Thuthukani Preschool is an Early Intervention Centre, and Partial Care Facility, that accepts learners with special educational needs.  Children with Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Epilepsy or any other significant developmental delays or disorders are catered for. Unfortunately there is no other affordable school in our area that caters for the needs of these learners, and therefore Thuthukani Preschool was ‘born’ as a Mission project of the Mission of Lutheran Churches and the St. John’s Lutheran Parish in Shelly Beach.

Lene Schnackenberg opened the doors of Thuthukani Preschool in her home on the 1st of September 2014.

Thuthukani Preschool provides a structured, well planned, Christian environment, on the premises of the St. John’s Lutheran Church, in the Manse,  where learners are given optimal opportunities to develop physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually to their full potential.  Due to the high educator to learner ratio both the learners and educators are fully involved with the educational activities. Within limits, the children are free to select and explore learning activities at their own pace and according to their own interests and abilities.

Unfortunately we are running out of space, as there are no more bedrooms in the house available to transform into classrooms…but luckily – The Lord has heard our prayers and answers them in ways that are much better than our own ideas and answers could ever be…

The couple Hanlie and Kingsley du Plessis had a 17 year old daughter, Megan, with Special Needs.  She sadly passed away in 2016.  After 1 year of mourning they are now ready to pursue a project they have had in mind for some time.  They own a farm in Marina Beach, Bushy Vales, with a big shed on it, which they would like to transform into a Special Needs Centre, especially for older children.  Lene approached them and asked if Thuthukani Preschool could ‘join’ their project – and they approved!

So we are in the process of developing and opening ‘Megan du Plessis Special Needs Centre’, in remembrance of Megan and to the glory of God, in 2018.  This new Centre will be the Happy Place for many and our joy, expertise and passion will continue as it has in the past at Thuthukani Preschool.
Many renovations and alterations need to be done, and are being done at the shed and the Senior Sections of the Centre needs to be designed and developed.

As a Partial Care Facility we are not bound down to a specific Daily Routine with a specific curriculum.  To ensure optimal learning and development however the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) from the Department of Education will be used as a foundation to all learning activities.
The curriculum will be adapted to meet the needs and circumstances of the learners.  The preschool curriculum is based on themes selected by the educators. The Daily Routine for the older learners includes many activities that form the foundation of life skills.  These include arts and crafts, home industry and maintenance, community and environmental projects, gardening, computer skills, basic hygiene and safety.

A trans-disciplinary team, including the educators and facilitators, speech and occupational therapists and a counselling psychologist work closely together to ensure development for each individual learner.

Learners are assessed on a continual basis according to observations, parent-interviews, assessments, portfolios, learners’ behaviour and development. Detailed written reports are distributed in June and December.

Thuthukani Preschool accepts learners from 3 years old to the age of about 14 years, and once our Senior Section is up and running we will accept learners from the age of 14 to 30.  The teacher to learner ratio of 1:5 ensures good individual attention. If we have 8 learners per group an assistant will join the group.  The learners we accept need to be teachable.  We are unable to accommodate learners who need total one-on-one care in order to cope with the daily routine or who are completely unable to help themselves in any situation.


Free play

Timetable for Grade R and Grade 1

Download the weekly timetable

Thuthukani Preschool is an Early Intervention Centre and Partial Care Facility that accepts learners with Special Educational Needs.

Children with Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Epilepsy or any other significant developmental delays or disorders are catered for.





7:00 – 8:00
Free Play
Indoor & Outdoor Play
Toilet Routine
Brush Teeth
Morning Ring
Bible Story
Days of the week
Months of the year
Speech Therapy
PE / OT Ring
Gross Motor Activities
Clever Work
 Fine Motor Activities
Snack Time
10:00 – 11:30
Free Play
Indoor & Outdoor Play
Toilet Routine
Music Ring
Home Time
Snack Time for Aftercare Children
12:00 – 16:00


We accept learners from 3 - 12 year olds and when the Senior Section is up and running we will accept learners up to the age of 30, subject to availability.

Each individual learner will be given an observation period  of two weeks to determine if this environment is definitely beneficial for the learner. If however, during the course of the learner’s attendance at Thuthukani Preschool it becomes clear that this environment is not beneficial for the learner, the parents will be notified, advised and together with the interdisciplinary team a solution will be looked for and hopefully found.


A maximum of 8 learners will be accepted in a class, with a teacher and an assistant.


We thank the LORD for all His kindness and generosity, for our wonderful   school, for our happy place! We ask the LORD to bless Thuthukani Preschool.  Bless the therapists, teachers, parents and learners and we ask that each child may grow according to his or her ability.

  • We ask the LORD that he will guide and assist us teachers to do our job well. To give us kindness and patience to help the learners grow according to His will.
  • We THANK the Lord for the wonderful new premises and the wonderful opportunity of starting a Senior Section.
  • We ask the Lord for the development of the new premises and the development of the Senior Section, that everything will be done according to His will, His time. That we receive enough help and support so that we can create an environment to meet the learner’s needs.
  • A prayer for parents…Dear Lord, heavenly Father, You have blessed us with the joy and care of children, with this joy comes anxiety, exhaustion and pain.  I ask you for calm strength and patient wisdom to deal with each situation in a way that is according to Your will.  I thank you for the blessings You have bestowed upon me, to whom You have entrusted the care of my very special child. Forgive my shortcomings and failures as parents and grant me Your grace that I might faithfully bring up my child in Your nurture and instruction with love and kindness.  Send Your holy angel to watch over my dear child and protect him/her from all harm and all danger, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

We accept learners from 3 - 12 year olds and when the Senior Section is up and running we will accept learners up to the age of 30, subject to availability.

A maximum of 8 learners are accommodated per group with a teacher and an assistant.




I thoroughly enjoy the interaction with the parents and therapists involved in our school, and I really hope that the changes we are making in each life of these little children will be a memorable and positive one.



I needed to find out more about Special Needs children, as I have a son with Special Needs myself. I find Special Needs children very interesting and started to work at Thuthukani Preschool in January 2016.



I am a speech-Language Pathologist who holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology and Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology (UCT).



Joyce has been working at Thuthukani Preschool, as a Teacher assistant, since the day the doors were opened.



My passion in life is children. I love and adore children and love interacting with them. Every child in this world needs to be loved and accepted. With love nothing is impossible. Special needs children have a special place in my heart. Their joy for life is so amazing and their smiles and laughter make me happy. They inspire me to be a better person. I am so excited and looking forward to what they are going to teach me.



As I am a pastor my role is to participate in the interdisciplinary counselling team and to hold the chapel devotion on Fridays with children and teachers.



I visit Thuthukani once a week to see how the programme is going and assist the teachers with adjustments/needs that surface. I love working with the kids and am passionate to see them progress in their bodies.



I am a Narrative Therapist with 10 years in private practice. A significant portion of my work is dedicated to connecting with children and their families to help with difficulties at school, with behaviour and with adjusting to new and unfamiliar circumstances.




We are two women from Denmark, and in January 2016 we were volunteers in Thuthukani Preschool. Marie is a social assistant in a home for elderly people. Ninna is a medical secretary and works in an emergency room. We had planned to travel to South Africa for four weeks and wanted to do some volunteering in one of these weeks. Therefore, we google'd mission in South Africa and contacted a Danish church, who through a German sister church led us to Lene and the Thuthukani Preschool in Shelly Beach. In Thuthukani Preschool we had the joy of getting to know the wonderful kids, and we got the opportunity to participate in the different activities like painting, the circle, baking cupcakes, playing on the playground etc. We felt that we quickly became a part of the place and Lene was exceptional to involve us in the work, and soon saw our strengths and used them. We also felt an openness from the kids, and they let us be a part of their lives for one week. We are so blessed and grateful for the week in Thuthukani Preschool, and we cherish the work that Lene and the other workers are doing. They have a high level of professionalism, patience and commitment in the work.
We thank you all for a great week, and we hope to visit you again soon.
God bless! The best wishes from Marie and Ninna.


I'm 24 years old and I come from Germany. I‘m studying special education and English to become a teacher. During my university vacation in August and September 2015 I spent 3 weeks at Thuthukani Preschool as a volunteer. During this time I always experienced Thuthukani as a happy, small and sheltered place for kids with special needs, where they have a well-structured and stimulating environment in which they can develop in their own pace according to their abilities. The staff is of a loving and caring nature – always in direct contact with the children, their parents as well as other staff members like occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists.Generally, Thuthukani Preschool is a wonderful place for kids with special needs to become fit for life 🙂



I am 19 years old and I am from Germany. From October until December 2015 I worked in the Preschool as a volunteer and lived with the host family Schnackenbergs. It was a very good experience for me to work with the Special Needs children. Every day was a special day because the kids made it so special. It was always fun and I was especially happy if one child made progress. It was always nice to work with Lene and Joyce. Due to the fact that I had learned so much I decided to study German languages and Special Education and become a Preschool teacher for Special Needs children like Lene is. I’d love to come back one day to help in the preschool again!



My name is Linea. I am 26 years old and I finished my studies for education at the end of September 2016, in Lüneburg. My time at Thuthukani Preschol and with the family Schnackenberg, brings back happy feelings, memories and pictures. It was a good idea to take this time out between studying and starting to work. Thank you for everything!!! Every single one of you and every child 'changed' me in a special way!