Watoto Pre-School: Nurturing Children’s Strengths, Dreams & Aspirations
Story & Photos:Taibah Khan
This event celebrated the official opening of the new Watoto Pre- School centre by the boxer Johnny Nelson.
The Pre-School, situated on Catherine Road, is named ‘Watoto’ after an African word meaning ‘All children.’ Sharon Brown, the manager, and her colleagues said they wanted to choose a name which incorporated the diversity of the local community and welcomed everyone. The children who currently attend the oversubscribed pre-school are from different ethnicities, as are the staff.
When I entered the pre-school, I was given a tour of the centre by Janette Brown, a committee member, who showed me all the excellent facilities which include a baby area, a 2-to-3 year olds’ area (where it was currently nap time), the 3-year-and-above area, where the children were tidying up, and also the herb garden where the children had been gardening. This led on to the spacious playground with everything a child could want to have fun!
The official opening ceremony included a welcome song by the children from the Pre-school. Then Dorothy Wilson, the chair of the Black Women’s Resource Centre, talked about how the idea of the Pre-school came about and how the whole group had “come a long way”.
Brian Taylor of the CYPD said “love, care and determination has come together to create this centre.”
A speech from Johnny Nelson highlighted the importance of education and especially how pre-school education “makes a difference in a child’s life.” After this he unveiled the plaque with Sharon Brown.
During the opening event I met Norma Euter, a parent who has been involved with the Pre-school from the start. She said that over the years she has been “really impressed and happy with the service she received from the Pre-school staff”. She also said, “My son Anthony has had a positive foundation to start his school career.” The staff at the Pre-school run a transition scheme ensuring that the children who leave the Pre-school then enter full-time school with the best possible start.
Norma’s daughters both attend the Preschool now and she is really happy with the help the Pre-school provides her youngest, Josephine, who has Down’s Syndrome. “The staff respond to Josephine’s development needs to complement what I do at home,” said Norma.
The Pre-School has some great facilities backed up by a great team, if you are interested in sending your child to the Watoto Pre-School or in any volunteering opportunities contact Sharon Brown on 275 1817.