Unique pre-primary opens its wings

2017-02-07 06:02
Specially built Hangberg Pre-primary School, on the grounds of Sentinel Primary School, has held its official opening.

Specially built Hangberg Pre-primary School, on the grounds of Sentinel Primary School, has held its official opening.

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Hangberg Pre-primary School officially opened on Friday 20 January and is booming with ­potential.

While the school doors opened in October last year, the official opening ceremony was only held now.

There are 120 learners at the school and 13 staff members, ten of whom are from Hangberg.

The opening ceremony was attended by nearly 150 stakeholders who played a role in the construction of the school. Special guests included the Debbie Schäfer, provincial education minister, and Donald Grant, provincial minister of public works and transport.

The Hangberg Educational Trust (HET), a registered public benefit organisation, is behind the construction of the pre-primary and after-care facility. The total construction cost of the school was just over R5.5m.

Marquerithe Schreuder, of the HET, says the team is amazed by the work they have put together.

“This is a dream come true for many stakeholders and hard-working volunteers. In August 2013, when the first agreements were set, no-one could dream this would be the end-product. The trust and the pre-school staff feel blessed to be part of this vision and its beautiful, impactful final outcome.”

Schreuder says the uniqueness of the school is that it is an independent school in collaboration with a public school, namely Sentinel Primary School, on the public school’s premises.

“This collaboration has led to powerful sharing of skills, knowledge and infrastructure to the benefit of the children. The school and after-care facilities have a gross construction area of more than 500m² plus an additional 400m² of external decks, ramps, undercover playing area and amphitheatre.”

Key design elements include an after-care facility, high levels of security, two toilets per classroom, a separate service delivery entrance, sufficient storage rooms, an observation room, undercover play area, an outside amphitheatre, solar electricity supply and disabled-friendly access. The structure is elevated on gum poles and is clad externally with metal sheeting symbolically painted in the colours of the strong, hard-working kingfisher bird. The raised building capitalises on the scenic views and allows for the migration of sand and also makes space for the undercover playing area.

She says the school’s footprint is carbon neutral.

“It produces more electricity than it consumes per year. It is a grid-tied system, reducing the electricity consumption, and exporting to Sentinel Primary School when it does not use all the power. This is thanks to a donated solar system by SolarWorld Africa which was installed by its local partner OneSolar. The building is environmentally friendly and built predominantly of timber rather than concrete or bricks,” Schreuder says.

“The amphitheatre of the school is used to host parent and school-related events for both schools. Most importantly, however, is that the school has materially increased the opportunities for young children of the community to receive quality care and education which lays the foundation for their long-term academic and personal success.”

The pre-primary school runs an early literacy programme for Grade R learners, a parenting course and will soon launch a mother and baby programme in the after-care facility.

V For more information contact Tania Gray on 082 491 5626 or hangbergeducationaltrust@gmail.com.

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