A new year, a new season, a new start! We were slightly delayed but the children arrived on the 1st February and we have had a productive first term. Our teachers share some news:
Getting to school is no small feat – Idah Radebe
There are children that stay far away from Royal Drakensberg Primary School, so they have to catch two taxis just to get to school. The children from Olivershoek area, Zwelisha area, and Okhombe area have to wake up between 3:30am and 4:00am to get ready for school to catch their first taxi of the morning. This takes them on a 35 km trip to the place they will meet the school taxi. Many learners wait alone as their parents have to get to work. Most of these children get to school hungry as their little tummies cannot eat so early in the morning. Luckily the school supplies porridge to all the RDPS children to help the little hungry tummies to be full of all the nutrients we need to learn and keep our bodies and brains growing strong.
The Amazizi children have to wake up between 5:00am and 6:00am to get ready for school. The learners must be at their taxi stop by 6:45am. This is where they join their peers who have travelled from afar. The school taxi travels 15 kilometres to get the learners to the school every morning. Some families have to wake very early so that the parents can leave for work before dropping their children at the stop. Some parents have very early shifts or have far to travel to work, and these children are left by themselves at home and told to listen for the alarm so they will know when they need to walk to get to the taxi stop on time.
Sometimes the children who travel furthest get to the stop early and they have to sit there and wait for the taxi to arrive. On other days their first taxi might be running late and the driver will have to drive them to the intersection to meet the school taxi. Our furthest children travel 50 km every morning to get to school before the day of learning even begins! We have 6 taxis which are hired by RDPS to transport our learners.
With the patience, love and commitment from the drivers and parents, who work hard to give their children the best education, they all help so that their children can reach their full potential.
Swim your heart out! – Melanie Van Zyl
The grade R, 1, 2 and 3 learners of Royal Drakensberg Primary School have had an amazing summer, not only learning to swim but having hours of fun in the water. We were joined by Mrs van Vuuren who assisted the teachers, providing valuable input about in learning the best way to teach the learners to swim.
They started with the basics, learning to put their faces into the water and blow bubbles. Once this skill was mastered the children learnt what to do if they fall into a deep body of water and how to turn around and get out. They are reminded ing them about water safety and dangers that flowing water pose. As they become more self-assured in the water the children are given more challenges such as floating on their tummies while blowing bubbles in the water and diving for little toys at the bottom of the pool. Many of the older learners have mastered the kick boards and there are even a bunch of grade 2’s and 3’s who can swim across the swimming pool unassisted.
Every week, on their swimming day, the learners walk up to the Cavern excited for what their next swimming lesson may have in store for them. The learners’ confidence has increased immensely shown immense growth. As the end of the term approached the children were are given the last lesson to play what they have enjoyed most about swimming this term. There were with shrieks of laughter and happiness as the children came crashing into the water from the slide showing how much they have grown this term. By playing games they have learnt not to fear the water but to have fun in it safely. We are looking forward to seeing how the learners continue to progress again in Term 4.
The Outdoor Challenge – Cait Gordon
We are so lucky to go to school in the great outdoors of the Northern Drakensberg. What better way to celebrate this than a day outdoors challenging ourselves while exploring the beauty of nature around us.
Our Grade 3 children got to experience one of two amazing opportunities. The first one being an hour solo horse ride in the surrounding mountains gaining a new ability, conquering fears and getting to hear all about the area from one of the extremely knowledgeable Cavern guides. The rest of the class headed off to All Out Adventures where adventure is the name of the game with the challenge of the King Swing and the ever exciting Cable Tour Zip lines.
The rest of the school was split into 6 groups that explored the outdoors and learn so much along the way:
River Rafting – The children took a walk to the nearby dam collecting natural materials along the way to make their own rafts and boats to float on the dam, and have possibly even a little race to see who the master builder was is. This was followed by the ever exciting (and nerve racking wrecking for some), trip around the dam on a kayak with the chance to paddle their teacher back to the banks which created great excitement.
Forest Adventure – with A walk through the great Fern Forest collecting sticks and leaves to recreate the things they had seen back at school was the focus of this challenge. Leaners created an array of creative and interesting forest inspired art work to show off upon the return to school.
Feathered Friends – Armed with their bird list the children headed for the beautiful Cavern gardens in search of the local birds on their list. The children returned to school with great excitement holding onto their bird lists with all the ticks. They created wonderful creative birds pictures clad in feathers inspired by what they had seen on their birding outing.
Camping Fun – The learners gathered at the Natural Pool where they collected firewood and learnt how to build a fire and got a treat to roast on their fire. Gaining energy required for an ever interesting nature scavenger hunt, the learners set off to find different things that resulted in a fun surprise for each child.
Happy Horse – The nerves were evident as the children set off the stables to see the horses, still unsure about the pony ride, which soon turned to such fun and excitement. The children learnt about the horses and how all the riding equipment works including the need for a helmet. They got to feed the horses them some apples after the ride before heading back to school to share their adventurous morning with their friends.
Green Fingers – These learners spent a morning celebrating all that grows around us. This included ing a trip to the vegetable garden to see where our food comes from, and even getting to taste the interesting flavours of spring onion and granadilla. The children collected plants along this trip, learning how to take cuttings and plant them, all ready to take home to create their own little gardens.
We ended this exciting day with some juice and a snack as children and teachers alike chatted happily about the wonderful morning they had had, sharing all of the adventures of the day with their friends.
Our school’s core values – Sinethemba Ngobese
The pompom tree is a well-known and well-loved indigenous trees in the area. It is tough enough to be used as a street tree and small enough to fit into most gardens adding colour and something special. Just like the tree’s presence adds to the forest so do our school’s core values add to make our little school shine in all that we do.
Our school is deeply rooted in its work ethic, from the teachers to each and every learner. We believe that in order to be successful in every task that is thrown at us, no matter how big or small, you have to put in the effort and hard work to do the best that you can. Integrity is the trunk of the tree which stands tall having strong bark which symbolizes that no matter what you may be faced with in life you can always stay true to yourself and always commit to honesty and always doing what is right. Just like the branches of the tree that link each other keeping them connected to the trunk so does the respect connect us to our integrity so that we may always be respectful of ourselves, our elders, our peers and the environment. When the pompom tree produces its bright pink pompom shaped flowers that sparkle so beautifully in the sunlight and fill the valley with colour and happiness as we always reminding to sprinkle kindness like confetti everywhere we go.
Our hard work shows great diligence, our integrity shows trustworthiness, our respect shows loyalty and our kindness bares great compassion creating children that are great ambassadors for the values we instill at RDPS ready to take on the world with confidence and kindness.
Teacher Corner – Sinethemba Ngobese
1. What is your favourite quote?
“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
2. What is the best thing about being a teacher?
Every day is an adventure waiting to unfold, it is completely different. And the constant reminder from my children that I shouldn’t take life too seriously.
3. What is your favourite colour?
I don’t think I have a favourite colour but I am more drawn to warm colours because they represent my personality.
4. What new skill would you like to learn in 2021?
I have recently started painting as hobby because I want to experience a different way of expressing myself other than using words.
5. Who is your Hero? And why?
I am my own hero because I constantly show up for myself on a daily basis and I am proud of how I am living my life.
6. Favourite memory of when you were at school?
Every afternoon my grade 2 teacher would read The Faraway Tree stories. Her reading always used to draw me into the story and I would see myself tagging along with Jo, Moon-Face, Saucepan Man and Silky to The Land of Do-As-You-Please, The Land of Dreams and many others. Story time was always a magical adventure then!
7. What is your favourite number?
Seven. For me it symbolises wholesomeness.
8. If you could time travel where would you go and why?
I would travel back to when I was a child so that I can experience the innocence of life and just to be completely carefree again.
9. What great book have you read recently?
Do It Afraid by Joyce Meyer.
10. Which cartoon character would you be and why?
I would be Mufasa from The Lion King. He always showed a deep understanding of life and being as wise as he is wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Coming Up – Big5Hike
A Final Word
Easter is a season of renewed hope and our wish is that all our supporters remain safe during these trying and unprecedented times. We thank you all for your continued interest in the children, your support of our school and we look forward to many more happy adventures in the mountains.
Megan & Loretta