Jessica van Graan

Foundation Phase Teacher

My objective as a co-founder and teacher at Bushwillow School is to integrate my 10 years of teaching experience with the lessons I have learnt as a home-schooling mom of three.

The more time I spent in traditional schooling, the more I realized that our current teaching approaches have been failing our children, since we are trying to make them fit into a box instead of collaborating with them.

If your children are valued and recognized as co-learners and can have a say in the direction of their own education, you will see children will get excited about learning, feel great empathy for others, develop critical thinking and develop their own brand of creativity.

Julie Williams

Intermediate Phase Teacher

Julie joined the Bushwillow team in 2018, after homeschooling her three daughters for five years. Julie studied Genetics at Pretoria University and is currently completing a course on Integrated Learning Therapy (ILT). ILT specialises in recognising learning difficulties and behavioural problems in children that are not yet learning ready. Through homeschooling her daughters, she realised the importance of nurturing a love for learning. This experience also showed her the importance of teaching each child in the unique way that he or she learns to enable them to reach their full potential. Having grown up on a farm and being very inquisitive herself have made Julie a strong advocate for outdoor and experiential learning; she loves to go out exploring with the children and to find answers together with them where there seem to be none!

Portia Tuwali

Assistant Teacher in the Senior Phase class

Portia teaches Xhosa to all children in the school. She is a mother of two, and the big mother of Bushwillow school, making sure that everyone is secure and loved. She helps to set clear and fair boundaries, is patient, caring, joyful and always goes the extra mile. She is a wonderful cook and loves reading. She is a passionate advocate for education and loves learning new things herself.

Zanele Seteni

Assistant Teacher in the Intermediate Phase class

She is mother to Limokuhle, who is also one of our learners at Bushwillow School. Helping others is Zanele’s passion, especially to help underprivileged kids to reach their full potential. Her work for the local JOT programme shows her dedication for this; twice a week she helps grade 4 learners in the local Ekuphileni township with their homework. Zanele is a hard worker and a go-getter. If she sets her mind to something she does it. She always does her work with a big smile on her face and makes us happy with her beautiful singing!

Yvonne van Breugel

Senior Phase Teacher

From 2018, Yvonne will take over from Jen and will be our Intermediate Phase teacher. Having spent 18 years in higher education and research in the areas of environmental chemistry, climate change studies and environmental biotechnology, she found a new passion for primary school education. She came to realize that one of the most important qualities for our children to have, growing up in an environmentally-, socially- and politically unstable world, is resilience. She believes resilience can be built when encouraging the children’s creativity, empathy and cooperative skills, and guide them in managing their emotions. Furthermore, she is a strong advocate of building children’s basic (science) skills, like critical listening- and reading skills, observation and communication, since this will give all children building blocks to develop their intellect and pursue the highest education. She would like children to see school as a (mostly) adventurous journey that will take them anywhere they wish to go, and that will equip them with the skills and mind-set to make a conscious choice of the journey they want to continue on.

Jenilyn Deyzel

Teacher Training Workshops 
I believe in education, I believe in creative thinking and I believe in kindness. Children learn in such a diverse manner, our teaching techniques need to reflect this; they need to be dynamic and motivate young people to enjoy learning! I always say to the university students that I mentor, that if you are enjoying the class, there is a good chance that the learners are also! I have been teaching for 9 years, in 3 different countries, and what I have found is that if learning is fun, learners retain more knowledge. We need to foster curiosity and excitement about the world around us, as teachers we need to create awareness and to make sure that every child knows, that knowledge, really is power.