'Mommy don’t go,' Grade R pupils cry as school starts

2017-01-11 15:02
A very excited Sipho Baloyi is ready for his first day in Grade R at Roodepoort Primary School. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

A very excited Sipho Baloyi is ready for his first day in Grade R at Roodepoort Primary School. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - It was an emotional first day for some Grade R learners at Roodepoort Primary School on Wednesday. 

Many entered the gates with brave faces, clutching their parents' hands. But this soon faded when their parents had to leave. 

Some of the little ones clung to their parents, sobbing uncontrollably – with most heard crying: "Mommy please don't go."

PICS: Back to school

One pupil, who was brought to school by his older sisters, initially ran away from the classroom. 

He later sat alone, a few metres away from the entrance of the classroom, continuously wiping away tears as he watched other children his age being taken into the classroom by their parents.

The soft-spoken Grade R teacher later picked him up and took him back into the classroom, where she managed to calm him down and make him feel at ease among his classmates.

'All I want to do is colour'

For others, it was excitement all around. 

Five-year-old Goneril Demas had a huge smile on her face when she made her way through the gates with her parents.

"I woke up early today. All I want to do today is to colour," she said.

When asked what she wanted to become one day, she smiled and said: "I want to go to the big one." 

She was referring to high school.  

Her father Andre said Goneril has been excited about starting school since last year. 

"She went with us to buy all her stationary and school uniform. Last night she bathed early and got ready for her first day. She thought she was going to use public transport and repeatedly asked, 'Daddy is my transport here?'" Demas said. 

Troubled past

The school was closed several times in 2015, including for a stretch of nearly a month. Parents and residents had claimed the appointments of the principal and her two deputies were irregular. There were allegations that some parents did not want the principal because she was black.

The school is in a largely coloured area.

The dispute resulted in several violent clashes between residents and police. In one incident a petrol bomb was thrown at a deputy principal's car, and in another, a parent allegedly brought a gun onto the school premises.

Parent24: Back to school

Demas said, despite the history of the school, they believed that it was the perfect fit for their daughter. 

"We are happy to bring her here and we are positive for the change that is going to happen at the school. I have personally been praying... [for] the school last year."

Goneril's mother Samantha described her daughter as a joyful child who enjoyed singing and dancing. 

"Goneril is keen on spiritual dancing. She blesses us every morning with a special song and she always has something on her heart. I think her gift is singing and dancing," she said. 

Samantha said that, as a community, they could bring change to the school.

Nervous parents

Mamoagi Mogale said her son Phenyo Mogale, 5, had woken her up early on Tuesday morning all set and ready for school. 

She said she then had to explain to her son that school was only going to start the next day. 

"I thought he was going to be nervous and crying, but I think us as parents are more nervous than them. Preparing for his first day was hectic," Mogale said. 

Phenyo had excitement written all over his face as he stood next to his mother. 

But when she tried to leave, the tears started flowing and he wouldn’t let go.

Grade R teacher Stella Jacobs said crying was normal for the first few days. 

"They [the children] are not used to the environment, but after a week you would be surprised to [see] the difference in their behaviour," Jacobs said. 

Jacobs said she was excited for 2017 and that she was going to try her hardest to bring out the best in her learners.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education

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