In the last months we have been working hard in 7de Laan, especially in the Hope Community Centre. On the 1st of February 2016 the Hope Early Childhood Development Centre (also known as Hope School) opened its doors for 9 children, aged 3 t0 5, from the community. Last year our Advisory Board of different preschool teachers, special needs experts and therapists stuck their heads together to plan and begin the registration process with the local government. In December and January we interviewed and employed our wonderful teachers Carmen, Lucinda and Jade, each of them with an amazing testimony of how God brought them to us.
Soon after, we began with the training sessions for the curriculum and the content planning for the whole year. At the same time, the shopping began – everything from chairs to books and toys had to be purchased. Because the Hope Centre is being used for computer classes and other activities in the afternoons, we had to come up with a mobile class room layout, so that the different play and theme corners could be taken down again at the end of the school day. Not an easy project but the teachers and hands-on Advisory Team gave it their all and the kids were completely flashed when they first entered their new school room. In the first few days the kids nervously tried to play with every single toy, because they believed it would soon be taken away again!
Every day begins at 8am with breakfast and then at 8:30am the normal school fun begins. Between all the crafts, reading time, games and singing the kids are served a healthy snack until the day finishes with lunch and the parents or grannies picking up their children at 1pm. We deliberately chose to run a half day preschool only as we firmly believe that ultimately each child belongs into her loving family, who should take full responsibility for this precious treasure of theirs.
Our first parent meeting has also happened after the first week. It is important to us that the parents are involved in this important stage of their child’s development and understand from the beginning what kind of standards, expectations but also unbelievable opportunities are presented to their children. We want to build relationship and trust with the whole family, because that is the only way to sustainably transform the whole environment of these precious little bundles of joy. To do that, a part of our team visits the families of our Hope School kids every week and spends lots of valuable time listening, asking questions, advising and encouraging them.
After just a few weeks we are hearing positive feedback from the community. The parents are happy to see the excitement of their children and all the new songs, paintings and stories that they take home from Hope School.
It is truly a miracle for us that such a big vision has become reality in such a small amount of time. This is only possible through the countless people and organisations, who selflessly come alongside us and invest their resources. The parents are only asked to contribute a small fraction to their children’s school fees (R150 per month, about 8€), which is already a big step for many of them. If you want to be part of this valuable group of people, who financially support the running costs of the Hope School, you are welcome to do so here. In the name of all the kids we say “Baie Dankie”!