This is Nonkazimulo Mavundla. In March, it will be her sixth year as a Teacher’s Assistant at GCF’s Happy Days School. She is not the only one working with education at the centre but is responsible for the children between the ages of 3 – 4, as well as the children living with special needs.
Only talking with her about her experiences at GCF makes her eyes shine. She shares enthusiastically and clearly shows that she enjoys her work.
Nonkazimulo describes how some children are very shy and does not talk when they join her class after being removed from their families and admitted to the centre. After a while, they open up and are as active and talkative as the other young learners.
With her previous experience working at another Early Childhood Development Centre in the community, she can compare and easily picks up on when her current learners’ so often traumatic backgrounds affect the way they behave.
“I can see it when they are playing, especially how they let dolls fight with each other, or how they touch other children. Some of them have anger.”
Nonkazimulo continues sharing;
“Happy Days is a very special school. When we face challenges with some of the children, like when their behaviour changes drastically and they fight, we have people that deal with it. They go for therapy and see the social worker, who observes them and understands where the problems come from.”
Nonkazimulo plans daily lessons and activities, organises and collects teaching aids and make sure that the classroom always remains a safe environment. A normal school day includes different activities around a specific theme, free play, storytime, building puzzles and a moment of music.
The walls in the school are decorated with charts that Nonkazimulo has made. They are used during the lessons to make the themes e.g. body parts, colours, shapes, numbers and vehicles, easier to grasp for the children. She says that she also lets them talk about the pictures and that one of her favourite things about her work is when the children grow in confidence over time, standing in front of their peers sharing their newly gained knowledge using these charts.
Nonkazimulo dreams of how her learners will complete school when they are older and study further to be able to achieve their goals. She also would love to see them motivating others with similar backgrounds to never give up.
Written by Anna-Karin Öhrnstedt