My journey began as a student of Integral Yoga at Ananda Kutir Ashrama in 2014. I benefited so much from the teachings and practices of Integral Yoga and felt strongly that these teachings should be extended to children. I believe all children innately have the potential within them to be successful. It is about creating the space to nurture this potential in a loving and caring way.
From 2014 to 2017, whilst working as an Occupational Therapist at a special needs school, a committee was formed to establish an NPO in order to start a school for children from vulnerable homes. The mission of the school is to provide free, holistic and quality education. The first 3 years as a group involved administration, fundraising and conducting a pilot project at Maitland Garden Village. I loved working with children and their families in the community but very soon discovered that this journey required much, much more.
In July 2017, I resigned as I felt that if we were to start a school, this would require full time commitment and effort. The school idea then became an Educare with the focus on children aged 3 to 6 years. With the support from my family, and in the spirit of serving my Guru, I took the leap, and never looked back.
Two words were shared to me by a wise person: ‘commitment’ and ‘dedication’, this is what will be required when working with the children and their families in the communities we have chosen. I hold those words in my heart when I feel overwhelmed. Another sharing given to me on this journey by another wise person: ‘when doing any work, for example, when working with children, administrative or fundraising, this must be done in the same spirit as it is going to benefit the children’. I make every effort to imbibe these words in every task I do.
At COLT Educare, the child is the curriculum. I use every opportunity to remain vigilant in order to discover the light within me and allow that light to extend to the light within the child.
Teacher Nushfeekah Levendal joined COLT in April 2019. Teacher Nush, as she is known at school, is a trained Waldorf kindergarten teacher, who for a number of years ran her own Early Childhood Development centre.
A Rudolf Steiner quote that is very close to her heart is: “Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom”.
Completing her training as a Waldorf teacher, brought about tremendous growth in her, and the quality of her family life. This background has enabled her to understand the children who attend Children of Light and assist them with their challenges with love and compassion so that they too can have a better quality of life.
During her 3 year journey with COLT, she has seen tremendous development in the children. Previously they were not able to sit for even 5 minutes, now they are able to sit, focus, do an activity for 10 to 20 minutes. There is also a lot more caring in the childrens relationships with each other, and with nature.
Yoga principles together with her Waldorf background, Nushfeekah is committed to being a COLT teacher in every sense, and a large part of her focus is to develop a holistic curriculum for the Children of Light Educare. A curriculum that is supportive and sensitive to children with challenges and who have suffered complex trauma.
I was introduced to the Ashram and Children of Light Educare by Guru Krishna of the Siva Alayum Temple. My formal introduction to the Management and Staff at the Educare as well as to Swami Vidyananda, was whilst attending the Staff Integral Yoga Retreat which took place in January 2022 in Tulbagh.
I’m honoured and privileged to be a service provider to the children and team. I will use all my abilities and resources available to me to be the best service provider for the sake of the children.
I thank you
Om Shanti Om Shanti Namaste Vanaakam
The first day at work, I was a bit nervous, I thought I was not going to get along with the staff and children. I am happy to say I get along with them very well.
The children and staff are lovely and so creative. I learnt so much in my first four weeks about what the children like to do and how they react to certain things. I must say that I really enjoy myself at Children of Light Educare, and I am looking forward to working with the staff and children.
Being at COLT Educare, has been an ongoing learning experience for me. I found myself growing in all aspects of life. My dream, this one thing that I’ve been longing for is finally happening. I feel so much joy, and also disbelief…. I knew this is what I wanted to do, but I was a bit sceptical about it. Fears of the unknown, wondering if I would manage financially… all these little voices inside me. With the encouragement I received at work from Teacher Mala and Teacher Nushfeeka who kept saying “just go and register and everything will unfold itself’ and listening to my inner voice saying, “You can do it”, I am now studying towards my Early Childhood Development NQ Level 4.
Well, the journey has been amazing so far. I find myself being more excited to come share & implement what I’m learning with the children. I feel like a light has been lit inside of me and I only wish to maintain that light and pass it on to the children.
What stood out for me so far at College, is the Introduction to the Three Golden Rules:
With these 3 Golden Rules in mind, implemented every day, the journey of nurturing young children will be worthy, always! I am so excited to walk on this journey seeing myself grow and acquiring knowledge that I will pass on to the children. Being at COLT Educare has shaped me and prepared me for this journey, as I’m already familiar with some of the things we are learning.
Volker Rainer Wolf (Swami Vidyananda), Spiritual Head
Mala Makan (Maitri), Managing Trustee
Marchelle Whitebread (Karuna), Treasurer
Kamal Makan (Kavi), Secretariat and Legal Advisor