Orientation day eases grade 1s into ‘big school’

SCHOOL IS COOL: Cassidy Bhana, left, and her new friend, Ziah April, both 6, get their first taste of ‘big school’ at Erica Girls’ Primary in Port Elizabeth. Grade 1s across the Bay attended orientation yesterday before the official start of the new school year today
SCHOOL IS COOL: Cassidy Bhana, left, and her new friend, Ziah April, both 6, get their first taste of ‘big school’ at Erica Girls’ Primary in Port Elizabeth. Grade 1s across the Bay attended orientation yesterday before the official start of the new school year today
Image: WERNER HILLS

The class of 2032 will spawn a host of wannabe-teachers and doctors, and an aspirant  chef if grade 1 pupils stay true to their dreams.

From a ballet teacher to the more traditional types of teachers, grade 1s were adamant reading was the skill they most wanted to learn and teaching was the preferred profession. 

With few tears and loads of excitement, grade 1 pupils from across the city bravely stepped into big school for the first time on  orientation day yesterday. 

While schools officially kick off the academic year today, most schools in Nelson Mandela Bay had an orientation day for the grade 1s to ease the transition from preprimary to primary school.

Sporting their best smiles and looking spiffy in their first uniforms, the little ones — with cute pigtails or short-back-and-sides — were introduced to their class teachers and shown around their schools.

Erica Primary grade 1 pupil Sarah-Lee du Plessis, 6, said she was looking forward to learning more about butterflies, adding that when she grew up she wanted to be a ballet teacher.

“I know how to read a few words, but this year I want to learn how to read a book,” Sarah-Lee said.

“I also have many friends that I know from grade R — some of them are in the other grade 1 class.”

Her father, Sherwin, said his daughter had gone to sleep early on Monday night in anticipation of her first day at  school.

“Since December, she has been excited about going to grade 1 — it has been an absolute pleasure preparing her for big school.”

At Clarendon Park Primary, Ene Mosweu, 6, said she loved her new teacher and was looking forward to the year ahead.

“I’m enjoying my first day.

“Mrs [Sandy] Murray is very friendly,” she said as she coloured in a picture of a donkey.

“I have one friend already — we went to the same preschool.

“We went to the beach at our [old] school,” Ene said cheerfully, adding that even though they would probably not go to the beach at Clarendon Park, her parents would take her on weekends.

Murray, who teaches a class of 29 grade 1s, said the school had five grade 1 classes.

“On Wednesday [today] we will start easing them into what we call a baseline assessment to see where they are in terms of capabilities.

“We will then slowly introduce them to school work and rules, because there is a lot that they do not know about.

“This is just to get them used to formal schooling,” she said.

Murray said it took at least three weeks for the little ones to settle into the new learning structure, adding that all the pupils seemed happy to be in class.

At Victoria Park Grey Primary School all the grade 1s quietly settled into their classrooms, listening to various stories.

Zenathi Mpondo, 6, said shyly that she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up and wanted to help people.

She said she was excited to be at school.

“I am excited to be in my new class and make new friends,” she said.

It was also a first day for grade 1 teacher Sandy Lincey, who said she had moved up to teaching grade 1s this year.

“I’ve been teaching grade R for 10 years and now I’m teaching grade 1.

“It’s a good change,” she said.

“The nice part about it is that I know most of them from grade R, so they are already comfortable.

“I know where they come from and, hopefully, I will know where they are going to.”

The school would also start its baseline assessments today.

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