Pre-School Teacher, Administrator
Paula has four years of preschool teaching experience at Bushken Pre-Primary and has done her diploma in Early Childhood Development. She is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and believes that children learn through exploration and discovery. Paula aims to provide a nurturing environment to help children grow in confidence as their passion for learning increases. Her desire is to equip children to be the best that they can be – to discover their own unique strengths and learning style. We love the kindness and compassion that Paula brings to our team. Next to being our pre-school teacher, Paula also acts as our school administrator.
Gr R-1 Teacher
Nomaxabiso (or Xabsi as she is affectionately known) is our teacher assistant for the junior class (Gr R – 1). She was born and raised in Kenton but spent a few years in Port Elizabeth after school where she completed Level 1-4 in Early Childhood Development and then worked in a Preschool. When she returned to Kenton in 2015 she opened a Preschool near her home. Next to this she opened a soup kitchen that offers aftercare and homework assistance for children who live in her area. Xabsi loves the working dynamics at Bushwillow and that everyone is accepted and given a voice. She is a lady with a big heart and even bigger dreams – it is a privilege to have her on our team.
Gr R-1 Associate Teacher
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.
Jessica van Graan
Grade 2-4 Teacher
Jess’ objective as a co-founder and teacher at Bushwillow School is to integrate her 10 years of teaching experience with the lessons learnt as a home-schooling mom of three.
The more time she spent in traditional schooling, the more she realized that the current teaching approaches has failed many children. Rather than by collaborating with them we so often try to make them fit into a box. She believes that when 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.
Gr 2-4 Associate Teacher, Xhosa Teacher
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 Ekuphumleni 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!
Grade 4-7 Teacher Teacher
Julie joined the Bushwillow team in 2018, after homeschooling her three daughters for five years. Julie studied Genetics at Pretoria University and has completed 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!
Yvonne van Breugel
Natural science and experiential learning coordinator
Yvonne joined Bushwillow in January 2018 as 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.
Jen taught Bushwillow’s intermediate phase class in 2017 and now provides mentoring support to our staff. She is a strong believer of education, creative thinking and kindness. Jen has been teaching for 2006, in 3 different countries, and has found that if learning is fun, learners retain more knowledge. Therefore, she advocates fostering curiosity and excitement about the world around us in the classroom, and encourages teachers to create awareness and to make sure that every child knows, that knowledge, really is power.