Scene 8: A College for Kiddies

Thursday, November 20th
The Cape Town Project Centre worked with Kiddies College Preschool for an Early Childhood Development program in 2013 and established a very good relationship with them. The Energy Team thought Kiddies College may be interested in distributing Wonderbags so we decided to meet with them and share our ideas. The original plan for the day was for Alex and Jing to go to Kiddies College Preschool and for Rachel and Tati to present our project to the Low Income Energy Service Task Team. However on Wednesday night Cindy, or sponsor, sent us an email informing us the Task Team meeting was moved to December 4th. Although this was disappointing, it allowed the entire Energy Team to visit Kiddies College. There was little planning that needed to be done for this crèche visit, as the previous days had prepared us. Despite this we still reviewed what would be said and what we could offer the preschool.
Cast of Characters
Miss May is the preschool owner. She worked with last year’s WPI project team.

Mrs. Robinson is a preschool leader at Kiddies College.
Kiddies College Preschool is a sizable preschool located in Observatory. It occupies the bottom floor of a large community center. The building is well maintained and has hand painted story murals in the classrooms. There are two large play areas for the 123 students, both with a large number of playground structures.

Kiddies college

Inside Kiddies Crèche

The visit to the crèche started very well. Mrs. Robinson greeted us as soon as we arrived and introduced ourselves. Just before we started to describe our project, Miss May arrived and enthusiastically greeted us. When we asked about the Wonderbags, Mrs. Robinson shared that the preschool had recently received training on how to use the Wonderbag as a larger energy savings program. This was a great surprise and a relief because she knew the benefits of the Wonderbag, and could explain the idea of the product to Miss May. Although they expressed some reservations about the timing of the project, they were very willing to participate in the Pilot Program as they were excited about the savings the Wonderbag provided. We were invited to present the Wonderbag at the graduation ceremony on the 9th and 10th of December to advertise the Wonderbags to the parents attending the event. Due to our time constraints, we asked if it would be possible to begin the Pilot Program before this. They agreed to begin the program as soon as next Monday. All of us were thrilled to begin a business together and started to share our stories about the Cape Town Project Centre. Through our discussion we were able to open up to them and really connect with Miss May and Mrs. Robinson.

Mrs. Robinson gave us a tour of the building, showing us various classrooms and explained how the school was run. We were also able to meet Miss May’s mother, Mama, who cooks for the children. She needed help moving the pot off the stove to one of the classrooms, which Alex helped her with.  The pot the preschool used to cook for the children was too large for a medium sized Wonderbag, however, it could fit in the catering Wonderbag. We told Mrs. Robinson about the catering Wonderbag and she was very interested in getting one for the crèche. The tour ended after we played with some of the students outside. The image below shows the Jing, Tati, and Rachel with Mrs. Robinson.

Group at kiddies college

Jing, Tati, Rachel, and Mrs. Robinson

Reflection and Learning
Today was a big step forward in our project. We were able to confirm with a crèche to participate in our Pilot Program. Their commitment was reassuring for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it showed the potential this distribution system has and that it is appealing to the crèches. This visit also provided us with a lot of insight as to how well the crèche leaders know the parents. To our surprise, parents do not necessarily pick up their kids every day; there is also bus transportation that is arranged for pickup and drop off. This is a minor challenge that we want to evaluate and find a method of advertising to reach those parents that cannot pick up and drop off their kids. The close relationship the crèche leaders have with the parents was also surprising to us. As we spoke, the two women seemed to have an idea already of who would like to buy a Wonderbag. This parent-teacher relationship is one we hoped would already be formed to facilitate sales. Overall, the partnership with Kiddies College was an ideal one with a lot of potential for success. The Energy Team is looking forward to next week when we will be able to begin the Pilot Program at Kiddies College Preschool.

Contine to Act 3: Establishing Pilot Programs