It is with great pleasure that I write the first quarterly report on behalf of Talhado Montessori Preschool. We opened our doors as a Montessori preschool to sixty learners aged between 3 and 6 years on 11 January 2017, with a waiting list for a further 20 or more children. We were hoping for an intake of 30 learners in our first year so we were thrilled with the interest shown by the local community. Each child, upon enrollment, was issued with a school T-shirt boasting the Montessori logo “Teach me to do it myself”.
We have two large classrooms, with 30 learners, and 2 teachers in each. The blue class is taught by Laurika Coetzer, a Montessori teacher for 3 years, and assisted by Sylvia Ndlumbini. The orange class is taught by Virginia Brown, a Montessori teacher for 4 years, and she is assisted by Gystene Smith. During the first term Gystene Smith and Sylvia Ndlumbini completed their studies and obtained their Montessori Diplomas from NAMC (North American Montessori Centre). I am so impressed with the dedication of these teachers. They have been doing a wonderful job in passing on knowledge to the children in a nurturing and ordered environment.
Setting up the classrooms was fun, if a little stressful, as we had deadlines to meet with the new term beginning. Our classrooms were renovated by Neil and Angie Groblar, who also made us some lovely child-sized wooden furniture. Sue Hollinshead generously donated some Montessori materials and books for the classrooms. A Montessori classroom is an environment which is neat and ordered and contains child-size purposeful activities that assist with various motor and cognitive skills. The materials are clean and always in working order. The children thrive in this ordered environment and are encouraged to progress at their own pace.
Our first term flowed smoothly and the children settled in no time, enjoying their daily routine and being taught how to use the Montessori materials available to them in the classrooms. They also attend weekly music lessons from music teacher Natasha Brown, and library visits with our resident librarian Leigh-Anne Mpofu. Leigh Ann is also helping the eldest grade learners with their reading.
The Ukupha ladies of St Francis Bay have fostered a wonderful birthday project whereby each child receives a present at the end of their birthday month. All the children of Talhado are treated to cupcakes, singing and celebrations, while the birthday children get spoilt with fantastic thoughtful gifts tailored for each!
A new shaded area and secure playground fencing was generously provided by Carey Olsen and constructed by Bruce Brooker. Both children and teachers alike are grateful for the shade on a hot summers day.
Janet Duval kindly sewed some curtains for our classrooms and office. A golf day at the Links was sponsored by Sharp, who chose Talhado to be the beneficiary for the funds raised on the day. We were excited to receive their check as well as microwave for the kitchen.
The children made new friends in Wendy and Craig from the UK, who donated stationery and play items. They also spent a fun day with the learners. The Talhado children put together a shoebox containing various items that they made for Wendy and Craig to deliver to Southrop Primary School in the Cotswolds. We are hoping to Skype with the children of Southrop Primary in the second term and learn more about what it’s like to live in the UK.
Bridgett, our resident cook, enjoying timeout with some of the children on Valentine’s Day. Our kitchen offers two substantial meals a day to the children attending the school.
Towards the end of our first term we held a parents’ evening where parents were invited to attend talks given by their child’s teacher. Parents were encouraged to ask questions, look through their child’s work, and at the end of the evening they enjoyed getting to know each other over juice and biscuits. I was hugely impressed by the number of parents who turned up. It seemed that almost every parent was present at the evening.
Talhado welcomes visitors and is open to anyone who would like to see the classrooms in action. Please pop into the office anytime during school hours and Chamel, our secretary, will happily show you around.
We extend our gratitude to all those individuals who have sponsored a child, those who pledge monthly donations to Talhado, and to those who have made contributions of various items, or of their precious time, to the school. We could not function if it weren’t for your generosity of spirit.
Talhado Montessori Preschool
“The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind”