Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Monday dawned rather overcast and chilly but that soon changed as the morning progressed.  My first job was to run a few errands in Hillcrest to pickup some stationery items for First Step Right and get some posters printed to advertise admissions for next year.  The team are very excited about the plans for 2020 when they will offer a creche and preschool, with "wrap around" care for the morning and afternoons.  Many people find it hard to place young children in a safe and stimulating environment to fit in with their shift working patterns and the plan for 2020 is to focus on the age six and under for early learning (ECD - Early Childhood Development) and then offer an after school homework club for primary aged children.  There is no doubt this will be challenging for the team but they are determined to make a success of the new model.

On arrival at the school I found the creche children lined up for some running races.  Nicole had them balancing with pigeon steps, hopping, hop-scotch and balancing bean bags on badminton rackets!

Once that lesson was over, Nicole and I went to visit Number 9, the creche in Msunduzi.  This is a lovely creche, beautifully run by Promise and originally set up by fabulous people from Northern Ireland, who continue to take an active interest in their well being through their strong association with GAGA. We enjoyed playing with the parachute with the children, who were learning their primary colours by calling out which segment the ball was on, before shaking the parachute to get the ball through the hole in the middle!  Truly learning through play in action.  Thanks to our lovely supporter in Northern Ireland we had two new balls and a bat and ball game, so we set up the over and under game for the children to play.  Trying to get them to stand in two lines and pass the ball alternately over their heads and between their legs was a mission! Quite a funny sight to see!
The children then went in for singing before their lunch and we showed them a beautiful quilt another one of our lovely supporters had made.  The children were delighted to see the pictures of the farm yard animals and there was soon a cacophony of animal noises as they explored the beautiful quilt and recognised the animals depicted there! 

Going back to First Step Right the afternoon session was in full swing. Year one were doing reading comprehension with two familiar stories, the Three Little Pigs and How the Zebra Got his Stripes.  Meanwhile, it was Grade R's turn to be out in the playground doing some games and Grade 4 and Grade 5 were busy with a craft activity, making cards with a flower pattern crafted out of scraps of wool.  There was much hilarity when, in answer to my question of "who are you making the card for?" one lad said his girlfriend.... the whole class burst into laughter! 

After the children left for the day, the team and I sat down to discuss plans for the upcoming Graduation, as the Grade R classes graduate from preschool to Primary education and for other plans for 2020.