News from Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori – A Sustainable Coffee Bay project

Highlights this term

We had a busy and exciting second term with lots of happenings!

One of our teachers, Nomonde, attended her first South African Montessori Association conference for two days in Port Elizabeth over the long Easter weekend; part of which included an additional day completing a management course.

After the conference, Nomonde went on a game drive at Addo Elephant Park and saw many beautiful animals. She also had the privilege to observe at Sunflower Montessori School in Port Elizabeth for two days, where she was exposed to another Montessori environment in a city.


Our other two teachers from the community, Fundiswa and Nokuthula attended a Level 1 First Aid training course for two days and received a certificate for successfully completing the course.




We had two visitors from Amsterdam and Cape Town who arrived out of the blue at our school with some glorious wooden toys. We also welcomed visitors from the tour group HotSpots2C for the first time; they came with a donation of stationery for the children. Thank you lovely people, we are very grateful for both these donations!

Another highlight of the term is our new gates which were installed at the entrance of the veranda to keep the animals out during lunch – one of many challenges in a rural area! We would like to thank all the staff at Coffee Shack who made and fitted them for us – happy days!

Jennifer Moore from First Children is also visiting us again to continue with our professional development studies. We appreciate her visits and always look forward to seeing her.

Desperately seeking Sponsors!

We continue to rely on our generous sponsors and supporters to keep Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori going to the benefit of 60 disdvantaged children each year.

Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori

Less than 10% of children in our area have access to early childhood programmes. Please help us to help them with a solid learning foundation by sponsoring a child today! We have 21 children in need of sponsors. For just R500 per month, your sponsorship includes:

* Two nutritious meals a day, combatting stunting and development issues;

* All learning materials in our lovely Montessori environment;

* Quality education provided by local qualified teachers;

* Termly health checks by medical professionals reducing absenteeism and improving overall health;

* Termly newsletter with all the latest news and developments;

* That great feel-good factor for sponsoring a child in need!

Contact us for more details on how you can get involved.

Our Theme – the Solar System

We continued this term with our theme on the solar system and discussed each planet individually. The children learnt about a volcano and we showed them how it erupts using a model of a volcano made from playdough and a bottle on the inside.

We put bicarbonate of soda and red paint into the bottle and poured in vinegar. The fizzy reaction made the paint and bicarbonate of soda “boil over” which looks like a volcano erupting. They learnt that the plant Venus has many volcanoes erupting.

They also coloured in a picture of a volcano as well as having the opportunity to work with nomenclature (3 part) cards and learning the different parts by matching the pictures and names. The children learnt the planet song: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune way out far. By singing the song, it helps the children learn the sequence of the planets from the sun.

We are currently learning about our own planet, Earth. We have introduced the land and water globe where we teach the children that the smooth (blue) part is water or the oceans and the rough part is land. The terms rough and smooth were also discussed. The second (coloured) globe was introduced where we learnt the different names of continents by singing the continents song.

They also learnt about the planisphere (planet or globe cut in half). We showed them that if we cut the globe in half it would be like the planisphere. We used playdough rolled in a ball and cutting it in half and flattening it, is what a planisphere looks like.

Meet the Team – Music

What are your duties at ILM?

I am the gardener and handy man at ILM. I plant seedlings or seeds to grow vegetables to use at lunch time for the children and staff.

I also keep the fences and gates repaired because sometimes the animals force the gate open and bend the latch.

How long have you been working at ILM?

I have been working here for 4 years. I started in 2014

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy gardening and fixing things around the school because growing vegetables saves money for the school. It is also good to do repairs because the cows often push through the fence to eat grass. The saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” is definitely true at Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori!

Do you have a hobby?

I don’t really have a hobby but I enjoy helping people repairing things around their houses. I also enjoy visiting friends and family in the village.

How long have you stayed in Coffee Bay?

I was born here.

Montessori Moments – Sandpaper and Continent Globes

“This is our world. Our world is made of land and water.”

These are statements you might hear a guide makes as he or she presents the Sandpaper Globe to a child for the first time. Exploring the earth as a globe may be a difficult concept for a child to grasp at first, but this globe lays the foundation for exploration later on.

You will see the land areas in tan sandpaper, and the water as a smooth, painted blue surface. It’s very easy to distinguish, both tactilely and visually, the land and water portions of the globe. The guide will feel the land saying, “This is land.” The child may take a turn feeling the land. The child and guide may continue feeling different ‘land’ portions of the globe. They will do the same thing with water.

A three period lesson can be used to help the child easily identify and name land and water. In this way, the child will also become comfortable with the bird’s eye view of land and water distribution over the planet.

After working with the Sandpaper Globe, the child will move on to the Continents Globe. It is the exact same size as the Sandpaper Globe, but each continent is painted a different color and there is no use of sandpaper. The oceans are the same painted blue.

In this presentation, instead of land and water, the child will focus on the identifying continents. A three period lesson ensues to give the child a strong foundation, and the confidence to know the difference between continents and oceans.

The Montessori classroom is full of layered connections, and places of discovery!

Culture Corner – Our cook, Hlehle, tells us about the customs she undertook before her traditional marriage

Our cook, Hlehle celebrated her traditional marriage over four weeks at her mother’s house.  Firstly, she had to make herself a mattress from grass, which she slept on for the duration.  Hlehle had to stay inside behind the blanket cover during the day to sleep, at night she could come out, and children came to sing the whole night.  She wore no clothes, only a blanket wrapped around her body.  After two weeks, a goat and pig were slaughtered in preparation of the big day.


During the fourth week, the marriage took place and a cow was slaughtered.  The day before her family came to sing and dance to rejoice in the upcoming marriage.  On the day of the marriage, the meat was eaten and everyone enjoyed mqomboti (Xhosa beer).  Her husband was not present throughout the whole time, only her family.  She wore traditional clothes for the marriage and afterwards for a week.  After the marriage, Hlehle and other women went to collect wood from the village for making fires.

Hlehle’s hair was all shaven off after the celebration to indicate that the ceremony is over and she now is a married woman.

Until next time..

Thank you always to our wonderful sponsors, donors and supporters for your vital support, we couldn’t do it without you! Please share far and wide, we really need more sponsors on board to keep Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori running, providing quality early childhood education in our community. Thank you from all the team here at Sustainable Coffee Bay and Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori!










House of the Children Winter Newsletter 2018

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