History, explains Lynette Carolissen, principal of the Klein Handjies Preschool at Boschendal estate near Franschhoek, may well show that the decision by Boschendal’s new owners to support this preschool was the most beneficial of all the changes and improvements that they have
brought about since taking over the estate in 2012.
The school is an initiative by the Franschhoek estates Solms-Delta and Boschendal.
It moved to its new buildings on the Boschendal estate a few months ago and here its numbers have been augmented by children from the Boschendal community.
Lynette has been a nursery school teacher for most of her life but, she says, the Klein Handjies Preschool, which currently has 51 children aged from three months to five years, is far and away the best she has ever been involved with and, she adds.
There are many reasons for this.
Firstly the school is set in a clean, calm, beautiful farm environment well away from the big towns and cities which can have negative, harmful influences on young children. It has sufficient staff (seven in total) and this means that great attention can be paid to the individual.
The school has spacious and adequate floor areas in beautifully refurbished cottages, the quality of which is appreciated not only by the children but by the parents and staff.
It is also well equipped with books, art materials, educational toys (which are regularly changed and updated), stationery, a playground with its own vegetable garden (maintained by the older children) and a jungle gym.
Most importantly, it makes full use of Preschool for Africa’s Play with a Purpose programme.
The Play with a Purpose systems and educational kits were introduced in 1991, were developed in South Africa and are widely considered to be ground-breaking in child development initiatives.
The programme is based on a neuro-scientific framework and behaviour-based theories originally developed by Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in this field.
He was able to show that the economic return on investment in Early Childhood Development was up to 17 times greater than the same investment in high school education.
Prof Heckman’s findings have validated the Play with a Purpose approach, showing that the human brain develops and learns more in the first five years of the child’s existence than at any later stage.
In 2017 Klein Handjies will more than double its current intake and former farm cottages on the school site are being renovated to make this possible.
Breaking Travel News editor Chris O’Toole recently visited Boschendal Wine Estate as part of a trip to South Africa.
Find out what he found here.