The Chameleons staff

Emma Medell (Principal)

Emma is the founder of the Chameleons Montessori School. Her love of the world of children was ignited when she went to study Montessori in London. Emma trained at the Association Montessori International (AMI) and in Hampstead where she lived for two years. In 1989 she completed the Montessori 3-6 Diploma and shortly thereafter returned to Cape Town to assume the position of Principal & Directress of Beehive Montessori School in Bellville.
Emma gained much experience in running a School in the 8 years that she was there. During this time, Emma returned to England to study the Montessori Birth to 3 Diploma. In 1999 Emma opened a toddlers group under the umbrella of Rainbow Montessori School in Durbanville which laid the foundations for the Chameleons Montessori toddler group and later School.

Skye, Emma's daughter was born in 1999 and was the first member of our Montessori infant group that same year. For many years Emma was the Directress in the Pre-School class at Nitida. Being one of the only people in Cape Town with the AMI toddler training, Emma gave a series of toddler workshops to other Montessorians.
In 2006/7 Emma was the Western Cape representative of the South African Montessori Association (SAMA). Emma's deep understanding of children is the underlying philosophy of the Chameleons Montessori School. Emma in no longer teaching, and has become the Principal of our School.

Claire Goffe-Wood (Toddler Directress & Administrator)

Claire has been a part of Chameleons since its inception in 2000. She has a deep love and respect for the honesty and openness of toddlers. Claire's interest in children began back in 1992 when she set up the after-care facility at the Beehive Montessori School in Bellville. riginally from Johannesburg, Claire moved to Cape Town in 1985 and Matriculated from Cape Town High School in 1988. Claire studied Social Work, Sociology & Psychology at Rhodes University between 1989 and 1991.
In 1993 Claire left for Londo - where she worked as a Systems Executive and gave birth to her two children - Hannah 11 and Kyle 9 years (they both attend the Chameleons Primary School).

On returning to Cape Town in 1999, Emma and Claire joined forces to fulfil their vision of creating an authentic Montessori School. For the past 9 years Claire has been instrumental in the growth of Chameleons Montessori School. During this time Claire has been the Directress in the toddlers group.

Primary School
Agnes Kenalemang Abrams (Cleaning staff Primary)

Agnes joined the Primary School in Jan 2008. She has had experience with looking after children and domestic work with different families. Agnes is originally from Mafikeng where dancing and singing at Gospel Church were very much a part of her life. Her other love is playing Netball! Agnes has two children Stanley, 5 years and Baby Judith ,4 months! Agnes first language is Twsana, she also speaks English & Afirkaans.

Barbara Huntley (Afternoon Co-ordinator Primary)

Barbara joined the Chameleons Primary School team during the course of 2008. Barbara's years of experience in working with children afford her a confidence and ease when interacting with the children. She facilitates homework supervision and at the same time creates a warm, loving homely atmosphere for the children who stay at School in the afternoons.
Barbara has 2 adult children, Chad and Rea and a 5 year old Granddaughter, Mia. Twelve years experience providing AfterSchool Care at Wolraad Woltemade Primary School and a further two and a half years at the Parklands Educare with in house training are what makes Barbara such an expert at co-ordinating our afternoon's at the Primary School.

Pre-School Ladybird Class
Kim Kirsten (Pre-School Directress Ladybird Class)

Kim joined the School in 2002 when the Pre-School was still in De Bron. Before she came to Chameleons Kim worked as an au-pair for 4 years. The following 6 years saw Kim grow as an Assistant in the Pre-School. She also co-ordinated the afternoon programme. Her love of interacting with the children who affectionately called her "Kimmy" and her relaxed approach to facilitating are what the children love about her. Kim has nurtured pet rabbits "Salt" & "Pepper" and will often be seen showing the children how to care for them.
In Jan 2008 Kim initiated a new Pre-School class "The ladybirds!" She has sculpted the young class into a hive of Montessori industry! And now together with her new Assistant Gloria, the class is growing in size and in character.

Gloria Keaotlwile (Pre-School Assistant Ladybird Class & Afternoon Assistant)

Gloria joined the Chameleons team in 2001. She initially started an Assistant and cleaner in the Toddler's Group. Gloria's very together personality and professionalism were immediately evident. In 2003 she initiated our second Infant Group where she fulfilled the Assistants role alongside colleague Shiela Pietersen. The Infant Group was a tranquil, loving and stimulating environment where Gloria proved to be a warm and gentle care- giver. When the baby group closed down, Gloria assumed the position of School lunch Chef.
In the kitchen, Gloria's cool professionalism once again came shining through. She prepared a wholesome lunch that was cooked to perfection for three years. Her cooking duties were performed in the morning, and in the afternoon she assisted at the Pre-School in facilitating the afternoon programme. Gloria is loved by all the children at the Pre-School and therefore filled the position of Assistant in Ladybird Class when the position became available (mid 2008). Gloria also attended 12 Toddler Trainning Wokshops over the course of 2007 which included an introduction to Montessori Theory and Philosophy. Gloria has a 6 year old daughter, Portia who is in the Chameleons Primary School. Gloria's first language is Tswana and she also speaks English and Afrikaans.

Pre-School Butterfly Class
Kerry Anne Jay (Pre-School Assistant Butterfly Class & Afternoon Co-ordinator)

Kerry joined the Chameleons team in Jan 2008. Her 8 years of experience in au-pairing both in SA and overseas are evident in Kerry's very grounded hands-on expertise with the children. Kerry has always been a Capetonian although loves to travel! Kerry completed her National Diploma in Montessori 2 - 6 years with the College of Modern Montessori in 2003. She is currently studying for a Bachelors Degree in education, focusing on 0-9 year olds through Unisa.
Teaching is definitely a passion for Kerry who has always had a fascination for how children develop and learn.

Betty Dipuo Moneemang (Cleaning Staff Pre-School)

Betty came to Chameleons in 2003 when we moved into the Pre-School at Nitida. Right from the start Betty was a gem in all area's of the Pre-School preparing snack, assisting with children, cleaning & sometimes making lunch. She is very well rounded and able to jump in to assist in any situation. Originally from Mafikeng, Betty's first language is Tswana, she also speaks English and Afrikaans. Betty has adopted her late sister's son Mbuti. Betty's versatility and love of the children are an absolute asset to the Pre-School.

Poppy Morabe (Toddler's Group Assistant & Afternoon Co-ordinator)

Poppy joined Chameleons in 2000, her unconditional love for children and soft, gentle disposition make Poppy an ideal candidate for working in a toddlers group. Originally from the rural area of Mafikeng, Poppy matriculated from Utlwangang High School where she was part of the School Choir. Poppy has two children: Moluki, 11 Theo, 5 years. Poppy has been with Chameleons right from its early beginnings and is our longest term employee.
In the period before coming to Chameleons, Poppy has worked with young children for various different families. In 2007 Poppy completed a series of 12 Montessori Toddler Training Workshops given by Emma Medell. Poppy has won the hearts of all the children who have passed through the Chameleons Toddler's Group, her singing is an asset to our group too! Poppy's first language is Sotho, she also speaks Tswana, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans and English.

Nozuko Gongo (Toddler's Group Assistant & Afternoon Co-ordinator)

Nozuko joined Chameloon's in January 2008, she has brought with her a wealth of experience in looking after young children and she has proven to be a very gentle and supportive member of the Toddler's Team. Nozuko is originally from Uitenhage, matriculating in 1991 from Nema High School in the Transkei; she has a 25 year old daughter, Phakama. Nozuko moved to Cape Town in 2000 where she worked with various different families looking after their young children.
In 2006 Nozuko commenced studying the Montessori 3-6 course with the Early Learning Foundation in Cape Town. She is currently completing the part time course. Nozuko's friendly disposition and lovely singing voice (she was part of a sextet at School) add to her grounded presence in our toddler's classroom. Nozuko's first language is Xhosa, she also speaks English & Afrikaans.

Lettie Mogapi (Cleaning staff Toddler's)

Lettie began working at Chameleons in October 2007. She joined in order to help out while one of the team was on sick leave; straight away it was evident that she was excellent at restoring order to the classroom and was aalso at keeping our environment meticulously clean. In Jan 2008 Lettie took on the full time position of cleaner at the Toddlers Group. Lettie is originally from Mafikeng, where singing in the Gospel Choir was very important to her.
She has a son, Omphile, who is 13 years old; her first language is Tswana and she also speaks Sotho and English.

Josef Ipinge (Gardener & Maintenance Man)

Josef came to work at Chameleons in 2005. He is originally from Namibia, where his family still live. Josef passed Standard 9 at school in Namibia in 1994 and moved to Cape Town in 1997. Josef is a remarkable gardener and is an expert at keeping our school gardens meticulously beautiful & neat. He is also our all round handyman whom all the children love to chase around the garden!


Zhu Zhu is Emma & Claire's mother and resident Grandma to all the children! She is an avid nature lover and is the inspiration behind all the beautiful, colourful gardens at Chameleons. Although she is not officially a member of staff, Zhu-Zhu has been involved in every step of the transformation of the School, since inception. Her creativity, care and assistance in so many aspects of the school is enjoyed and appreciated by all!