Issue 3: Bambinos Early Learning Centre, Cosmo City
Bambinos Early Learning Centre finds its place on an eventful street in the heart of Cosmo City, Gauteng. The outside of the centre is unmissable with its cheerful walls brimming with cartoon paintings of children learning. The serenity of a humble vegetable garden lining a single wall at the entrance might fool onlookers, who will later learn of the chaos, liveliness, and noise accompanying the children at play.
On the other side of the security checkpoint, a few friendly faces greet visitors with a welcoming smile. A teacher shows the way through narrow corridors as the smell of fresh, warm porridge drifts into every corner of the centre. The teacher passes the inquisitive faces of children and toddlers as she guides the way outside to the back garden, where children swing and slide their way over and under jungle gyms and tunnels. A mountain of Play Box elements is at the centre of the garden, and children are taking great pride in building models of teeth and toothbrushes.
Another teacher calls her learners back inside to begin her lesson of the day. The children all gather and sit on the floor in front of their teacher. The theme of the week is health and hygiene, and the children are eager to participate as their teacher vibrantly explains the importance of brushing their teeth. Their teacher is full of life as she animates concepts and encourages her learners to engage and interact throughout the entire lesson. The children run back and forth between a huge black bin overflowing with Play Box elements as they all work together to create models as far as their imagination can stretch. They grab their models as their teacher takes them outside for some balancing and movement exercises. The children take delight in their abilities to balance their models on their arms and shoulders, and they all giggle as they take turns walking a mere few steps before the models plummet from their heads.
Their teacher watches the children with both amusement and pride as they play. Her name is Nthabiseng, and she has been with Bambinos Early Learning Centre for 2 years. Nthabiseng was a cleaner at her former school and took great joy in engaging and playing with the learners. The school saw her passion for children and took her on as an assistant teacher. Nthabiseng is now a leading teacher at Bambinos Early Learning Centre and is busy completing her Level 4 qualification. She plans on obtaining a teaching degree and dreams of opening her own centre. Nthabiseng has an undeniable passion for children and teaching and opens herself to learning from her learners every day.
The Play Box is at the centre of her lesson development, and Nthabiseng uses LEGO® DUPLO to develop her learners holistically. She encourages children to communicate and express their creativity through play, and she makes sure to include all her learners in lessons, especially those who are struggling. She mentions that she focuses on learning through play and building relationships with her learners, so they feel comfortable enough to ask her questions and participate in lessons. She takes her inspiration from laughter and learning, and she wakes up every day thinking “today is going to be a great day” because every day is a new day that she gets to devote herself to her learners and impact their lives through play.