HISTORY OF FISH HOEK PRE PRIMARY SCHOOL.
In the early 1960’s there were no pre-primary or “nursery schools” in the Fish Hoek valley and a small committee was started to get one going. The committee consisted of Jill Thompson, Edie Nelson, a Mr Cowley and a few other interested parties. Jill Thompson was a pre-school teacher and she needed a school for her son and a job for herself.
After many negotiations with the Education Department and the Department of Health, the school was originally set up on the premises where the current Milkwood Pre-Primary is now. There were problems with the building as it was officially condemned, but eventually, permission was granted to start the first Fish Hoek Pre-Primary school. Jill Thompson was appointed as the teacher and the school was founded under the school committee which was headed by Mrs Edie Nelson as chairman.
The first class consisted of children from 4 to 6 years old and started in the July of 1966. Mrs Thompson held the position for 6 months, then the moved to Port Elizabeth. Mrs Nelson took over from her, with the assistance of a wonderful coloured lady called Helen Williams.
Funds were raised to build the present school in Abington Circle and the grounds were leased to the association by the Municipality for a very nominal rental. A bond was secured through the municipality for the building and the school moved into its present premises in August 1971.
A principal called “Hilary” (surname not recalled) took over from Mrs Nelson who was followed by Mrs Merle Shadford in 1975. Jill Thompson returned some years later as a teacher. Merle Shadford was principal of the school for 17 years until her retirement, when Irene Storey took over the reins. It was at this time when the Education Department started to reduce the pre-primary teaching posts, and offered teachers severance packages. When Irene stepped down as principal, the position was taken over by Janeen Alford, who came in 3 days a week. She was followed by the incumbent Principal, Paula Wickham who took over from Janeen in 2008.
Since 1992, the school has grown from strength to strength, adapting to all the changes demanded of it from the primary schools, education department and the current economic times we live in.
In 1996 it was found that there was a great need for quality aftercare in the valley and Fish Hoek Pre-Primary responded with an in-house aftercare system which started out for a few hours only to the current full day care programme which exists today.
The various School committees have worked very hard with the teaching staff to make the school the success story it is today. The buildings have been adapted and changed with the needs of the children and the garden has been re-landscaped and developed with a huge jungle gym and go-kart track for the wheel toys. A separate area has been sectioned off for the toddler group and added security measures have been taken for the safety of the children. The school boasts an up to date CCTV security camera system and a fingerprint gate entry system for the additional safety of the children and easy access for the parents. It also records the movements of the staff.
Since the first retrenchments began in 1992, the school teaching posts have been replaced with Board of Governor positions. Our last Department Grade R teacher post went at the end of 2014, when the teacher Mrs Irene Atkins took early retirement. All post at the school are now Board of Governor positions.
The school now has 6 classes, ranging from 2 years to 6 years and a staff complement of 23, including the aftercare staff. In our endeavour to keep up with all the best educational trends, we now have an Emotional Literacy and Support teacher who helps with counselling of parents and children as well. We use the Integrated day system in our older classes and we have an Interactive Whiteboard to enable us to access Internet related themes and topics for the children’s general knowledge.