My daughter turned two in January and is currently in a wonderful creche. It is small, run by ‘Aunty’ Jenny and we feel safe in the knowledge that between 8 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon our pride and joy is being looked after as well, if not better, than if she were at home.
It was not always the case. We originally had our daughter in a creche that I will not name (it is on a busy main road and has a colour and a vegetable in the name) and it seemed that not a month went by that she wasn’t ill in some way. Then there were the frequent times that we picked her up and the whole group were watching DVD’s (sometimes titles not wholly appropriate for the age group) and occasionally just under the supervision of the cleaner (quite a worry considering the number of kids involved.) So we were massively relieved to find Jenny.
Unfortunately the happy state of affairs will have to change soon as Maggie can only be at Jenny’s until the end of the year when she will have to go to a pre-school. And so the search begins.
To call the selection of a pre school complicated would be like saying that climbing Everest is a bit of a walk. Being a clueless bloke I thought, in my naivety that we just went and found the one that we liked best and paid the fee. Not so. My better half informs me that some are more acceptable as ‘training grounds’ to prepare our little tyke for proper school (how to sit at a desk, learn and not pick one’s nose I suppose!)
Cue Saturday morning and a trip to Fish Hoek Pre-Primary School (next to Paul Greyling school on Abington Circle). They were holding an open day so we all went to see what was involved. Now this is where the tension begins, because, as I said, I don’t look at the bigger picture- if it looks like short stuff will have a good time, make a mess with paints and get to socialize with other nippers then it is a good school as far as I am concerned: I am not a big advocate of formal learning among toddlers, a bit of reading numbers and a whole lot of playing is as far as it should go- as for home work that should be ‘go play and be 3’. This is a ‘black mark’ against Fish Hoek Pre-Primary as it is seen as a free and easy place and not the perfect preparation for academia.
So what was it like? All I can say is that I wish I was going there all day. They have class rooms full of finger paintings and scenes made out of pasta etc. In a small grassy area they run specialist ‘movement’ classes which teach coordination and cooperation. The crowning glory is a jungle gym like no other, surrounded by lots of room to run around in.
Its not all roses and sunshine though. As said it is not seen as the best preparation for things to come (not by me though) and it is a long walk from our house (I have an aversion to kids being taken to school by car).
Fees seem reasonable and they don’t close for all school holidays.
We have more to look at next week and I will put a post in for each of them, though I suspect that the decision has already been made (not in favour of Fish Hoek Pre-Primary no matter what I say.) So if we go with another school please don’t take it personally at the FHPP, I’d like to go there everyday.