During this time of the year both parents and learners feel the pressure of assessments, end of year functions and getting ready for the "Festive Season". For the Grade 7 learners and parents however, there is the added stress of moving from the relatively protected environment of the primary school to a new adventure in high school.
This was the setting for the Grade 7 learners and their parents at the Funda UJabule Primary School, a teacher education and research school of the Faculty of Education of the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On Tuesday 05 December 2017, in Pimville, Soweto, the Grade 7 class celebrated their valedictory service, dressed for the last time in their school colours.
The event was a celebration of the hard work over the course of the primary school years as well as a touching farewell to the first cohort of Grade 7 learners in this very special school – these were the same learners who had entered Grade R in 2010 in South Africa's first ever "teaching school".
The school is a partnership between the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and UJ. In addition to serving the children of Soweto, Funda UJabule serves as training site for teacher education students at the university. It is also the site of unique longitudinal research on child development and learning and the site of community engagement projects related to care and education in childhood.
Mrs Charis Allison, a lecturer in the Department of Childhood Education, who organised the special event, said that she was happy that this special day had finally came. Staff from UJ and the school gave many inspiring messages to the learners.
"As you moved from grade to grade, you acquired knowledge in all your subject areas. Along with your teachers and classmates, you developed those core competencies that have been at the forefront of the new curriculum these last years: communication, creative and critical thinking, personal and social domains," said Mrs Allison to the learners.
"I encourage you to have a strong work ethic when you embark on this new chapter of your educational journey. The transition to high school is not an easy one, but with a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a supportive network, you will be able to face challenges as they come your way. Just take one day at a time and ask for help when you need it. You're not alone," added the school principal Mrs Maboya.
"It doesn't matter what their ambitions are or what they want to become later on in life. I believe that FUJS has given them a solid foundation and they are going to prove that they have the ability and talent to become who they want to be. Funda UJabule wishes them all the best and hopes to see them back at UJ, this time as university students in 2023", was the message from the dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof Sarah Gravett.