Newsletter | 1st Term 2017

Dear Friends,

This year we welcomed 3 new teachers to Royal Drakensberg, Candice Clark teaching Grade 3, Emily Cotterill guiding our Grade 2 class and Claire du Toit working hard with our Grade 1 group as they begin their more formal education journey. They have all been warmly received and the children are enthusiastic and excited about learning. Following a recent visit to the school, a Cavern guest mentioned the happiness of the children in this small space. If children are happy to be at school, so much more can be achieved!

Valentine’s Day Celebration – Candice Clark

On the 10th of February, Royal Drakensberg Primary School celebrated a very special Valentine’s Day.
Excitement filled the air as the learners arrived at school in their colours of love: red, pink and white. As the children walked around, they noticed their beautiful Valentine’s art displayed around a lovely tea area set up for the parents, who would be joining us later.

At 10h30 the learner’s parents joined us in our celebrations and watched as each grade presented a short performance about what Valentine’s Day meant to them.

After the performance, the learners were sent back to their classes to enjoy a biscuit they had iced and decorated the day before. Each learner decorated two biscuits. One biscuit was decorated with love, to be given to someone at home and the other was lovingly given to a friend in their class. Every child enjoyed eating their delicious biscuit, made and given in love.

After eating their biscuit, each class was then given time to play outside and bond with their parents and guardians. Tea and coffee was served to the parents and juice was set up for the learners. Heart-shaped biscuits, iced and decorated by the learners themselves were served to the parents.

Much love filled the air at our Valentine’s Day celebration. We are so thankful to all the learners and parents who helped in sharing the love on this special day.

Structure of Plants and Animals – Emily Cotterill

This term the grade 4 and 5 class learnt about the structure of plants and animals in Science class.

The class looked at the structure of different plants and how the different parts of the plants play important roles in order for the plant to survive.

The first activity was to pair up and get the learners to blind-fold their partner and take them to a tree where they felt how the tree feels (Is the bark rough or smooth? How big are the leaves of the tree? What is the texture of the leaves?). Once this was done the learners took a step back and tried to guess which tree they were taken to.

The second activity was to go out for a walk and look for small plants to take back to the classroom to dry out and study the different parts of the plants up close. The learners all chose a plant and put the plant in between two sheets of paper to be pressed which then later got stuck into their science booklet. The learners then labelled the different parts of their plants. They really enjoyed learning about plants as most of the lessons were conducted outside.

They then learnt that animals come in different shapes and sizes. We looked at different animals and spoke about the body parts that animals have. We learnt that some animals are very different to one another. However, we also realised that many animals, although they are different, share some of the same body parts as one another. For example, all the animals that we looked at had eyes, ears, nose and mouths.

The grade 4’s and 5’s were very enthusiastic and we are looking forward to the second terms learning areas so that we can learn more about the amazing world around us.

Outdoor Challenge – Idah Khumalo

On Friday, 10 March, the children had loads of fun! The grade 4 and 5’s went for a horse ride or zip line at All Out Adventures. The rest of the children were split into up into groups of ten or eleven. The children were extremely excited about all the fun activities they were about to do. The activities included: Bird Watching, Camping Fun, River Rafting, Forest Walk, Green Fingers and Happy Horse. Most groups had a small craft to do. The children in the Bird Watching group made bird feeders to put seeds in and they hung them in the tree to attract the birds. The Camping Fun group had a marshmallow braai. The Green Fingers group planted beans in pots with the hope that their beans will grow up to the castle like the beans in Jack and the Beanstalk. The Happy Horse group made a horse craft using toilet rolls. The River Rafting group made their own boats out of sticks and string. The Forest Walk group went for a walk in the forest where they were able to admire nature and look at a variety of different trees.

Each and every group had a packet of popcorn which they shared and the children all had a wonderful time.

Environmental Science in the Grade 4 & 5 Class – By Kevin Mackenzie

This term the Elephant class has been focussing on erosion and how to prevent it, with side issues of different vegetation that grows in the different seasons. This included the way in which vegetation can alleviate as well as limit erosion. We were both lucky and unlucky in getting three or four major rain storms in which we had a clear view of erosion taking place which enabled us to see how our methods to fix erosion were working. The class has done well with identifying how the issue of erosion has occurred and ways to counteract these issues. The terms lessons culminated in taking a hike in the Cavern valley so we could see erosion on a wider scale. Guided by Sipho, one of the Caverns guides, the grade 4 and 5 class set off on a chilly Thursday morning into the mist to identify erosion and natures natural process of it. The class was astounded by the amount of flora found and how it has adapted to survive in the various areas around us. While walking through the magnificent valley that RDP is situated in, we were awed by the knowledge of our guide. The class were set an exercise in which they had to identify major points where erosion would be likely to happen as well as how to avoid the issue.

Swimming – Melanie Roux

On a hot summer’s day, swimming is a highlight for many children after a day of hard work and play at school. The teachers had an informative workshop at the Cavern pool, learning how to teach water safety from scratch.

Some of the grade one’s were hesitant about getting into the swimming pool but with the help and encouragement from the teachers they have bravely faced their fears. They are first taught how to get in and out of the pool without assistance and then practice blowing bubbles in the water. Most of them are already able to put their heads under water when playing ‘Teddy bear, Teddy bear’. Their confidence grows more and more with each lesson. Some of the older children are already able to swim unaided. By the end of the year they will have loads of fun at our school gala and will know how to be water safe.

Easter Egg Hunt – Claire du Toit

Excitement filled the air as the children set off on the Easter Egg Hunt on Friday, the 24th of March. The children and teachers took a scenic walk up to The Boma where the Easter Bunny had hidden some delicious Easter Eggs. The children had to find their own bags, which they had decorated in class that week. They had coloured in a picture of the Easter Bunny which was cut out and stuck onto the brown paper bags. Once the children had reached The Boma they searched enthusiastically and eagerly for their own Easter bag hidden in the trees and bushes in the area. Once all the children had found their Easter bags they then sat down to enjoy their wonderful Easter treats left by the Easter Bunny. The children and teachers walked back down to school, after which they left for the Easter holidays.

What a fun way to end off the first term at Royal Drakensberg Primary School!

We wish all our RDP families and supporters a Happy Easter. We hope you all enjoy this special time with your loved ones.

A Final Word

We thank our sponsors and supporters, our teachers and our parents for their ongoing encouragement in ensuring we do create a brighter future for the little ones. This school is made possible by an awesome community that cares.

This holiday we will be hosting our Royal Drakensberg MTB Challenge. We are appreciative of the continued support by the N3TC in helping us make this a day of fantastic cycling in the great outdoors. While we have made a big change in 2017, we hope that the riders will come and enjoy not only their time in the hills but realise the enormous contribution they have made to the children. Giving to others creates happiness. If you’re feeling a little negative or unsure about the future, perhaps you need to join us on your bike come 8th April! Or come and walk the 10km route. We will welcome all participants with an egg & bacon roll and lovely hot coffee, we’ll have water tables en route and a chance to swim in the rivers and dams, and you’ll be welcomed home with to a lunch fest.

Take care this holiday and our best wishes for a blessed Easter,
Megan & Loretta

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