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, Bongani abounds in character and personality, making any visit to them a memorable, 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 21 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.
  • From 21 November 2023, GROW with Educare Centres will elevate the level of ECD taking place in the School with the implementation of a learning curriculum and supply of age-appropriate educational materials and equipment.
  • 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 involves renovating and reinforcing their current facilities as well as the addition of new facilities such as an administration block, a sensory garden and vegetable garden.

The following improvements to the existing facilities will be made:

  • The drawing up of a Master Plan
  • Rebuilding of the entrance wall
  • Repainting the exterior walls
  • Improvements to the schools entrance: includes new paving and fixing of the gate
  • Fixing of the pathway
  • Repairing and cleaning of the roof
  • Repairing and reinforcing gutters
  • Replacing damaged ceiling boards
  • Fixing the damp areas on walls
  • Painting of the ceiling
  • Upgrading the playground area: sanding down of the jungle gym and repainting the slide
  • Repainting the interior walls
  • Erection of a retaining wall
  • Planting of indigenous plants around the school
  • Installing a JOJO water tank
  • Installing road and building signage
  • Fitting out the classrooms with various items of furniture
  • Establishing a partnership with GROW with Educare Centres. This partnership includes the training of teachers and the installation of GROW equipment and material.

The Bongani Master Plan has made provision for the following additions to the School:

  • A new administration block; the addition of one or two containers
  • 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.

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