Buddies preschool shutting its doors

Angie Long has been the second mother for the kids of Best Buddies for 33 years and now she has to say goodbye.

Residents of Hout Bay have expressed nothing but gratitude and acknowledgement following the news of the beloved preschool, Best Buddies, closing down.

Founder and manager, Angie Long said the school’s 33rd anniversary on Monday April 1 would be their last celebration.

Although her plan was to retire at the end of the year, Angie’s dream has to come to an end, following a reduction in new admissions. The official closing date will be on Friday June 28 this year.

“It is mainly due to the larger schools who have extended their facilities and are now providing the same service for working parents,” she said. “We’re also losing numbers because of parents relocating or emigrating.”

Angie thought of selling the school to someone who would continue their “home away from home” school, but it became impossible to change the circumstances that presented themselves to her and Best Buddies.

Asked what her favourite memory of her job was, Angie said: “I have enjoyed all the hugs and love from each one of them, their little arms around my neck, watching the babies take their first steps, wiping away tears, taking off their shoes and the special little chats we had.”

Angie also thanked her husband, Ronnie Long, for starting the adventure with her in 1986. “Whenever I needed help and guidance, he was there for me with untold amounts of patience.”

In the meantime, Angie is trying to find suitable jobs for her current staff. She will be approaching local schools to promote further employment for them.

Best Buddies taught all ages, from 6-month-old babies to 5-year-old children. Their extramural classes included karate, dancing and manners for minors.

Cecilia Peyer, a former Best Buddies parent, said she fondly remembers the school’s anthem. “I salute Angie for being a rock in an ever-changing community. Adaption becomes a survival mechanism. My two boys, now 33 and 27, were fortunate to be a part of her community,” she said.

Angie, who remains positive, says whenever one door closes, another opens. “Unfortunately plans don’t always work out the way you want them to and we don’t have that beautiful crystal ball which shows us our future paths and in which direction we are headed.”