The School and Community:
The Karkloof Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) is situated in the foothills of the Karkloof in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and serves an underprivileged rural community. The centre is based at Hawkstone School which has a current enrolment of 75 children.
The school has a teaching complement of three teachers, including the principal. All are employed by The Department of Education. The ECD Centre has an enrolment of 13 children and a staff complement of one student teacher. This teacher is funded by the Karkloof Country Club.
Mary Gray was the former principal of Settlers’ Park Pre-Primary School for seven years until she retired at the end of Many 2014. She has lived in Karkloof for 10 years after retirement and began establishing an Early Childhood Development centre in the area. The owner of Hawkstone Farm, Mr. Bruce Mackenzie, in consultation with the school principal, Mr Bheki Lepheana, agreed to the establishment of the ECD Centre at an existing school in the Karkloof.
The centre opened in January 2018. It caters for up to 15 children, three to five years old, who reside in the area that serves Hawkstone School.
The curriculum had to be designed to provide the necessary learning experiences to enhance the development of rural children. When the children started school in January 2018, their concentration was limited and they had never been exposed to practical learning situations. Two years later they are able to question, be creative and think for themselves. In fact, we have seemly developed into a “thinking centre”.
Mary Gray was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study Mentorship at Stirling University in Scotland and has subsequently had the opportunity to implement programmes, learnt in Scotland, in rural schools.
Former Hawkstone School student, Londiwe Dladla is currently training at the ECD Centre while being mentored by Mary Gray. Londiwe also attends tutorials after hours in order to learn the necessary skills and knowledge, develop lesson plans and implement an assessment and reporting structure.
She is currently studying for a Higher Certificate and National Diploma in Early Childhood Education Development at the Caversham Education Institute.
Londiwe’s attitude and commitment is impressive: the children have progressed beyond all expectations.
The Karkloof ECD Centre is committed to:
- providing an infrastructure where effective teaching and learning can take place.
- maintaining a safe, healthy and sustainable learning environment.
- developing the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being of every child.
- capturing and retaining the children’s enthusiasm for learning and promoting positive self-esteem.
- equipping the children to become valued members of their community.
- enlisting the support of parents and helping them to assist their children to reach their potential.
- inspiring, encouraging and empowering teachers to be creative and take initiative.
Karkloof Country Club’s EDC Centre Commitment:
The Karkloof Country Club is 100% committed to making this project a success. The continued funding of the teacher’s salary, the cost of formal training, and daily stationary and other expenses are a commitment that the Club not only stands by, but seeks to extend. The Club is also now providing a meal every day for the ECD learners.
Should anybody wish to contribute or be involved in this process, please discuss this with the Club Chairman.