The Bulungula Incubator is very proud of the recognition given to 2 of the Jujurha Preschool staff. Funeka Jija, the principal, and Xolisa Dayimani, the ECD facilitator of the 3-4 year olds, were finalists in the national Stars in Education Awards. The citation reads:

 The Stars in Education Awards recognize the central role teachers play in impacting their communities. The award goes to an outstanding teacher making a difference through a project outside the classroom.

Funeka (pictured left) facilitates community workshops, usually on Saturdays, on such topics as ‘Keeping your family healthy’, ‘You are your child’s first teacher’ and others, teaching parents/caregivers how to talk to their preschool children about what they have done at school that day and also how to enjoy library books together, even if the adult cannot read. She also assists with the setting up of the parent committees which support the new preschools in our neighbouring villages of Mgojweni and Folokhwe. Funeka says:”The greater the parents’ involvement in their children’s education, at all levels, the greater the benefit to all.”

Parents and caregivers show off the books and toys made at the workshop which emhasized the importanr role parents play in stimulating their children right from birth

Xolisa plays a vital role in the running of the 2 new preschools which have been established this year. She mentors the new and inexperienced teachers and she assists with the initial organisation of the new preschools, ordering  furniture and some of the teaching materials they will need in their classrooms and for their nutrition programmes. Once the preschool is ready to be opened, she spends 3 or 4 days with the new practitioners, setting up their classrooms in the renovated rondavels.

During the 1st week of operation, she visits and assists in the classrooms and the kitchen and after that she visits regularly to ensure that the teaching programme is going well and suggesting ideas. “I realise that I have gained wonderful experience as an ECD facilitator at Jujurha Preschool and I can share this experience and pass on my knowledge to new facilitators,” she says.

Xolisa addresses the community at the opening of Khanyisa Preschool

As 2 of the 20 finalists, Funeka and Xolisa, accompanied by Lindiwe, the BI Education Programmes Manager, attended the awards ceremony in Johannesburg on World Teachers’ Day. There they received an  ‘Acknowledgement of Excellent Performance’ certificate from the SA Council of Educators and a ‘Finalist – Star in Education’ certificate as well as prizes from the sponsors. The awards not only reward excellence and effort but motivate teachers to go the extra mile in the vital role they play, particularly in rural areas such as ours. The BI is fortunate in the calibre, not only of these 2 ‘Stars’ but of its whole team.