The Importance of Pre-Primary Education for School Readiness
The importance of Pre-Primary Education (Grade-R) for school readiness has occupied educationists for several decades. School readiness is based on the assumption that a child needs to have attained certain maturational milestones before he/she would benefit fully from formal education. (Ames & Ilg ,1968). Such readiness is influenced by cultural, sub-cultural and individual differences in background and educational experience (Ausubel et al, 1978). Anastasi (1982) defines readiness as the attainment of prerequisite skills, knowledge, attitudes, motivations and other appropriate behavioural traits that enable the learner to profit maximally from school instruction. These skills have become the generally accepted assessment criteria used to assess whether a child will benefit to his/ her full potential in the first grade of formal education. Anastasi points out that more and more emphasis needs to be placed on hierarchical development of knowledge and skills, whereby the acquisition of simple concepts equips the child for learning more complex concepts. Mills (1984) believes that it is important for children to have satisfactory, enriched experiences at a very young age in order to develop a positive self-image, which in turn directly affects the child’s ability to learn and fulfil his/her potential in later years.
Pre-school education, in South Africa, is seen perhaps as an expensive provision reserved mainly for children of the more ‘advantaged’ sector of society, which tends to exclude the children who need it most, because of the disadvantaged social, cultural and economic environments from which they come. The environmentally deprived child, without pre-school education, is less likely to be school ready at the age of 6yrs and becomes a higher risk forschool failure in subsequent years. The fact that children born into poor families are significantly more likely to display intellectual under-achievement than their middleclass counterparts, is something that every community wishing to develop its human resources and potentials to the fullest, needs to take cognisance of(Shiverinhart and Koshel 1986; Lee and Ramey 1989).
Motivation for Establishment of Udobo Grade-R School
In an independent study conducted by Denise Guy ( 1989) – who is also a member of MMC – as part of her Masters Degree dissertation in Educational Psychology, she found that children who had attended a pre-primary school were substantially more ‘school ready’ than children who had no pre-primary experience. This is consistent with many other studies done by researchers over the years. Her findings suggest that pre-primary attendance exerts a significant influence on a child’s language, emotional, social and general development. Since the time of her findings, more emphasis has been placed on enhancing a child’s physical and motor development as well.
It is firmly believed that children who are not given the opportunity to receive Pre-primary school education remain at a disadvantage throughout their foundation years of school, since the foundation phase teachers cannot give them the attention they need (due to the size of the classes) to catch up to their peers who have been through a school readiness programme. This naturally is compounded in the remaining years of their school career.
Certainly in South Africa, for any child to be deprived of what has already been decided will be a compulsory year of education by the year 2010, seems to be a gross injustice to the children upon whom the future of this country is to be built. History and experience shows that it is always better to develop a child correctly than to repair an adult.
This is the primary motivation of the focus of Udobo on Grade-R education for those who come from marginalised and disadvantaged communities.
1. Ames,LB and Ilg , FL Evans ED ; Children : Readings in behaviour and Development, 1978
2. Anastasi, A Psychological Testing 5th Edition, MacMillan Publishing Co. 1982.
3. Ausubel DP Educational Psychology : A Cognitive View 2nd edition NY : Holt Rinehart & Winston 1978
4. Guy, D Assessment of School Readiness, 1988
5. Mills BC An Investigation of the Relationship of the Self-Concept and Young Children’s Readiness for school –Early Child development and Care, Vol 14, 1984
UDOBO SCHOOL PROJECT REPORT (updated July 2011)
It has been the Vision of The Udobo ED-U Foundation to develop and utilise the disused “Stables Complex” situated at 82 Montclair Road, Montclair, Durban, for the benefit of the children of low-income families living in the area of Montclair and surrounding suburbs (known as Montwood Park).
To this end the Foundation has established a Grade-R School to provide school readiness education for the children of unemployed or marginally employed parents.
Local socio-economic factors and the demographic profile of these areas confirm that the beneficiaries of this project will be predominantly from formerly disadvantaged communities.
The property to be used by the Udobo School is leased from the Montclair Methodist Church (MMC) under a lease agreement.
The Zulu word “Udobo” means ‘fishing rod’ and was derived from the well known adage of ‘ give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day, teach me to fish and I’ll eat for a life-time ‘. This, together with the ‘ED’ part of the title (which stands for ‘Education’), reflects the primary goal of the Foundation, namely to educate and equip children in preparation for their formal schooling. The ‘ U ‘ part of the name stands for ‘Upliftment’ which emphasises the secondary goal of the Foundation, namely to uplift and give hope to these children in view of the poor and disadvantaged backgrounds from which they come.
International and local research has disclosed that a child who is able to participate in a sound pre-school programme is more likely to perform well at school, is more likely to be gainfully employed, and is less likely to become involved in crime and substance abuse.
3. UDOBO SCHOOL
At the time of opening the school on 19th April 2004, one classrooms, three playrooms, an office, storeroom and toilets had been established. A fully equipped kitchen was established in December 2004 and two additional classrooms were prepared. By the end of 2007, the stable complex had been fully converted to accommodate 100 children. The school exists now (2011) of five classrooms, three storerooms, three toilet areas, three playrooms, five outdoor play areas, two offices and the kitchen.
The school caters for children of unemployed or marginally employed parents from the greater Montwood Park area of Durban. The school functions on a half-day basis during which time the children also receive three nutritious meals a day, which, for many of them, will be the only food they receive.
4.1 BUILDING COSTS
To date, an amount of approximately R275 000 has been expended in the building alterations to establish the classrooms and facilities for the school. The local church (MMC) has made a substantial investment in the Udobo Ed-U Foundation from its own resources for this development, whilst other funding has been acquired through various fund-raising initiatives of the church together with the generosity of the local congregation and generous benefactors.
4.2 ESTABLISHMENT COSTS :
The project is entirely dependent upon sponsorships and donations, both monetary and in kind – for furniture, equipment and the daily running costs of the school.
4.3 OPERATING COSTS :
The operating costs of the school are clearly a function of the number of children enrolled together with the staffing compliment of the school. The 2009 monthly budget stands at R90 000. Therefore, the monthly cost for each child will be ~R900.
5. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL
The Udobo School functions under the overall management of the school Governing Body comprising the Principal, representatives of parents whose children attend the school and members of the local community. Additional members can be co-opted as set out in the Constitution.
As with all non-profit organizations, the Constitution for the school
prescribes the powers and membership of the Governing Body; the rules for convening and conducting meetings; decision-making procedures; frequency of meetings; rules relating to quorums; and the keeping of minutes, specifies qualifications for membership of the Governing Body; procedures for the nomination, election or appointment of office bearers; the functions and responsibilities of office bearers; the duration of these appointments; and procedures for removal from office.
makes provision for the adequate and proper financial control and management of all funds received by the Udobo School, and the payment of all expenses incurred by the school.
6. FUNDING OPTIONS AND THE WAY FORWARD
Whilst there have been many commendable fund-raising efforts that have enabled the project to reach its present stage of development, it is quite apparent that the future viability and sustainability of the Udobo School will be entirely dependent on outside donations and sponsorships.
7. UDOBO ED-U FOUNDATION TRUSTEES (Updated 2008)
Bishop Mike Vorster
Rev Willie Liebenberg (Chairman)
Mr J Jaggard ( Treasurer )
Mrs E Mpepanduku
Mrs Val Jaard (Secretary)
Mr Mark Kirsten
Rev Ansie Liebenberg
Mrs Carol Howard
History of our buildings
In 1947 the Mayor of Durban, “Jacko Jackson” and the renowned race horse trainer, Terry Ryan, purchased the property situated in Montclair in the Southern Suburbs of Durban, developing it into a residential home and a stables complex. Thirty-two horse stables were constructed, as well as several outhouses to accommodate their staff and to store saddles and horse fodder etcetera.
The property changed hands twice in subsequent decades to other racehorse owners, and continued to be used for the stabling of racehorses until the early 1980’s. During the period 1987 to 1993 the property was leased to the General Post Office who used it as a local depot. When the Post Office vacated the premises in 1993, the property became “home” to a group of approximately 50 vagrants.
In June 1995 the Montclair Methodist Church submitted an offer to purchase the property which was accepted. The funds for this venture (R228 000) were raised through the laudable efforts of the members of the church over a period of only nine months.
In subsequent times, the ever increasing plight of the unemployed in the Montwood Park community area and a community survey conducted by the church in 2001 gave rise to the vision to utilise the Stables Complex in a manner which could benefit the needy and underprivileged in the area. The survey, in fact, revealed the existence of a large number of young children in the area, some of whom had no adult supervision during daylight hours, who were unable to attend any pre-school due to the fact that their parents were unemployed or earned very minimal wages.
It was subsequently decided to initiate a project that would establish a Grade-R School (i.e. the pre-primary level of readiness prior to primary school) for these children in the Montwood Park area.
UDOBO SCHOOL CONSTITUTION
The name of the school shall be THE UDOBO SCHOOL.
In this Constitution and related documentation, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed to them hereunder:
“MMC” means the MONTCLAIR METHODIST CHURCH;
“TRUST” means the UDOBO ED-U FOUNDATION, as represented by the TRUSTEES thereof;
“LEADERS” mean the LEADERS of the MMC as elected at the most recent Annual Society Meeting;
“GOVERNING BODY” means the GOVERNING BODY of the UDOBO SCHOOL;
“UDOBO” shall mean the UDOBO SCHOOL.
3. LEGAL IDENTITY:
3.1 UDOBO shall be an independent juristic person with limited liability, it will function under the auspices and policy direction of the TRUST and under the management of a GOVERNING BODY, and it will enjoy an identity and existence distinct from its office-bearers;
3.2 UDOBO shall have perpetual succession, notwithstanding changes in the composition of its office-bearers;
3.3 UDOBO shall be legally competent to employ staff in its own right, to operate financial accounts, to receive funds and donations, and to sue and be sued in its own name;
3.4 The income and property of UDOBO are not distributable to its office-bearers or employees, except as reasonable compensation for services rendered.
4. OBJECTS CLAUSE:
UDOBO is being established to provide school education commencing at Grade R, to children of unemployed or marginally employed parents from the greater Montwood Park area of Durban; provided that the GOVERNING BODY may formulate criteria for special or deserving cases in the school admission protocol for UDOBO.
It is recorded that these activities are classified as “public benefit activities” as envisaged under Part 1 (Annexure B) of the Ninth Schedule to the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 as amended.
UDOBO is hereby empowered to enter into a lease for a portion of the property at 82 Montclair Road, Montclair, Durban.
6. GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT:
UDOBO shall be managed and administered by a GOVERNING BODY, which will function in terms of and subject to this CONSTITUTION.
7. COMPOSITION of the GOVERNING BODY:
7.1 The GOVERNING BODY shall consist of the following members:
7.1.1 the School Principal;
7.1.2 the Resident Minister of MMC;
7.1.3 two (2) parents of school attendees;
7.1.4 three (3) members of MMC;
7.1.5 the Hon. Secretary;
7.1.6 the Hon. Treasurer.
7.2 The members shall elect a Chairman who shall stand as Chair until the re-election of members in January of each year.
7.3 Notwithstanding the provisions of clause 7.1, the GOVERNING BODY shall have the authority to expand its membership on a permanent or an ad hoc basis to accommodate any donors or sponsors or other persons, as it deems advisable.
7.4 Office-bearers appointed vide clause 7.1 have no rights in the property or other assets of UDOBO by virtue of their position as office-bearers.
8. APPOINTMENT TO THE GOVERNING BODY:
In January every year the MMC shall invite nominations for appointment to the GOVERNING BODY in respect of persons qualifying under clauses 7.1.3, 7.1.4 and 7.1.5 above; if the number of nominations received exceeds the number of vacancies on the GOVERNING BODY, then the LEADERS shall decide who the successful candidates will be by ballot.
9. MEETINGS AND RELATED MATTERS:
9.1 ORDINARY MEETINGS:
(a) Ordinary meetings of the GOVERNING BODY for attending to the business of
UDOBO shall be held at least once every three months;
(b) Five members shall form a quorum;
(c) The Chairman shall have the authority to convene Ordinary Meetings via the
9.2 SPECIAL MEETINGS:
(a) Special General Meetings of the GOVERNING BODY shall be
convened for the following purposes:
(i) to recommend amendments or alterations to this CONSTITUTION;
(ii) to recommend the dissolution of the GOVERNING BODY;
(iii) any other matter which is considered to warrant urgent attention by the members of the GOVERNING BODY.
(b) The quorum for a Special General Meeting of the GOVERNING BODY shall be two thirds of the total number of members.
(c) Special General Meetings shall be convened by the Hon. Secretary:
(i) At the instance of the Chairman; or
(ii) upon receiving a requisition signed by not less than 5 members specifying any resolutions proposed or business to be discussed.
(d) Special General Meetings shall be convened by giving members not less than 14 days’ notice.
9.3 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING:
An Annual General Meeting of UDOBO shall be held during the course of the year at a date to be decided upon by the GOVERNING BODY, for the following purposes:
(a) to receive and consider the audited financial statements for the preceding financial year;
(b) to receive and consider the Chairman’s report of the GOVERNING BODY for the preceding year.
9.4 RELATED MATTERS:
(a) The Hon Secretary shall keep Minutes of all meetings.
(b) Decisions concerning proposals that are not adopted on a general consensus basis shall be decided by majority vote of those present by a show of hands.
(c) The Chairman shall have a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes.
10. POWERS DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNING BODY
The powers, duties and functions of the GOVERNING BODY are:
10.1 To be accountable to and furnish regular reports to the TRUST and the LEADERS on progress and activities of UDOBO.
10.2 To exercise efficient and responsible administrative and financial control over UDOBO, including the preparation of budgets and financial statements.
10.3 To participate in the recruitment and selection of staff of UDOBO, other than the School Principal who shall be appointed by the LEADERS.
10.4 To determine the conditions of employment and emoluments of the staff of the school.
10.5 To confirm or reject the appointment or dismissal of any staff.
10.6 To foster and promote appeals for funds, donations, bequests and assistance of all kinds, for the benefit of UDOBO.
10.7 To co-opt any persons to the GOVERNING BODY on a permanent or an ad hoc basis, so as to accommodate any donors or sponsors or other persons, as deemed advisable.
10.8 To ensure that all teaching given at UDOBO is founded on Christian values and principles.
10.9 To consider recommending the removal from office of any member of the GOVERNING BODY who fails to attend 3 consecutive meetings of the GOVERNING BODY without an acceptable explanation, such recommendation to be decided upon by the LEADERS.
10.10 To determine such policies and rules as may be necessary to assist with the efficient and responsible administration and management of UDOBO, such including the formulation of school admission protocols, the selection criteria and associated procedures, and the setting or waiver of nominal school fees.
11. FINANCIAL YEAR:
The financial year of UDOBO shall be deemed to be a 12 month period from 1st January to 31st December each year; provided that the first financial year shall be deemed to operate from the date of adoption of this CONSTITUTION to 31st December of that year.
12. FINANCIAL CONTROLS:
12.1 The GOVERNING BODY shall cause proper books of account to be kept which shall be audited annually.
12.2 A balance sheet and income and expenditure statement shall be prepared annually and presented at the Annual General Meeting.
12.3 An Audit Report must also be presented at the Annual General Meeting.
12.4 A banking transmission account shall be opened in the name of Udobo, and all cheque withdrawals or cheque payments are to be signed by at least two office-bearers, one of whom shall be the Hon. Treasurer, and the other shall be either the School Principal, the Resident Minister, or the Hon. Secretary.
13. REMOVAL FROM OFFICE:
If upon the receipt of any report or allegation against any member of the GOVERNING BODY as to any unseemly, inappropriate or dishonest behavior, the LEADERS shall have the authority to conduct such investigations and enquiries as may be necessary, and to suspend or remove such member from office.
For the purposes of the formation and establishment of UDOBO and the GOVERNING BODY, they shall be deemed to be properly constituted from the date of adoption of this CONSTITUTION, viz. 23rd June 2003 by all persons present at this meeting.
15. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION:
Any amendments to this Constitution may only be made at and by a meeting of the LEADERS.
16. DISSOLUTION OF THE GOVERNING BODY:
16.1 The GOVERNING BODY may be dissolved by a resolution passed at a meeting of the LEADERS.
16.2 After the dissolution of the GOVERNING BODY, it will be legally competent for the LEADERS to re-establish the GOVERNING BODY by inviting nominations for appointment thereto, in accordance with the procedure set out in clause 8 of this Constitution.
16.3 If the LEADERS fail to re-establish a GOVERNING BODY as provided in clause 16.2, it will be obligatory upon them to initiate action and follow procedures as set out in clause 17 for the dissolution of UDOBO.
17. DISSOLUTION OF UDOBO:
17.1 UDOBO may only be dissolved by a resolution passed at a joint meeting of the LEADERS and the TRUST.
17.2 Upon dissolution of UDOBO, and after the payment of all debts and obligations, the disposal of any surplus funds or assets may only be transferred to a Public Benefit Organisation with similar aims and objects, or to an organisation established by law as envisaged in section 10(1)(cA)(i) of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 as amended.
THIS CONSTITUTION IS DULY ADOPTED ON THIS…………DAY OF ……… IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2003, AT A MEETING OF THE LEADERS OF THE MONTCLAIR METHODIST CHURCH:
CHAIRMAN of MEETING: ……………………………………………………………
WITNESS (1): ………………………………………………………………………
WITNESS (2): ……………………………………………………………………