After starting a play group in 1984 for her own children and a few friends’ children at her Constantia home, Mary Norton, was inundated with requests to allow their children to participate.
Realising the need for this intervention, Ms Norton founded Constantia Pre-School and 20 years ago moved onto the property at the end of the cul-de-sac of Midhurst Way.
Ms Norton rents the property, which she says comprises three erven, from the City of Cape Town. She has registered a planning application to consolidate the three erven and rezone the land from Utility Zone to Community Zone 1 which allows for the establishment of a creche. Ms Norton says nothing will change and that the application is a mere formality within different departments of the City.
In her motivation, Ms Norton says the 70-year-old property was in a total state of disrepair, having previously been occupied and vandalised by vagrants. She and her team of workers completely revamped the building by replacing plumbing, flooring, windows, electrical, kitchen and bathroom facilities, fencing, gates and driveways, painting, developing layout of gardens fit for children to play in, security and more at her own expense.
Ms Norton says the demand for pre-school education has grown significantly since her humble beginnings. “More women are going out to work. Some are lucky to get three months maternity leave but we are finding that we take more younger children,” she says.
They currently cater for 117 children from Mouille Point and Rondebosch to Phillipi, Capricorn and Lakeside. The pre-school education is curriculum based on a combination of the Montessori method and includes full day care, holiday care and Grade R.
Constantia Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association manager John Hessom said there was a lot of interest in this application from neighbours who had contacted them.
“Our land use sub-committee will consider (the application) at its monthly meeting on Friday February 8,” he says.
Comments and objections can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday February 18.