Crèche pioneers gardening skills

2019-07-23 06:25
Principal of Pinocchio Crèche, Helen Shongwe-Phillips said the children have played a significant role in maintaining the vegetable garden.PHOTO: thabang kuaho

Principal of Pinocchio Crèche, Helen Shongwe-Phillips said the children have played a significant role in maintaining the vegetable garden.PHOTO: thabang kuaho

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Pinocchio Crèche in Green Point is aiming to produce a generation of youth who hold preservation and conservation of the natural world to high esteem.

Everything in the crèche’s beautiful, flourished garden is grown organically. The children are taught healthy ways of gardening, and to avoid using toxic chemicals in growing their produce.

There are 70 pupils presently enrolled at the facility, however, according to principal and manager, Helen Shongwe-Phillips, this is nowhere near reaching the ideal number in terms of raising a whole generation of environmentally-conscious citizens.

The crèche, with the consistent assistance from the little helpers, has produced an exceptional garden filled with cabbages, spring onions, spinach, yams and butterbeans growing outside, while the young ones are learning and growing inside.

“We want the children to embrace growth, nurturing, the importance of keeping your environment clean – and gravitating towards that more often than the violence we see in our community,” Shongwe-Phillips explained.

Every morning, the young ones take a walk around the garden – becoming initiated early in one of the best ways to start a new day. “We need to instil these characteristics within our future generation because they are growing up in a very angry world.”

According to her, the fourth industrial revolution has opened the pathway to change, which is an unavoidable step in our evolutionary cycle as a planet.

“The thing with change is that it always shakes people and it makes one feel uncomfortable,” she said.

“Many of our children do come from war-torn environments. And when I say that I mean in terms of gang violence or community violence; whatever the case may be. With that comes the aggression (and) the fighting back for whatever reasons may be.”

Shongwe-Phillips has served within a managerial role at the crèche since she was 16-years-old, working with her mother Maggie Oewies-Shongwe – who founded the Domestic Workers’ Association Educational Trust, a non-profit organisation (NPO) that runs the crèche.

As a result, the Crèche holds an extensive historical significance in addition to the legacy of environmental consciousness and preservation.

This local NPO occupies the Old Green Point Bowling Club facilities which was previously known for its dilapidation through neglect, before the crèche moved into the lot.

The process of transforming the space has been a team effort between the young learners, staff, and caring organisations and their donations over the years.

Green Point Spur donated the filling of a 10 000 litre tank during the recent droughts; the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association has played an instrumental assistance role and Tracter Multi-Media donated two additional 3000 litre tanks for the facility.

Since being established from a labour organisation in the 1970s, Pinocchio Crèche has worked from 1984 towards bridging the divide between (formerly) black and white institutions of early developmental learninglebogang will explain this. . V For more information on the intitiative, call 021 439 8124.

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