Hawkstone’s Diamond Decade


Picture: Crane Puppet created by Grade 4. Photographer: Éidín Griffin www.mmaep.co.za

This year, Hawkstone School in Karkloof has registered in the WESSA Eco-Schools programme for the tenth year. At the Eco-Schools summit held in Pietermaritzburg recently, educator, Jabu Ngcobo shared the changes which have taken place in their school over the years.

The Midlands Meander Association Education Project (MMAEP) has supported the school since 2004 and Jabu observed that most striking change is the change in learners’ attitude towards the environment and resources. Other educators feel that they have been influenced by the teaching style of MMAEP and that “now, we bring environment into all subjects, even Maths”. Their lessons include games and hands-on practical activities – inspired by co-teaching with the Bugs (MMAEP facilitators). “Over the years, I have realised that learners never forget the information they get from the Bugs. We must all try to teach this way.”

“We wish our learners to be aware of their environment, appreciate nature and do their bit in caring for the Earth.” The learners used to kill birds but now they don’t. They have taken the message home about protecting wildlife resources, especially endangered species like Oribi.

They learned to make hand-washers in 2005, with the late Ms Thenjiwe Ngubane – a champion teacher, and have been using this system effectively ever since to save water and ensure good hygiene. Children do not waste water anymore and some learners have proudly shown the educators watering cans and hand-washers made out of recycled material that they have made at home for their families to use.

Their garden has completely changed to respect the environment – using environmentally friendly methods, making compost, worn-farming, mulching and growing herbs. The school tuck shop only sells healthier fruit and nuts now to reduce the litter.

Jessica Dreamtime Project Co-ordinator for MMAEP, says, “What a privilege to have been a part of Hawkstone Primary School’s productive educational journey for the past 10 years. The teachers are inspiring, dedicated and go the extra mile. They have set a wonderful example of what can be achieved. Go Hawkstone!”

Principal Bheki Lipheyana concludes: “I can’t say in five minutes all what the Bugs are to us – I need an hour or more. A book would be as fat as a bible. You are fantastic.”