Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori began life on 15 February 2010 in a 5m rented rondawel and provided 15 children aged 2½ – 5 years old, with Montessori pre-school education in a stimulating and safe learning environment.
As the first dedicated pre-school in the area, the community quickly saw the benefits of investment in early childhood development. Demand did not take long to outstrip capacity and very soon a waiting list started for the pre-school. By the end of 2010, the school had more than 50 children on the waiting list for Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori – so they knew they had to do something!
The National Development Agency invited Ikhaya Labantwana to send in a funding proposal to build a big Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori. The proposal was accepted and the school went into consultation with the community leaders from 12 surrounding villages, to acquire land to build the new big pre-school. They were given land in Jonga Village and began the building of the new Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori Early Learning Centre, that would be able to accommodate 60 young, local children.
With the funding received from the National Development Agency, Coffee Shack Backpackers, their generous guests and various other local and international organizations and individuals Ikhaya Labantwana proudly moved into their new building in April 2013 and are currently providing 44 children with a stimulating early learning environment guided in both isiXhosa and English and two healthy meals per day.
Ikhaya Labantwana are trying to integrate education, health, nutrition and social services, which will lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning, and are desperately waiting for the support of the Department of Social Development to ensure the sustainability of this project. They are also trying to assist the establishing of six satellite Montessori pre-schools in surrounding villages. Eight local ladies are currently busy with a 2-year Montessori Early Childhood Development Higher Certificate NQF Level 5 training course, which has been totally sponsored by Montessori Centre South Africa and Stichting Obonto – amazing support, thank you!!
In today’s crowded world of power struggles and ego trips, the Montessori method serves as a guide to raising unselfish, self-regulated, caring human beings, who are problem solvers and have the self-confidence to lead successful lives by their own efforts, rather than at the expense of their fellow citizens. The world needs as many people with these qualities as possible, to shift the balance away from the good-of-the-few mentality that plagues many cultures today.
Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori’s vision: To help our children lay a solid holistic foundation that will assist them with all later learning and life skills.
Our mission: Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori is committed to providing holistic education that will guide our children on all planes of development: social, physical, intellectual and emotional. Our learning environment encourages the development of respect, responsibility and independence.
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Montessori Centre South Africa is delighted to be involved in this amazing project. With the ongoing support of Montessori Centre International (UK) and the Auburn House Trust, we have been able to sustain the training of eight students at Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori in Coffee Bay.
Our trainers have visited the centre throughout two years in order to deliver the course materials and content and we have been enthralled with the enthusiasm and dedication that these ladies have shown to their studies and to the children.
We are very fortunate to have had the backing of the South African Montessori community as well, with many schools donating materials and sponsoring the children.
Special acknowledgement must also go to the Auburn House Trust and Montessori Centre International (UK) for their partnership in this project.
The Auburn House Trust is engaged in “Aid to Independence”, a programme of supportive guidance and development for women who work with young children, such as daycare and class assistants and child minders. In May, August and September, the programme director, Jennifer Moore, and her colleague Xoliswa Bala, spent some weeks with the group of MCSA trainees in Coffee Bay to provide support for them in their studies.
Montessori Centre International (UK) have been enthusiastic supporters of the Ikhaya Labantwana Training project since we started the programme in January 2013. Students at MCI in London have on numerous occasions contributed to the project by raising funds through projects at the college, and MCI have very generously contributed books and magazines for sale with the proceeds going to the training project.
“Most children don’t go to school at a young age, and Montessori gives them this in our area. The children who have done Montessori here have a good foundation when they go to the junior schools. I want to give the small children help and I want to improve the standard of living for small children. Teaching has always interested me and now I have the opportunity to become one.“