My dream for the past 4 years has come true – Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori Early Learning Centre opened in Coffee Bay on Monday 15 February 2010 and our first week has been absolutely amazing! We have 12 children (8 boys and 4 girls) aged 2½ – 5 years old registered with us, and our attendance this first week started with 5 children on Monday and ended with 10 today.  Nontsha, my assistant who acquired me and the children 2 weeks ago, has been a tremendous help with translating where necessary, Xhosa story reading and general classroom assistance – Enkosi Nontsha!

Although our classroom is pretty basic at the moment with pine planks on tata blocks as shelving, 1 plank on tata blocks as a table work station, 8 floor mats, 12 pillows and a beanbag, – the children are really enjoying their environment and settling in wonderfully.  For the Montessorians reading this, the green bean bag is definitely a hit when ‘false fatigue’ sets in.

Sustainable Coffee Bay - Montessori School
Our inside environment
Sustainable Coffee Bay - Montessori School
The maths section
Sustainable Coffee Bay - Montessori School
The culture section

The children in our class are: Carl (5), Sonwabise (4.9), Nophesnuka (4.6), Kyan (4.1), Tobelani (3.9), Esona (3.8), Singa (3.7),Timo (3.7), Pheheza (3.4), Siya (2.11), Kaya (2.11) and Lihle (+- 3).  Kate will take some photos of them on Monday.

Sustainable Coffee Bay - Montessori School
Tobelini, Nophasnuka and Siya

At this stage, I am giving the children breakfast at school, as not all of them are in a position to have breakfast at home.  I received a 500g sample of banana flavoured E-pap (enriched porridge) and we tried this with the children on the first 2 days – it was a hit!  I made arrangements and ordered a 10kg bag, which is still to be delivered.  Between Wednesday and today, I shared my loaves of bread with the children and we have had  peanut butter sarmies and half a pear each, marmite sandwiches and a slice of paw paw and today peanut butter sarmies and half an apple each.   I am working on getting cooked lunch started next week.

Classics of the week:

Lihle (3) joined us on Tuesday for the 1st time.  He loves working with the African animals and Dinosaurs and he is always humming to himself.  He does not interact with the other children yet.  Today when we were down on the beach playing in nature’s biggest sandpit with our buckets, spades and moulds, Lihle turns to me and says, “Mlungu, jonga!” (White person, look!) and points to the shell shapes he has happily produced.

Siya (2yr 11m) also joined us on Tuesday for the 1st time and she was well ‘scared’ of me the 1st 2 mornings.  She cries every morning when she is dropped off.  Throughout the course of today, she stopped me, by putting her hand on my shoulder and saying, “Ngubani ngama lakho?” (What is your name?) and I would answer by saying, “Dawn” . She would smile and say “Dawn” and then high-five me!

All I can say is, I am sitting here with a massive smile on my face and feeling absolutely happy!  To make me even happier, I just received an email from Carrie & Leigh Coppernoll in the USA and I am very happy to announce that they have partnered with Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori, so check out their good work at


Our first week

One thought on “Our first week

  • 20th Feb 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Congratulations Dawn! You have worked so hard to get this far. All of the best to you and the school!
    Heidi van Staden
    SAMA President


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