The classrooms of the Hangberg Pre-Primary School came alive with laughter and play on Monday morning as the school officially opened the doors to the new colourful building overlooking the harbour.
The school, established in 2014, is the result of the hard work and dedication of the Hangberg Education Trust (HET) which had a dream to create a safe environment where pre-school children can acquire the basic skills to start their formal education.
And after months of fundraising and searching for a suitable location, construction finally started in January (“Hangberg ECD deal sealed,” Sentinel January 22).
Some funds were raised by NGOs while the rest of the funds were sponsored by the Rotary Club Am Kap in Sea Point, Rotary Club Germering, Rotary Club Neuss, Rotary Club Landshut-Traushitz and the Rotary club of Eggenfelden.
While construction was under way, the school which accommodated 60 children operated from two classrooms based at Sentinel Primary School.
The school, designed by architect Dawie de Vaal is designed in an L shape, with a preface overlooking the ocean.
The shape of the building was designed to protect the children from the wind and to provide a protected area from the weather in winter while on the playground.
The school has four new classrooms, two Grade 0 classes for children aged four to five years and two – one English and one Afrikaans – Grade R classes for children aged five to six years as well as an aftercare facility.
The school’s capacity has been increased to accommodate 120 pupils which includes the addition of 23 Grade 0 pupils.
There is also an amphitheatre in the front of the school and the principal’s office is based on the second floor along with the reception, a sick room and the kitchen.
A mezzanine level is situated at the top of the building where the children will take afternoon naps.
Each classroom has its own bathroom and an upstairs reading deck where teachers can read to the children.
There is a literacy room, overlooking the harbour, situated on the lower lever of the school which will be used for reading programmes and to create a love of reading with the children.
The school is painted in a variety of colours on the inside and the outside, inspired by the colours of a Kingfisher and creates a fun atmosphere.
Grade R teacher June Arn looks after the Afrikaans class while Yusrah Pietersen looks after the English class and Marieta Erasmus the Grade 0 class.
HET executive member Tania Gray said the school has come a long way since 2014 and the beautiful building is a beacon of hope for the community.
“We want the children and their parents to be proud of the school and what it represents,” she said.
She emphasised that the aim of the HET, who is closely involved in the Hangberg community, remains to show the children in the community that they are special and that they can do things differently from their parents.
“We want to produce children who are school ready and make sure they can have a successful school career,” she said.
Acting principal Karen Temlett said she was completely overwhelmed by the reality of it all.
She said funding was a huge challenge but thanks to the donations of various German Rotary clubs their vision has become a reality.
“After five years of fundraising and planning it is finally a reality, one which I am extremely excited and blessed to be a part of,” she said.
She said her vision for the school was to educate the pre-school children of Hangberg and surrounds in a safe, secure environment, where each child will grow with confidence and develop a love of learning which will carry them through to adulthood.
Ms Gray said all the furniture inside the building was sponsored and the school is very grateful for the generous help from the community and other companies.