The big day is finally here. A child puts on a brave face, his belly filled with a mixture of uncertainty and excitement. An entirely new and unknown world waits him.
Taking his mom’s hand, he walks into the pre-primary school and embarks on a brand-new adventure. There are new things to learn, friends to make and fun to be had.
As with any child starting pre-school, it is the staff who play an instrumental role in a child’s development. Their guidance and love ensure a child flourishes during their time at school. At Klein Spoortjies, there are staff members who have stood the test of time, dedicating their lives to Newcastle’s children.
Venessa North has been a part of Klein Spoortjies’s faculty for 35 years. “There are people who I taught, who are now bringing their children to school,” she laughs.
But what does Venessa enjoy about her career? “I love seeing how the children grow. They come in here as babies and leave all ready for school.”
Starting her career off as a teacher at Klein Spoortjies, Venessa now prepares the children’s food. “There came a time when I couldn’t give the children everything I wanted to. However, I wanted to continue working with them. Now, I keep their tummies full of nice food.”
Being involved with the school for nearly four decades, Venessa says it isn’t a career one should take lightly. “You are taking a child that isn’t yours into your care. During the time at school, you become that child’s parent. Which is why working with children as a teacher must be a passion.”
Hasie Nel is a teacher’s assistant and works for the school’s aftercare. “I worked for Klein Spoortjies for eight years. I left for a two-year period and have now been working for the school for 17 consecutive years.”
Why come back after a two-year hiatus? What is her driving force at the school that keeps her coming back for more? “I love the children and really enjoy working with them. They ask me stacks of questions and the stories they tell me some days makes me laugh.”
With her fond memories of school concerts and other school activities, Hasie says being a teacher requires a valuable personality trait. “My advice for young teachers is that you must have patience. You need to teach the children and at times it requires a bit of patience and time.”
Melanie Marx has dedicated 26 years of her life to the children of Klein Spoortjes. “It is my mission in life, as it is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Coming to work each day with a smile on her face, Melanie says she finds immense joy in her career. “I love watching the children grow, develop and work.”
Working with children daily, Melanie says it is important for new teachers to believe in themselves. “It is a big job having other people’s children in your care, teaching them and being there for all their milestones. Which is why you need to have faith in yourself.”
Sophie Mposula is a domestic worker at Klein Spoortjies, working closely with the teachers for the past 22 years. “I enjoy everything about working at the school. I love how the staff talk and laugh together. The children are also such an important gift from God.”
While often working behind the scenes at the school, Sophie says she has learned tremendously from the staff. “I learned how to take care of children and I love their laughter.”
Working for so long at Klein Spoortjies, she advises parents to bring their children to the school. “Klein Spoortjies is the best school and you will see how your child grow if you bring them here.”
We commend these four staff members for giving so much of themselves to the children in their care. You ladies are true gems!