Ismi van Niekerk, Principal of Haute Cabrière Education Centre, tells her story…
“Mara le Roux, senior staff member at Haute Cabrière cellar, had the vision for an education centre on the farm where parents working for the farm could leave their children during the day and know they are safe and well looked after.
Sadly, a short while before our Education Centre was opened, Mara died of cancer – we know she has been watching over us for almost six years. As the centre caters only for children whose parents work on the farm, we can keep it small and provide the best quality education and attention.
At our centre we cater for children aged 2-18 years. Some children live on the premises with their parents and can walk to school, and others live in Groendal and take the company bus mornings and evening with their parents. Pre-schoolers (currently 9, but in May shooting up to 11) follow a formal curriculum (CAPS, TEEC and a combination of registered programmes) and daily programme from 07:00 – 17:00 during school terms and over holidays a more informal programme. Formal school-going children aged 6-18 (currently 19) come to the centre after school (Wes-Eind Primary, Groendal and Franschhoek High School) to do their homework and assignments helping parents to spend quality time with their children after work. In 2015 we had our first passing matriculant and have all confidence in our current candidate.
Our centre has an open plan lay-out where our pre-schoolers are divided into three age groups (2-3 with Roseline Leibrandt, 3-4 with Nadia Hendricks currently on maternity leave with Chevon Prins filling her position, 5-6 years, including Grade R with Ismi van Niekerk and in the kitchen our cook and cleaner, Sandiswa Mqikela.
Our outside area boasts a huge lawn, beach-like sandpit, porch area, vegetable garden and climbing frame to make sure all big muscles are well developed. The inside area of our centre is extremely well equipped with educational and more fun equipment such as puzzles, board games, balls, fantasy corners and enough space to explore, enjoy and learn.
It is with a lot of help from our friends and family inside and outside the company that we can maintain high standards at our centre. We get so many people dropping off second-hand clothing (adult and kid sizes), secondhand, but very usable toys and stationery, sweets, cupcakes, fruit, or students volunteering their holiday time. We are also extremely grateful for our big sponsors who support us. JAM (Joint Aid Movement) supplies us with instant porridge for breakfast, The Lunchbox Project supplies us with dried ingredients to cook a healthy lunch and two snacks daily ensuring health and a balanced diet to all children.
Bhabhathane has arranged for our school, among other centres to train our staff in Inclusive Education (special needs), First Aid Training, Curriculum training and establishing the Franschhoek Early Childhood Development Forum (FECDF). Through Bhabhathane LEGO has made a huge donation to our centre and has willed training to all staff how to play with these fantastic blocks and stimulate childrens’ minds, small muscles and mathematical skills. Bhabhathane has also helped registered centres, such as ours to have their centres painted with a fire retardant paint to meet safety standards issued by the Department of Social Development. The paint was supplied by Transception and funded by FRANCO. We are also in partnership with Hands of Hope (a Joyce Meyer project managed by Prochorus) and have close and intimate relationships with the ACVV, churches, Hospice, local clinic, schools and every person working on the farm.
There are many supporters who help us keep our standards high, but it is also due to the love, dedication and hard work of our staff that we can be proud of our centre and manage it according to Departmental regulations. I do not think of our centre as a farm school or community educational centre – I regard it as a private school and want children, very young and a bit older to come to us, feel safe, enjoy themselves and have a proper education.
I always wanted to have my own play centre, but could never have thought that this company, Haute Cabrière would offer me everything I dreamt of. I love the children (some days more and some days less), and am proud of our staff working so well together.”
Thank you Ismi.
Read more about Haute Cabrière & Pierre Jourdan Wines – CLICK HERE