Okongo Community Opens Kindergarten and Pre-Primary School
The beginning of the year 2018 marked a milestone not only for the Okongo Community, but for the whole town as well. Since the Sisters arrived almost a year ago at the newly established mission, townsfolk have been eager for the opening of a Catholic learning center. Finally, on January 10, the All Saints Kindergarten and Pre-primary School opened its doors to welcome its first group of learners. Fifty boys and girls aged four to six, eager to begin classes, were accompanied by their parents and guardians. The community of sisters came in full-force to welcome them and gave them a taste of Benedictine hospitality.
At its inception, the school was envisioned as “a child friendly home to develop the strong desire within the children to be active participants in life-long learning.” The school aims to help its learners “enter their educational journey enthusiastically, preparing them for their future life by answering their holistic needs and support them to become fully developed Christians”. Over and above basics like Reading, Writing and Math, values like love, respect, caring and understanding are emphasized in daily activities and lessons. Sr. Hildegard Kandjimbi OSB, who has a Certificate in Early Childhood Development, heads the school. Two teachers have also been hired, one for each class in Kindergarten and Pre-primary.
BECOSA Meeting Participants with the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells.
Opening week was not without its usual problems. Many persistent parents whose children were wait-listed continued to insist on having their child accepted into a class. However, the Sisters’ Community was firm in keeping the number at 25 learners per class to maintain the quality of instruction and care for each child.
Every morning, one or two Sisters would come by to welcome the children into their classrooms. They also take turns to supervise the fetching during dismissal. So far, it has been a community effort. There are plans to organize the parents that they may also come up with a Parent’s association.
Although there are a handful of kindergarten and day care centers in Okongo, All Saints Kindergarten is the first learning center run by a Catholic institution. It is also the first Pre-primary school to be registered under the Ministry of Education, Arts & Culture. The speedy approval of the registration was made possible with the help of some parents and the Okongo Village Council.