Kindergartens at the abyss

Coastal preschools closed for months

09 July 2020 | Education

Swakopmund • [email protected]

Frustration and disappointment is increasing at kindergartens in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

“I am still committed to allowing centers for early childhood development (ECD), including my kindergarten, to reopen,” says Laura Connor, who runs the Swakopmund Montessori kindergarten, adding that the preschool has been closed since March.

“It is becoming increasingly clear worldwide that kindergartens are also system-relevant. Parents who have to work have the right to childcare,” she adds.

For this reason, she has already submitted numerous petitions to the ministry responsible for childcare, but so far without success. However, she is not giving up, because the amended Education Act came into force at the end of June, based on which ECDs now fall under the Ministry of Education.

“It’s a bureaucratic nightmare, but I’m not going to give up,” she says.

Connor says she only opened her kindergarten last year. At the beginning of this year, she had 22 children in her car, but received six withdrawals in the past four months.

“The lockdown has reduced parents’ income and many can no longer afford kindergarten.”

The Swakopmund Georg-Ludwig Kindergarten is in the same boat.

“We will not close our doors,” Eveline Justinussen says, “but our financial reserves have run out.”

It should actually be a festive year, since the kindergarten is celebrating its 110th anniversary.

“We started the year with 87 children, but now only have 55,” Justinussen says. “After the president announced the travel restrictions on Monday, another seven children were immediately withdrawn.”

The Georg Ludwig Kindergarten generated a large part of its income from festivals, cake sales and raffles. However, such initiatives were not possible due to the strict lockdown of the past four months. Despite reducing their fees, the schools fear further withdrawals of children.

“We have reduced our fees, but many parents can no longer afford care,” Justinussen says, asking for donations so that the kindergarten can stay afloat.

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