Lemoenland Pre-School

Education is one of the greatest needs for young children in South Africa. Educational provision is extremely patchy: excellent in some of the cities, very poor in others. 

Until recently formal schooling was only enforced from 7 years old. Now each child is also required to have a year of pre-primary education (Grade R) for six year olds. 

But even this is not ideal.  In rural areas, it means that some children from poorer backgrounds don’t get a great start in life. By 6-7 years old, they are already behind, and it’s very difficult to catch up. 

Many years ago, a local pre-primary school was set up by the owners of Cederberg Ridge. They saw that farmworker’s children were missing out on pre-primary schooling. 

The school, which is on the same farm as the lodge, has two classrooms, two qualified teachers and two teacher’s assistants. In addition, there is a playground under shaded trees and a small garden. 

One class is the official Grade R class and the other class caters for the 4 and 5 year old children. 

Every year there are about 50 to 60 children as they try to keep each class to a maximum of 30 children. After 2-3 years at Lemoenland Pre School, the children start Grade 1 at school with a sound basis for further learning.

In order to cater for such a widespread rural community, the school has a school bus and a second vehicle to collect all the children from surrounding farms. 

A new development in the last few years is that the school now provides breakfast for the children, as well as a late morning meal. This is very helpful as some of them come to school without having had a proper meal and only something to eat in the evenings. Some of the local farmers have contributed food to help with this provision of meals.

With the opening of Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodges in Oct 2018, the lodges committed an amount per guest that gets allocated towards the school. These funds currently cover the salary for the second teachers assistant. The hope is as the fund grows we can assist with more projects. 

This little school , surrounded by orange orchids , contributes massively to the community and helps give these hope filled children a head start going to grade 1. 

Long may it continue.