This is the first term Kufunda Village School is operating on its own. It has been a big shift, which has placed greater demands on us, but which has also brought much energy as we have worked together to live up to what is needed. During the holidays and at the beginning of the term the whole village has been coming together to prepare the school for the children. We now have new spaces for the primary school, the kindergarten and the grade zero (pre-school class). All the spaces have been painted, windows have been added to bring more light, and the playground has been moved into the middle of the village in our small forest area. A new outdoor classroom was completed at the beginning of the term, and is being used every day. We are continuing with a weekly Community Work sessions where children and adults of the village come together to continue to paint and beautify. The children are very proud and excited for their new school, and the role they have played in getting it ready.
Our numbers in the lower classes have grown: We now have 18 kindergarten children, 10 grade zeros (pre-school) children, and 18 primary school children, making our total 46.
The kindergarten is running well with their weekly schedule including painting, modelling and drawing in addition to the daily free play, games, circle time with songs and rhymes, and story time. The pre-schoolers are doing similar activities as well as finger knitting, making seed and nature collages, doing different counting rhymes and plays. The new climbing frame, the many naturally balancing rocks, the sandpit, and the swings help the children engage with their natural environment during free play and break time.
In the primary school the class 1s and 2s have been learning about the seasons and the elements. They are continuing with traditional fables and stories. The class threes, after ending the first term with the successful creation of their very own school garden, they have this term been working with old testament stories, and learning grammar. They have just shifted into their handcraft main lesson, where they will be making pots, and weaving mats, learning from people in the village and the neighbourhood. The class 5s have been doing Ancient Civilisations (Egypt, India and Persia) and have just shifted their focus to learning about fractions. Both the class 3s and 5s continue to take care of their garden, with time spent a couple of times a week watering and mulching the plants.
From doing most of the teaching alone teacher Elizabeth Madanire has been joined by assistant teacher Ethel Chimenya, a young woman who enjoys working with children and is learning about the Waldorf approach. Maaianne Knuth, parent, and Director of Kufunda has taken the term out from much of her other work to be alongside the two in supporting the teaching needs until Kufunda finds a second qualified Waldorf teacher. We are still looking for a Waldorf teacher to join us before the 2018 school year begins. Please do let people know about us, as we are also willing to bring short term visiting teachers to strengthen the Waldorf impulse at our school. We continue with our weekly Waldorf study sessions to inspire our work. In August we will be visited by Johannah Birth for three concurrent workshops: One for our network of kindergarten teachers; one for our Kufunda Village School teachers, and one for our parents.
The following are pictures from the kindergarden and pre-school and, on the next page of the primary school to give you a taste of our work and days at Kufunda Village School.
Primary School. From Top Left Clockwise: Vegetables in the new garden; Class threes painting day 4 of the creation story; Children at work in our new classroom; Children sharing their dreams for their school during our school dreaming session; Our young rose bush; Lucia, one of the class 5s leading the older children in making a duty roster in the outdoor classroom; Mukudzei and Mrs Madanire planting the first Moringa tree in the school garden; the herb spiral and new bench created by the children during first term.