Smiles, tears on first day of school

2012-01-11 12:23

He expects to colour in, but also to do “some hard stuff”, KwaZulu-Natal first-grader Kamdyn Clack-Hill said as coastal schools opened today.

Clack-Hill was among the early birds who made it to Morningside Primary in Durban before 7am.

For fellow pupil, Shantay Summer Gates (5), the preparations for school started as early as last year when she insisted that school shoes be bought for her.

While she didn’t say much, she was eager to do poses in her uniform.

Lorenzo Govindasamy (5) was all smiles on his first day in Grade R.

Said his mother, Debbie: “By 6 o’clock he was ready to hit the road. I was thinking to myself that when I was his age I was crying my eyes out. I’m more nervous than he is.”

Twins Jared and Shaden Chetty (6) were not scared because they “are big”. They look forward to painting and play-dough.

At Sibonise Junior Primary School in Unit J, KwaMashu, only a handful of the 400 pupils expected this year were present when the first bell rang at 7.30am.

By 8.30am, pupils were still strolling in, some for first-time registrations. As many as 110 pupils will be starting out in Grade 1.

Mpumelelo Ngcobo (5), who was separated from his mother for the first time, didn’t like the idea of a day without his mother.

Principal Lindo Madonsela did everything in her power to try to coax the youngster with sweets and chips to get him to his class but he would not hear of it.

His mother, Nokuthula Zondi, who was also in tears, eventually resorted to using force to get the job done.

With all the crying going on, Banele Ntshalintshali (4), who was proud of his Ben 10 bag, assured City Press that he would not cry. “I’m here to learn,” he said.

According to Madonsela, it was the norm for parents to bring their children to school for first-time registration on the first day in township schools.

“I expect at least 100 parents to come in looking for a school today, which does affect teaching and learning because children are coming in dribs and drabs but you can’t turn them away because for some of these children it is their only chance to education.”

For some children, the excitement of wearing a school uniform for the first time was a dream too expensive.
 
According to Madonsela, this is because the school also served the community living in nearby shacks which often results in the school depending on sponsorships for school uniforms.

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