Tots progress into Infant-hood at Elshaddai graduation ceremony

Musa Zimunya

WINDHOEK, DEC. 4 – For parents present during Elshaddai Academy’s recent graduation ceremony and prize giving, it was a feeling of accomplishment; for the children who had just graduated, it signaled the transition from being considered a tot, to being labeled an “Infant.”

Principal of Elshaddai, Leonard Mukundi Chikwape took the children down memory lane as he reminded them of the two-year journey they had traveled en route to the present moment.

“It is hard to believe that 2 years ago, you wandered into your Kindergarten school with your first school uniform and a brand new lunch-box in tow. The lunch-box had been carefully prepared by your parents and filled with nutritious food to cater to your health and well-being. The lunch-box may have included a few treats as well; probably to manage separation anxiety,” he reminisced.

Guest of honour Nkrumah Mushelenga congratulates the tots who have made the giant stride into infancy

He added: “They trusted your teacher to care for you and have done so ever since, slowly releasing you to independence and self-determination. And 2 years down the line, you are about to walk through the kinder doors for the last time,” the principal explained.

In a life full of ups and downs, Chikwape told them to expect exactly that going forward, that they should embrace and trust the process that is life.

“You may have fallen several times in form of sickness, inconveniences or parent commitments but today you are more than conquerors – why? Because your parents did not send you to start kindergarten, but instead to finish pre-primary. ‘God Almighty’ is what Elshaddai means. Indeed, we are seeing the hand of the Almighty God at Elshaddai Academy.”

Turning to the parents, he reassured them that Elshaddai Academy was not premised on monetary benefits, but instead focused on giving quality service.

“Elshaddai benefits largely from plough back by parents and children. We are aware that fuel pump price has been skyrocketing throughout the entire 2018 with the latest on 7 November seeing petrol up by 50c and diesel by 70c, which influences prices of basic commodities in a chain reaction.”

“Elshaddai Academy is still aware that taxi fares went up to N$12 from N$10. Against all odds guess what? Our fees will remain as of old (unchanged.)”

Guest of honour Nkrumah Mushelenga congratulates the tots who have made the giant stride into infancy

He did however call on parents to remember timely and consistent payment that would guarantee quality food, teachers remuneration and rentals.

“We encourage parents to interpret PER MONTH as meaning EVERY MONTH because April, August and come December are always challenging for the school. Some parents do not respond during these months because it will be holidays, yet fees are spread out through the year. Fees paid per term are heavier than fees paid per month.”

From 2019 onwards at Pre-school level, only teachers with either a certificate or Diploma in Early Childhood Development (ECD) would be recruited, while at primary level, prospective teachers should be holders of at least a Diploma in Education or better with an emphasis in breakthrough to English Reading, according to Chikwape.

Turning to childhood assistance, he said aftercare/after-school was not a form of babysitting but instead a platform to further education and assist in homework as and explained he was of the belief that teachers are in a better position to do homework than parents at home.

Principal of Elshaddai, Leonard Mukundi Chikwape

“A child was given homework on Alphabet sounds. The parent had not done sounds in the olden days if they did at all, hence the homework could not be done. The effect was one of mistrust, misunderstanding and lack of respect, hence children trust their teachers more than their own parents. In addition, parents come home tired, stressed and geared to rest as opposed to doing homework. Allow Elshaddai Aftercare children to play, watch TV, bath and sleep early, because all work without play makes Jack a dull boy,” he concluded. –