The children's sleeping and eating patterns and discussed healthy options.
- Sick leave and school attendance.
- The children's home situations.
- The children's attitudes towards animals.
- The basics of following instructions, complaining and telling on.
- Using English at home to help prepare the child for English medium of study.
- General bathroom drilling.
The parents have been amazing. They have agreed to a weekly meeting and are willing to help out with cleaning the bathrooms and fixing up the jungle gym. They have been very helpful during the day by enforcing classroom time when the children leave the Lecture Room in search of their parents.
My next months project will be to improve the Lecture Room, to make it more comfortable and personal for the children. Hang up their art work.
I would like to get a clock and radio for the Lecture Room as well as look into making both beanbags and lockers for the children. I am looking into building a dress up box over time too.
In terms of stationery and resources we are abundant in terms of reading material, coloring books and pencils, teachers guides, puzzles, building blocks, Lego, general games and stencils.
We need scissors, glue, towels and any funky, fun old or new clothes that people have for our dressing up.
I hope things continue improving and that what needs to change, happens with ease.
Emilia Ruth Nunn
The third month has come to an end and everything is feeling solid.
The most exciting event was taking a trip to the Cradle of Humankind, an extraordinary trip organised for the community by the volunteers. All the children came along, it was educational, interactive, enjoyable and overall bonding.
The second most exciting event has been the school holidays, which brought all the older children home from boarding school. The atmosphere has been energetic and lively. The older children have been helping me with the younger children and everything has been extra busy and even more fun.
The third most exciting thing has been Ria officially joining our class. We are now 6, excluding me. Hopefully, we will be 7 soon.
On a less exciting note, our parent's meetings have been consistent and successful.
The first meeting of the month was held on the 05/03/2019, we discussed:
- Ria joining the group.
- Parent's contact details.
- Home situations.
- Snake training.
The second meeting was held on the 12/03/2019, we discussed:
- Carrying a whistle when we walk for emergencies
- Removing the child from the classroom when disruption occurs.
- Sugar as an addiction.
- Outstanding paperwork and documents.
Our last parent's meeting was held on the 26/03/2019, we discussed:
- Children getting dirty in the sand and with paint and general washing.
- A suggestion box.
- Volunteers joining the meetings.
- Children not coming to class.
We have a parent meeting every Tuesday at 4 pm and we are working on a once a month parent-teacher training session.
We have an updated daily schedule, every morning we drink tea and then we walk before breakfast. After breakfast, the children have class time with short toilet breaks and a gardening session. After lunch, the children participate in some kind of sport. Monday and Wednesday, swimming, Tuesday and Thursday, sports with the volunteers and Friday dancing followed by snack time at 3:30 pm just before home time.
This routine is set.
Our resources have been good, I managed to get a new radio for the classroom which has been fun. We do need a few things though, towels, aprons, scissors, glue, tissues, toilet paper, wet wipes, soap and a clock would be good.
Emilia Ruth Nunn