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.

The hike took place in the hills of the Cavern Berg Resort. The Cavern very graciously let all the hikers use their beautiful facilities for the weekend. The morning was clear and quiet with a light breeze in the air. All the hikers were awake early and ready for the day of hiking five beautiful peaks above the Cavern, challenging themselves, making new friends.

The first peak is Hlolela, which truly does its name justice as it means “A kind of beautiful”. The second peak is the majestic Battleship which is followed by Sugar Loaf with a view “to die for”. Along the way, the hikers were treated to delicious refreshments, provided by generous sponsors and friends of RDPS. Hikers summitted Cold Hill before descending into the Cave for lunch.

As RDPS teachers, we were privileged to hike to Cannibal Cavern where we were part of the lunch station with Wimpy burgers, refreshing sparkling wine and various other snacks to refuel for the final “test” of the hike to Camel’s Hump where they had magnificent views of the Amphitheatre as there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

The descent from Camel’s Hump was relatively tough but the approximately 100 exhausted hikers made it right to the end.

All staff members and learners at RDP are extremely grateful to each person for all their effort, energy and love for our precious little school in raising money for the longevity of our school.

– Melanie van Zyl

New Additions To The School

Royal Drakensberg Primary school is extremely grateful to the Victor Daitz Foundation for sponsoring the supply, installation and networking of brand new computers, together with UPS devices and 2 printers within our school.
At the beginning of the year, the school was visited by a member of the Victor Daitz Foundation, who identified the need for upgraded computer technology within our school. Our needs were put forward to the Foundation and we were overjoyed to have received approval to go ahead with this project.

Along with the installation of new computers and UPS devices, the school also received an upgraded internet facility, which was installed by the team at Logical Wireless to accompany the new networked system. Avalon van der Heever and his team assisted with the digging of trenches and laying the wiring for the network during the April school holidays.

The entire project was completed by the Xtranet team on the 17th of May this year. The team worked tirelessly to complete the installation and within a week, the school’s new networked system was up-and-running.

We are extremely grateful to the team of humble people who have quietly each done their part in this process, which has resulted in the incredible networked system that we now have available at Royal Drakensberg Primary School. Both the learners and the staff are going to benefit enormously from the installation. Our learners will now be equipped with skills that are necessary in our modern world.

– Sue Kraupner

Slipper Day 2019

On Friday the 10th of May, Royal Drakensberg Primary School joined in with the rest of the country to raise awareness and funds for the Reach for a Dream Foundation to help children who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses to fulfil their dreams. Each learner and teacher was encouraged to donate R5 or more towards the foundation and to wear pyjamas and slippers to school for the day.

The day was fully embraced by the school with warm pyjamas and fun slippers seen everywhere. Each learner and teacher donated something small to the foundation. The purpose of the donation and day was explained and it was humbling to see the willingness of the learners to help others in need. Every small contribution can be used to make a big difference.

Two days prior to Slipper Day, the country had also partaken in the national and provincial elections. After explaining to the learners the purpose and importance of voting day, it was decided to complete a voting day within our school for the movie to be shown during slipper day as a treat for the learners. Miss Cari, the grade 3 and 4 teacher ran the event as an exercise in data handling, language and public speaking for her learners. The learners, in partners, chose movies to campaign for. Once they shared their views and opinions with the school, each grade had the opportunity to vote for their movie of choice. Overall, it was an interesting and exciting exercise that allowed our learners to understand more about our country and the democratic system.

The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all with focus on the importance of helping others and sharing kindness where possible. Royal Drakensberg Primary was able to donate R456 to the Reach for a Dream Foundation.

– Brittany Houghting

Experiments In The Classroom

This term the Grade 3 and 4 learners experimented with states of matter. We had an exceptional time watching our theoretical lessons come to life. We did three experiments, each focusing on a different state of matter. The first experiment we conducted involved the exploration of gas. The learners observed how to blow up a balloon using vinegar and baking soda. The children were amazed at the rate of inflation. We then proceeded to investigate the density of different liquids. Making a liquid rainbow seemed like an easy enough task but if the liquids are combined in the wrong weight-defined order, or poured into the container too quickly, the whole experiment would be ruined. Lastly (and most deliciously), we turned liquids into solids; and there is no better way to do that than shaking up a scrumptious batch of ice cream. This was the most physically demanding experiment. Using two Ziploc bags, salt, milk, vanilla, sugar and a lot of will power we made delicious homemade ice cream.

Practical, hands on learning is a crucial part of effective learning. Our children thoroughly enjoyed as our lessons came to life, and it was a joy to watch as our children’s inquisitive eyes took in every aspect of the activities.

– Cari Swanepoel

Teacher’s Corner

Miss Hesté Gerber – interesting facts
The last book I read was ‘A Good Year’ by Peter Mayle, an old favourite that I have read a few times. My favourite song is ‘Forever in Blue Jeans‘ by Neil Diamond. My favourite quote is “You have brain in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” Dr. Seuss – Oh the places you’ll go! A new skill that I would like to learn is how to paint with watercolour paints. Painting has always been a passion of mine but water colours are very tricky. My favourite subject at school was Art.

I loved losing myself in the projects that I had to produce. My art teacher fostered my creative talents and taught me how to solve problems in creative and innovative ways. If I could have a super power, I would like to fly. It would make visiting my family and friends who are far away so much easier as well as the benefits of cheap travel abroad. My favourite thing about being a teacher is that I laugh every single day. There is always a joke or a funny story that my learners want to share.

A final word

2019 has been a difficult one in South Africa. Economic growth is at an all time low, unemployment figures are on the rise and life is hard for the poorest in our communities. It’s important to keep looking towards the things that do sparkle and we were incredibly fortunate to have raised R1m from our Big5Hike. Our hikers were a committed group of individuals, many that went above and beyond, and our corporate sponsors were generous with their contributions. This vital fundraiser ensures our longevity as as a small school in the Drakensberg and we are grateful to each individual who contributed. See more:

We thank you all for your continued interest and support of our school and our mission of helping grow the little people.

With warmest regards,

Megan & Loretta

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”

Newsletter | 4th Term 2017

Dear Friends

The school year has come to an end and as South Africans we have received alarming news! Recent results reveal that 80% of Grade 4 children in South Africa are not able to read with understanding. Sadly if children cannot learn to read, how will they read to learn in the higher grades? This trend results in children dropping out of school and while it is distressing it once again reaffirms the importance of our work at Royal Drakensberg Primary.

The greatest need is in the rural areas and it also supports our move to focus more on pre-primary and foundation phase education as we believe this is where the greatest need in our community lies. We share our news below:

Future Plans

In 2018 we will continue to offer Grade 4 & 5 but will drop a grade in 2019, only offering classes up to Grade 4. As 2020 approaches, we will reassess our position financially and the children’s progress and will possibly drop a further grade, if necessary. These changes will result in us having more spaces available to offer in the pre-primary phase which will help ensure that the children are better equipped to begin formal learning in Grade 1. Early Childhood Development is crucial for success. Continue reading “Newsletter | 4th Term 2017”

Newsletter | 3rd Term 2017

Dear Friends

When Term 3 draws to an end we know it’s a downhill run to Christmas! It all started with Mandela Day in July. Guests from The Cavern joined the children at school and spent 67 minutes reading and face painting. It was a beautiful interaction and just lovely to see the sharing of stories, time and a little bit of love. And it has been an action packed term ending with our school play, The Gruffalo.

Continue reading “Newsletter | 3rd Term 2017”

Newsletter | 2nd Term 2017

Dear Friends,

Winter has descended on the Drakensberg but it is a wonderful season with clear blue skies and crisp fresh air. The days are cooler so we are very grateful to Shirley Mackenzie and her team of ladies for our wonderful donation of 10 blankets for 10 years. Royal Drakensberg celebrates 10 years of quality education! The children completed their term with a winter wonderland soccer fest. We share our latest happenings here….

Continue reading “Newsletter | 2nd Term 2017”

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! Continue reading “Newsletter | 1st Term 2017”