We organize our classes into the following three broad age groups:
We do not only take the children’s age into consideration when allocating them to a class, but we also look at their readiness and what will suit them best. We always have the children’s best interests at heart and from time to time we will meet with parents to discussing moving a child to a different age group should that make sense.
It should also be noted that there is some fluidity between the classes with some activities being done together, for instance Wednesday snack time all of the children snack together. We believe that allowing the ages to mix with each other in supervised sessions builds a feeling of caring and ‘family’ between them all and allows them to learn from each other. Additionally, we do split the children into groups by age for their school readiness work which is tailored by age.
The class size depends on the age group, our Starfish class has a maximum of 8 babies to 2 teachers, the Penguins has a maximum of 14 children to 2 teachers and the dolphins has a maximum of 18 children to 2 teachers.
All of our staff have a minimum of level N4 ECD qualifications and Dolphins teachers and assistants have a minimum of N5 ECD qualifications. Our staff are carefully selected, and all come with years of experience and good references as well as their academic qualifications. All staff attend First Aid training annually and we encourage and facilitate further training in the ECD field.
We have learned that what children eat is a very personal preference and we believe that this should be determined by the parents. As such we do not provide meals and ask that our parents pack in a nutritious snack for 10am snack time, lunch if children are staying for the afternoon and a further small snack for 2pm snack time. We also ask that all children bring their own water bottle and of course for babies still on milk parents should pack in powder or breast milk. We do have fridges and microwaves and staff can warm up food.
Our starfish babies sleep in the morning at about 9.30am and again after lunch at about 1pm once they have adjusted to the school routine, however we do put babies down to sleep if they appear tired before these times. Starfish sleep in travel cots which are in their classroom.
Penguins and Dolphins tend not to nap in the morning but they all have a nap from 1pm to 2pm if they are staying for the afternoon. Some of the younger penguins do still need a morning nap and if teachers observe that they are tired they will put them down for a nap during the morning.
All parents are asked to send in a blanket and pillow which they should take home and wash each week.
At Twinkles playschool we require all children to have had the government scheduled vaccinations.
Our policy states that no child should be sent to school if they have a fever above 37.5C, if they have vomited or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours and if they are coughing up or sneezing green mucus. Should teachers determine that a child is too ill to be at school they will call parents to collect. If children have normal sniffles and coughs with clear mucus, they can still attend school although teachers will call parents if they feel the child is miserable and would benefit from resting at home.
During the morning we follow a structured daily routine oriented around whatever the weekly theme is. The idea of our morning school is to facilitate all around, age appropriate development of the children from a social, physical and academic perspective whilst ensuring children are happy, having fun and not feeling pressured. The routine includes arts and crafts, ring time, music and dance, outdoor play and for the older children school readiness classes.
The afternoons consist of more free play both indoors and outdoors. Teachers do organize fun games and activities, but children have more freedom to move between these activities and play with each other.
There are several optional extra-curricular activities provided at Twinkles Playschool. These are privately run on our premises and parents pay the service providers directly for the activities. During the ECA time slot teachers organize other fun activities for children who are not signed up.
Our current ECAs are:
Twinkles playschool is the first playschool in South Africa to have an intergenerational programme as part of our school curriculum. There have been many studies conducted worldwide into the benefits of intergenerational interactions between young children and elderly adults. There is no doubt that, in todays society, many children are spending the majority of their time with their peers and being cared for by paid professionals. With the increase in dual working parents, living arrangements being such that grandparents and extended family are often located far away, this means many children have little to no exposure to elderly and/or frail people. In addition, many elderly people are now being cared for in retirement facilities where they have little to no exposure to younger people. Through planned and facilitated intergenerational interactions both the young and old can benefit from being brought together.
Our schools are collocated on retirement villages and, whilst our facilities are independent and separated from the retirement facility, Twinkles children spend three 30-minute sessions per week in joint occupational therapy with the retirement facility residents. These sessions teach the children to have empathy for the elderly and they lighten the day for the elderly residents. The sessions are facilitated by our teachers in partnership with the retirement facility therapists and carers. We have witnessed the magic of these interactions and we have experienced the impact on our children’s kindness and general behavoiur.
Twinkles playschool places a strong emphasis on the safety and security of our children. The following safety procedures are in place:
We run holiday programmes in all school holidays except for two weeks in December when we close. Parents can utilize holiday club on an ad hoc basis or can sign up for a package which includes holiday school. Holiday club is open to friends and relatives as well.
School starts at 8:30am although drop off is permitted from 07:00am. Our morning session ends at 12:30pm. Our Rondebosch school closes at 4:30pm and Plumstead closes at 5:30pm.
Our teachers will only release a child to a name individual who the child’s parents have authorized for collection. A list of authorized collectors per child is hanging next to the security camera and teachers will check before they open.
Yes, we do potty train children in the Penguins class but only when they are showing signs of readiness. Potty training will be discussed and agreed with parents so that the school and parents can work together and consistently. We do not believe in rushing children, so the time of potty training is very much driven by each child.
Twinkles Playschool is a very happy school and we have experienced that a predictable routine, with age appropriate class sizes, and well qualified and kind teachers, results in very few problems related to ‘bad’ behaviour. When children go through phases of not listening, or not being nice to their friends, teachers will explain why this is a problem and how it makes people feel. If the behaviour persists the child will be asked to sit on the thinking cushion until they are ready to change their behaviour. Most of the time this works, and problems are quickly resolved. If we experience a repeated issue we may ‘remove’ the child from the group for a longer period and have them stay with one teacher and not integrate to their group for a while. This again generally resolves any issues.
We will always communicate with parents around any behavioural challenges and if on the rare occasion a child is showing repeated anti-social behaviour, we will meet with the parents to agree a joint approach to resolving the issue in a consistent way. We work hand in hand with you as the parents and we believe it is of utmost importance that we take a consistent approach to any challenges.