Talhado Montessori Preschool was established in 2017 by Cathryn Hempel as a perpetuation to Talhado Children’s Haven, which was established by Leslie Moore in 1998. Originally, Leslie aimed to address the needs of children in the Sea Vista community, as well as to provide a pre-primary education and a safe place to play. As a registered non-profit organization, Cathryn has evolved this pursuit of education into a Montessori program. The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach, which has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.
Talhado Montessori Preschool now educates 60 students from the ages of 3-6 years old and provides fresh, homecooked meals twice a day for the students. The staff now includes the principal, four teachers, a librarian, a secretary, kitchen staff and ground maintenance, along with various volunteers from the community.
In addition, the school facilities are used in the afternoons as an after-school care center for other children in the community. The children enjoy the Media Centre in the afternoons, where they can do their homework using the school computers with Internet access. Children waiting their turn on a computer occupy their time playing board games, reading or building puzzles. The school boasts 16 computers for the children to play and learn on under supervision. The computers are tremendously popular with children of all ages and have become the most sought after attraction.
Currently, the school has a waiting list for students anxious to join their program and there are expectations of opening a third classroom in 2018. As the only source of a pre-primary education for the Sea Vista community, they offer low annual school fees at R1,500 per student. Talhado strongly relies on private donations to facilitate and flourish this remarkable endeavor.