Interview with Kelebogile Ngobelanga
This is an interview with Kelebogile Ngobelanga, one of the preschool teachers who benefitted from the Montessori Training during the last two years. The questions were asked by Christel Lorato Hermann. Kelebogile is on maternity leave until the middle of June.
How do you feel being a mother now? What do you enjoy, what is difficult?
Being a mother is so amazing and exciting because I get to see her grow every day and what I enjoy most is her company and her smile, but the difficult part of motherhood is all the sleepless nights.
You have finished your Montessori Diploma training last year. How has this approach of Montessori influenced your attitude towards children and the bringing up of children?
The Montessori approach has totally changed my attitude towards children and how they can be brought up. I have learned to trust the children that they are their main teachers (what Montessori called the ‘inner teacher’). I myself have to model the behaviour I want to see from the children.
Do you think the African way of bringing up children and the Montessori approach can be reconciled, do they complement each other? If so, how?
The African way of bringing up children is so different from the Montessori approach but I do think it is possible to reconcile the two; it needs teaching, workshops with parents. It’s a long way to go if only parents and society would listen and change. It would be necessary to implement changes from above (Department of Education) but at the same time from the grass root level.
When you finished your Matric, what were your dreams and what did you hope to study?
When I finished my Matric I had two things in mind, becoming a teacher or an accountant. I really wanted to be an accountant in a bank or a big company under finance. Things don’t always go as planned.
How do you feel about having ended up in Montessori education?
I feel very happy and very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to train as a Montessori teacher because Montessori education is not stereotyped and narrowed. I use my skills and knowledge not only in the classroom but in my life and that of my child.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to further my studies and to own a Montessori preschool and to keep on implementing the Montessori method.
Which of the Montessori principles do you find difficult to adhere to and why?
Montessori often speaks about the discipline from within. That I find difficult to implement. Another important part of Montessori education is to be at the level of the child. Sometimes when children take advantage and try to overstep their boundaries, I am tempted to spank them and I find it difficult to be at their level now and then.
Do you think Tsibogang is making a meaningful difference to the children in the Early Learning Centres?
I definitely think it does make a meaningful difference in the Early Learning Centres to use the Montessori approach because children make their experiences in the Montessori environment, they develop skills children in a traditional way of education will not experience.