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Learning To Look Forward – BMW Life

With their parents seeking work away from home, many children growing up in Soshanguve – just north of Pretoria – are being raised by retired grandparents surviving on a pension. When there are no grandparents to step in, the responsibility falls on the eldest child to raise their younger siblings. Their present doesn’t give them much to be optimistic about, but at a progressive primary school called Ntsha-Peu, Head Mary Phadi has a plan. Together with her staff of teachers, she’s working hard to prepare and enable learners for a life that’s not dependent on anyone else. When so much in their young lives is out of their control, a big focus of the school is teaching learners the skills with which to become independent adults who can actively change their circumstances. “They must be able to be responsible for their own lives,” Mrs Phadi says. “We teach them to be active participants in their own futures. What we teach them is for life, not just for while they are in school.” 

Every day Mrs Phadi reminds her teachers that within the school environment, they are parental figures for the children – many of whom have no parents at home – so everything they do is done with love. “They must communicate with love and they must instil trust in the learners to create a child who has responsibility, who can live with honesty and respect for other people,” she says. 

What we teach them is for life, not just for while they are in school.

– Head of Ntsha-Peu Primary, Mary Phadi 

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