Blog

Newsletter | 4th Term 2020

Dear Friends

What a year! But, we are pleased that we have made it right to the end and we celebrate the many lessons we have learnt in the process.

Our teachers share some of the special moments we have shared in this last term.


We Learn as we Play! – Cait Gordon

Capacity and volume is always a tricky concept to teach as it isn’t always something that we are aware of, or are we? We know that milk comes in 2L and that Amasi is often bought in 1L but sometimes even as much as 20L.
We took 3 different size cups and filled them with water and gave each child a cup. We carried but the notion that it’s not equal came about. We discussed a cup not being a smart way to measure as they can all be different sizes and have a different capacity. Once we understood that capacity was about how much a container can hold, we took the learning outside. We filled the same cups with sand until they were so fill that no more sand could fit. we then added water and the cup didn’t over flow so now we understood that capacity is how much it can hold and volume is what it is actually holding.

We Learn as we Play!

As a reward for all this hard work we got to play in the mud, building sand castles and sea creatures and very excitedly a hotel with 2 swimming pools that covered the same area but one was deeper having a larger capacity as explained to me by one of the children. We continued to chat as we built this hotel which now had many different rooms that would hold different numbers of people. Again, we reminded ourselves that this is indeed capacity.

We Learn as we Play!

It was an animated and informative activity. The creativity and the understanding of the concept at hand has been cemented in place through the walls of our hotel, the swimming pool and of course the farm yard that had to be big enough to accommodate all the animals and the visitors that were very obviously socially distanced!

We Learn as we Play!

We learn and we play and today we learnt that we can understand so much more if we play and experiment with what we are talking about while enjoying some fresh mountain air!

Farmyard Fun – Melanie van Zyl

Despite the oddities of the year, the preschool had the most amazing time exploring and playing at the farm. The children were buzzing all the way up Oliviershoek pass until we reached the van Vuuren farm.

We were first taken to feed the chickens, turkeys and Guinea fowls. We then went to the geese where we saw a mother goose sitting on a new brood of eggs and a very protective father defending his goslings. We then meandered our way to find the sheep. After spending some time learning about sheep and seeing the ewes feeding their new lambs, we went to have our delicious snacks.

Farmyard Fun

It was finally time for fun and games! We went to the back garden for a treasure hunt where little charms and trinkets were hiding. We then played an exciting guessing game where we had to guess the farm animals based on clues provided.

All the children had a wonderful day out, filled with discovery and fun. What an adventure it was!


The water day – Idah Radebe

We had the joy of having a water day at school. The day was separated into 2 sessions and the children came to school with excitement and swimming costumes. The water trough was set up with buckets and a plethora of water toys. The children were sitting waiting so wonderfully for the fun to start. Teachers explained the games and the rules.

The Water Day

The fun water games started where the younger children were running with buckets, pouring water on each other as well as on the teachers! Some children were sliding down the slide, pouring water to make them slide faster. The teachers extended the game with the children having spoons and trying to pour water on the teachers while the teachers had buckets instead! Some children were sneaking behind the teachers and splashed them as they ran away. Everyone was wet that day but with happy faces as well.

At second break the grade 1, 2 and 3s has started their fun. The children had buckets of water, sneaking them to pour onto the teachers. The teachers were sopping wet. With these classes the children were very clever. They saw that the spoon was too small they use their hats to splash everyone. The teachers called in reinforcements with a hose pipe! The children had a wonderful day and they really enjoyed it. When they were in the taxi the topic of each conversation was water day. The following week they were still talking about how last week they got to splash their teachers with water. The day will not be forgotten soon.


BabyBoost – Sinethemba Ngobese

The first 1000 days in a baby’s life are the most important. These days have a great impact on a baby’s mental and physical well-being. In our greater community these first days are easily overlooked because of poor nourishment and financial hardships.
BabyBoost is a programme designed to teach mothers and carers of babies about these important first days. They are provided with an understanding of how to play with their babies in the most effective way. They learn how to talk, read, play and sing with them.

At the start of the programme, most of the carers did not know the importance of play with their baby but with the help of BabyBoost they came to learn of it all. The babies are more aware of their environment and can do little things like opening a book, listen well to their carer and learn language from them. Carers also learnt that it is important to respond to your baby and interact with them continuously.

It has been a challenging year with the programme. Because of COVID-19, we faced great restrictions. The programme provides home visits to carers and so we had to stop for a while. As the restrictions relaxed we were able to continue these home visits.

It has not been an easy year but with our diligence and care, a difference was still made in the lives of the mothers and their babies. We are looking forward to 2021 where we will continue to work hard to made a difference.


Sungubala Sleepover 2020 – Brittany Houghting

Our school is situated in a beautiful part of the country with the joy of the outdoors at our fingertips. The Grade 1,2 and 3 learners enjoyed the special treat of attending our annual Sungubala Sleepover.

With just a short walk up the hill, we arrived at Sungubala Eco Camp where the learners were split into groups for the different houses. After settling in and unpacking, everyone enjoyed a relaxing break by the jungle gym. After a tasty lunch of sandwiches and fruit everyone changed for swimming. The importance of water safety is a concept our learners are familiar with after swimming lessons in the first term. Shrieks of laughter and splashes of water overflowed out of the pool.

Once everyone changed, we led the learners on a beautiful walk down to Silent Woman which is a carving of a woman in the rocks. We followed the paths and were in awe at the views all around. Once back at camp, we had the amazing treat of movies and popcorn as the weather turned dark and stormy. The learners sat enthralled by the film as the teachers prepared a dinner of spaghetti bolognese.

Sungubala Sleepover 2020

Everyone headed for their beds where they were treated to stories from their teacher in their houses. After an exciting and busy day, the learners all slept tight.

With an early start and a delicious breakfast, it was time to start the day’s activities. We split the learners into groups to play fun and silly games. Some learners had to balance ping pong balls while others carried soccer balls between their knees. There was giggling and smiles all around. We set up a train with the learners and they had to get water from one bucket to another over their heads!

Sungubala Sleepover 2020

We then had a wonderful break with games outside and snacks to fuel their energy. We saw the learners were getting tired and a group nap was taken. Calming music was played and everyone had a chance to relax. We then had a delicious lunch of hot dogs and made our way back down to school.

The trip was amazing and the learners got to make wonderful memories with their friends before the year came to a close. We are so grateful to everyone who donated items towards our sleepover and both learners and teachers are looking forward to the 2021 Camp.


A Final Word

Our best wishes to you and your family as you celebrate a quieter Christmas. And we are hopeful that 2021 will be more positive, prosperous and peaceful.

Take care, be safe and we look forward to catching up on the otherside!

Megan & Loretta

Newsletter | 1st Term 2020

Dear Friends

We have had an excellent start to 2020 and just when we thought it was going to be year of greatness we have landed up with an incredible challenge.

We believe that in times of great challenge we need to rise up. A wave of vulnerability has enveloped us in the mountains but through the uncertainty to we need to take note of what we can do. As this pandemic unfolds we will continue to wash our hands thoroughly, keep our distances and help the most compromised in our communities. And, perhaps we must continue to spread good news of good works that have been happening in our precious school.


World Read Aloud Day – Brittany Houghting

On the 5th of February 2020, the learners and teachers at Royal Drakensberg Primary School joined in with children from around the world to read a story. Each teacher registered their class online through a company called Nal’ibali to join in with the world to have stories read to the most children ever. In 2019, 1 559 730 children were read to and this year, Nal’ibali set out to reach over 2 million children while reinforcing the power of literacy.

It starts with a story...

Teachers set aside time during the day to read a story to the learners and have a discussion relating to it. The learners were engaged with a story about how plans and ideas do not always work out. This sparked discussion amongst the learners about ideas that they have had that did not work and how they could make them work. The story also sparked discussion about things that scare them and some learners created a creature by each adding different parts.

Reading is an essential skill that we value in our learners. Celebrating this day, learners were reminded of the value of books and that reading is an enjoyable and imaginative activity. We believe that reading is the key to unlocking the full potential of our learners as they learn to read and read to learn.


Valentine’s Day – Irene Mkhulisi

On Thursday, the 13th of February 2020, the learners arrived at school wearing red, white and pink clothes to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The main school building was decorated in beautiful art created by the learners during the week.

Valentine's DayOur parents were invited to join the learners on this special day with each grade preparing a performance related to love. All the parents were seated and eagerly awaited the first performance. The Pre-school learners went first and set the bar high for all the grades to come. It ended with a fantastic dance from the Grade 3 learners who put a lot of effort into their show. All the pieces were thoroughly enjoyed by the parents with a round of applause for each grade.

After the performance, parents were treated to tea and biscuits. Each learner decorated two biscuits during the week: one to keep and one to give to someone special. The learners also got a treat of some refreshing juice before the day was done. It was a great and memorable day. Everyone enjoyed it.


Clifton Strengths Course – Riana Cornelius

CliftonStrengths

It’s more acceptable to note one’s weaknesses as opposed to one’s strengths. Generally, we are much better at saying what we are not good at, rather than listing things that we are good at. The Royal Drakensberg Primary School teachers had the opportunity to learn what their strengths are through the Clifton Strengths programme. With the help from Mr. Bryce Dekker, the teachers explored their top five strengths in depth and learned how to use them to thrive in both their work and personal lives.

This programme was invented by Don Clifton who said: “There is no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths.” This assessment helped our teachers at Royal Drakensberg Primary School realise their talents and identify what makes their personalities unique. It also gave us the chance to consider the effect we are having in the Amazizi community and to consider how we could be more effective.

We are all part of a bigger tapestry and together, we form part of the amazing school we have today. By knowing what each of us are good at, we have the necessary tools to do what we love and what we are passionate about more effectively. The course has allowed us to be aware of not only our strengths, but also the strengths of those we work with to ensure that we are doing our best and all giving the best to our school.


Teacher Corner – Melanie van Zyl

Teacher's Corner
  1. A skill I want to acquire:
    I would love to learn to speak and write Zulu better in order to understand and communicate with the little ones who are new in our school.
  2. Something I cannot leave the house without:
    I never leave my house without my cell phone and lip ice.
  3. Favourite school subject:
    I loved Biology and learning about the anatomy of our bodies.
  4. What is my favourite thing about my career?
    I love the honesty and innocence of a child. Seeing their happy faces every day makes life better.
  5. Favourite quote:
    “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is a little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.'”. – Mary Anne Radmacher
  6. What are some challenges I think the next generation will face?
    Family values are disappearing as millennials are focusing on the internet and not what is happening around them.
  7. If I could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
    I would love to have a “magical healing power”. We have lost so many people in my family due to cancer. And with the Caronavirus being spread I just think about how many people could be saved.
  8. My favourite number
    2 – My birthday is on the 2nd of August and two is always better than one.
  9. My favourite colour
    Purple
  10. Who is my hero?
    My mom. She has conquered unbelievably difficult obstacles and will give the shirt off her back to someone struggling. She is someone I aspire to be.

Final Word

Thank you for taking time to read about our work and our most precious children. They inspire us to continue even when the going gets a bit tough and bumpy! May we remain forever hopeful in these uncertain times. Wishing you an Easter that’s budding with promise, bright with celebration and blossoming with joy.

With warmest regards,

Megan & Loretta
Royal Drakensberg Primary

Newsletter | 3rd Term 2019

Dear Friends

Term 3 has been exceptionally busy. As a School Board we have worked hard to assess our longer term strategy and to see how we can increase our impact in the broader community. Royal Drakensberg is a school of excellence and has the capacity to assist in growing teachers and education in our larger community. We are grateful to our Royal Drakensberg teachers that have hosted two workshops for our Khanyisela Pre-School teachers this year. These were held on Saturday mornings at The Cavern and were well attended by more than 40 teachers from the Amazizi community.

Continue reading “Newsletter | 3rd Term 2019”

Newsletter | 2nd Term 2019

Dear Friends

Another term has come to a close and we are all enjoying a crisp Winter in the Drakensberg. Our teachers share a few special stories from Term 2.


The Big5Hike

An incredibly eventful day took place on the 25th of May – The 18km, Big5Hike!

The learners at Royal Drakensberg Primary School began preparation months in advance, assisted by our creative Miss Hesté, to produce beautiful beaded keyrings as gifts to thank those who took part in the event and assisted to raise funds towards their education.

Continue reading “Newsletter | 2nd Term 2019”

Newsletter | 4th Term 2018

Dear Friends

It is frightful to think that another year has ended and that our big children have graduated from RDP and it is now time to move onto their new schools. They leave us with a little bit of sadness but ready and prepared to take on the next challenge. We extend our gratitude to all the teachers that have helped grow them into fine, confident, well-adjusted youngsters. It is also only possible with the generosity of so many… We would love to share some of our leavers’ reflections, as well as some of the highlights of our final term in 2019 with you. Continue reading “Newsletter | 4th Term 2018”

Newsletter | 3rd Term 2018

Dear Friends

At times we may get despondent about life but I have found that spending 10 minutes in the company of children helps dissipate any negativity. A couple of Wednesdays ago, we were entertained by the children and it just struck me how incredibly brave and smart they all are. Next year many will move on to new schools and I just reminded them how important it is to think back to the play night and remember that when things get tough or challenges arrive they must remind themselves about how brave they can be and how smart they are. They learnt hundreds of words and hundreds of moves and were an absolute delight to watch. We share more from this past term…

Continue reading “Newsletter | 3rd Term 2018”

Newsletter | 2nd Term 2018

Dear Friends

May is normally a wonderfully tranquil month in the Drakensberg. The gardens are filled with the sounds of sunbirds and sugarbirds and the aloes are in full bloom. It is truly a magnificent time! It would be great to sip tea on the grass and take in the beauty but there is much-to- do on the fundraising calendar! We hosted our annual Royal Drak MTB & Trail Run in April and then our Big5Hike in May. Both events were incredibly successful and they help in keeping our precious school operational. We thank every sponsor, every helper and every supporter. Read more below: Continue reading “Newsletter | 2nd Term 2018”

Newsletter | 1st Term 2018

Dear Friends of Royal Drakensberg

2018 began with much excitement and are larger influx of children into our pre-primary section. What a blessing and a joy it is to see these little people happy and excited to be at school. Mam-Idah and Mam-Irene have them actively engaged and learning takes place in a nurturing space. We share some news from Term 1 below. Continue reading “Newsletter | 1st Term 2018”