Pikkieland crèche teachers had help from Liceo d’Europa e d’Arconate pupils, all the way from Italy, for two weeks.
The high school pupils came to Cape Town on a cultural exchange programme and one of their goals was to interact with people of all ages, including the Grade R pupils at the Zonneblom crèche.
“They are volunteering their services, they have assisted the teachers with the kids, they have donated stationery and you can see they love playing with the kids,” said Mariaan Pretorius, the principal at Pikkieland.
“I believe they have learnt about our kids, our culture, and getting around the language barrier. It was really a pleasure to have them here,” she added.
The Pikkieland teachers, Chandré Brukman and Robyn Noble, say it was fun having high school pupils to assist them with activities.
“They did not speak much to me but they did speak to the kids and learnt how to communicate with them. I could hear them asking for clarification about things the kids were saying and it was fun to have them here,” said Ms Noble, a grade R teacher.
“The first few days were a little awkward because of the language barrier, but they managed to assist us or rather the kids with tasks like cutting with a scissors. They were very helpful with the kids and we enjoyed their company,” said Ms Brukman.
Giuliana Lanfranchi, a kindergarten teacher in Italy, arranged the trip for the d’Arconate pupils and said they are all sad to leave Cape Town.
“They are here to improve their English with the Good Hope studies centre, to communicate with the people we meet here and at Pikkieland they are learning about the children. It’s been an educational trip for these students and their parents want to visit South Africa as well,” said Ms Lanfranchi.
“It was really fun to play with the children. We made cupcakes for them and I must say we love the kids and the teachers,” said Valentina Bianco, 17.
“I’m sad that this is our last day as we have loved this experience, the kids were so much fun and we will miss them,” said Denise Garavaglia, 17.
“This was an incredible experience. The kids like to dance and play and everyone is so friendly, I will tell all my friends to visit this place,” said Luca Tempella, 18.
“It was really interesting to work with the children and to experience the South African culture, it was an amazing experience,” said Lorenzo Cilla, 17.
“I really enjoyed this, the kids give you energy and I can’t explain it, they always showing us love,” said Davide Quoti, 16.
Mary Pagano, the English teacher from d’Arconate, said that although the formal education was important, the historical and cultural education improved the students’ perspective of South Africa.
“Besides improving their communication skills, learning about District Six history was eye opening for us, the students now have a better appreciation for what has happened. Being in contact with the children and teachers at Pikkieland was an enjoyable experience and they experienced the culture of Africans. It was an amazing experience,” said Ms Pagano.