Nostalgic Reflections of Wembley College’s Senior Primary School
Lizet van der Walt is the Head of the Senior Primary School. She nostalgically reflects on teaching at Wembley 23 years ago.
From the first day when the foundations of the school building were dug, we observed the SP Phase in great anticipation. The grounds were quite wild and there were lots of snakes, something the SP boys discovered really quickly. They asked to be dropped off very early before school so that they could catch Olive- and Brown House Snakes and Natal Grass Snakes. These were kept in sleeping bags in my store room and then were taken home in the afternoon. Luckily they left the Night Adders alone!
We often had sleepovers at the school and dam. There was an amazing big tree house close to the old admin block and the boys who wanted to, were allowed to sleep there. They never climbed down in the night because the grounds are very dark and scary in the middle of the night.
The dam sleepovers were very special: we rowed, fished, swam, had long night walks, told stories, and slept in tents and under the lapa. We had endless fun in the pine plantation next to the dam. The teachers took everybody’s flashlights and divided the scholars into a blue and red team. Each team had to wait at the opposite side of the plantation. When they heard the whistle, they had to try and catch members from the other team in the pitch dark and these captives had to be guarded to prevent them from escaping. We heard screams, yells, and adrenaline induced, hysterical laughter. Sleep was out of the question after that, so everybody retreated to their sleeping bags and finished off their snacks.
The choir scholars went on an amazing trip to the Drakensberg Boys Choir where we could observe a practice and their conductors worked with the Wembley choir too. We stayed over on a game farm with the most amazing waterfall where we collected different water insects in labelled bottles. Everything was very educational until one boy discovered amazing mud under his toes and a mud fight of note ensued (boys against girls of course). Everybody had a shower under the waterfall but that night some scholars still had mud in their ears!
General knowledge skills got a lot of attention: any newsworthy articles about things happening anywhere in the world, were put on the bulletin boards. Scholars were often seen reading these. On Fridays the whole school wrote a short General Knowledge test. It was interesting to see that our scholars who sometimes did not do so well in their normal academic assessments, had an excellent general knowledge and could get recognition for that.
One year, when “Hooked on Books” visited the school, a speaker told the SP scholars about a fantastic series of books written for children their age. She told them about the characters in the books and convinced them that they could start their own private library: each scholar just had to buy one book, read it, and swop with their friends afterwards. During break times individual SPs sat reading under trees, in trees and lay on their stomachs on the grass: reading! It was such a welcome sight to any teacher’s eyes.
A marble-playing phase followed and cricket too close to the headmaster’s office: needless to say one innocent cricket ball found its way through a window on to the headmaster’s desk! Nobody got in trouble. The headmaster’s comment was: “Boys will be boys”.
These are such happy memories. Our SP scholars still have the same interests – we eagerly await the future in the SP phase. Let’s continue building memories!