Meet Bongani Pre-School!

In April 2022 our proposal to expand the reach of our Educare Programme to beyond the boundaries of KwaZulu-Natal was approved by our Board of Directors. This decision was met with great excitement and enthusiasm as it marked the first step towards achieving our 2030 goal of having our Educare Programme oversee an ECD centre and transformation project in the Western Cape.

 

WHY THE WESTERN CAPE?

Our Founders, Danie and Judy van den Heever, took the decision in 2019 to relocate to the Western Cape and settle in the picturesque seaside town of Knysna. Carrying the spirit of Focus on iThemba in their hearts, Danie and Judy soon identified opportunities to provide hope and meaningful change to the local community, once again through the vehicle of quality education. As believers of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and its fundamental role in shaping and strengthening the minds of children, their focus was steered towards an ECD Centre in the Bongani Community called Bongani Pre-School.

 

ABOUT THE SCHOOL

This endearing little Pre-School has been fostering an environment of learning for a number of years and has taken up much room in the hearts of Bongani residents over this time. The School, which has capacity for 120 children, is lead by a team of amazing women who share a passion for education and possess a unique set of skills that promote the holistic development of the growing minds in their care. Boasting a richness in cultural diversity and abounding in character and personality, any visit to them is a memorable and heart-warming experience. Although children come from different language backgrounds, the School believes in exposing learners to the benefit of speaking multiple languages and as such, has adopted an English based curriculum to promote the learning of this universal language.

Taking on the role as oversight, Focus on iThemba helps steer the systems and operations of Bongani Pre-School by offering direction, guidance and leadership. This new model of operation allows us the opportunity to appoint a director, principal and school administrator as key role-players in the running of a sustainable community Pre-School. Further to this, the property on which the school is based is in the name of Focus on iThemba, allowing us to fully support the operations of the school.

In affiliation with the Knysna Education Trust (KET), a Knysna based Non-Profit Organisation who shares our belief in investing in early learning initiatives, we ensure that quality teaching is taking place through the regular monitoring and mentoring of a KET field monitor.

FACTS ABOUT THE SCHOOL:

  • Our first Western Cape ECD Centre to undergo a transformation.
  • The first ECD Centre in the Bongani community to adopt an English based curriculum.
  • Registered with the Department of Social Development.
  • Has 54 children in their care. The aim is to increase this number to 70 in 2023.
  • Has a complement of 6 staff which includes 3 teachers, an aftercare teacher, an administrator and acting principal.
  • Partner with E-Pap to ensure the nutritional needs of the children are met.
  • The School partners with GROW ECD to elevate the level of ECD taking place in the School.
  • Teachers have a NQF Level 5 qualification.
  • The Knysna Education Trust provides adequate monitoring of ECD standards.
  • Provides an aftercare service for working parents.

“The first one thousand days in a child’s life could hold the key to unlocking his/her life-long potential. By the age of 5, almost 90% of a child’s brain will be developed. These are the formative years where factors such as adequate healthcare, good nutrition, good quality childcare and nurturing, a clean and safe environment, early learning and stimulation will, to a large extent, influence his/her future as an adult.”

STATS SA (Feb 2018)

WHAT THE TRANSFORMATION PLAN ENTAILS

With the aim to bolster the quality of education in this School, the transformation plan has involved the renovation and reinforcement of their current facilities as well as the addition of new facilities such as an administration block, a sensory garden and vegetable garden.

Since the commencement of the transformation in August last year, Bongani has undergone the following structural improvements:

  • A new administration block was created with the installation of a converted container – currently being used as an office
  • The entrance wall has been rebuilt
  • The exterior walls have been rebuilt
  • The schools entrance has been improved: included new paving and fixing of the gate
  • Pathways have been fixed
  • The roof has been repaired and cleaned
  • The gutters have been repaired and cleaned
  • Damaged ceiling boards have been repaired
  • Dampness on the walls have been attended to
  • The ceiling has been painted
  • The playground area received an upgrade: sanded down the jungle gym and repainted the slide
  • Interior walls have been repainted
  • A retaining wall was erected
  • Indigenous plants were planted around the school
  • A JOJO water tank was installed
  • Proper signage was installed
  • Fitted out the classrooms with various items of furniture
  • Established a partnership with GROW with Educare Centres. This partnership includes the training of teachers and the installation of GROW equipment and material.

BONGANI MASTER PLAN

The Bongani Master Plan (pictured above) has made provision for the following additions to the School:

  • A structured sensory garden
  • A new terraced educational vegetable garden, positioned with close access to the kitchen
  • A wet area for the kitchen and vegetable garden
  • The provision of 2 playground areas, an assembly area and a bike track
  • The addition of retaining walls
  • Installation of a new kitchen and renovation of a 4th classroom

For more information about Bongani Pre-School or to request a funding proposal, please contact Tayla-Anne Goss.