|IN OUR JUNE EDITION:|
3 R's News: Reading, Running, Right-ing
READING, RUNNING AND RIGHT-ING
For the remainder of the term, each project’s facilitator(s) work out a tailor-made daily 3 R’s programme with the assistance and guidance of the Project Managers. The Reading (education) hour is planned so that literacy and numeracy tasks are specific to the needs of that particular project’s learners. Word puzzles, Edupeg (maths) and educational maths and word computer games are some of the activities which take place during the remainder of the term during the education hour. “Maths Soccer” is another favourite classroom game where children have to know their times tables in order to compete against one another. For the Running (sports) and Right-ing (drama) lessons, facilitators pick lessons from the curriculum which may have not yet been completed during the term, while a few of the old-favourites are included in the agenda and re-played for a fun-filled afternoon. A number of “Soccer Fun Days” will be taking place during the upcoming month where all the skills learned in the sports lessons over the past two months, will be put into play.
A Good News Story: Life Skills in Action
When the drama (life skills) programme was first implemented many of our facilitators felt uncomfortable about being cast in the role of “drama teacher”. Some felt that they weren’t equipped to run the lessons but this was simply because they were afraid of the unknown and did not know what to expect or how their group of children would respond (as they realised later on). Some were concerned that playing these light-hearted, and what they perceived to be ‘silly’ games, would cause the learners to lose respect for them.
Over the past few months we have seen an immense improvement and growth in our facilitators in their roles as “drama teachers”. They have a better understanding of the goals of the life skills programme and how the games are used as a tool to achieve those goals. This has helped them to look at the children in their care more positively and to identify possible causes for disruptive behaviour, rather than simply labelling a child as “impossible”. From conducting interviews with our facilitators we can see that they now have a very clear understanding of the areas in which their learners are currently struggling. Where a child or a group may have previously been described as “naughty”, they are now able to interpret the child’s behaviour and be specific as to the problem, for example: their group struggles with listening skills or communication skills, or the children don’t trust each other completely. The facilitators are now not only able to identify the problems, but they are also able to pick out specific games from the life skills programme that can be used to help their group overcome the problem.
The following story is a recent occurrence which demonstrates how the life skills programme is directly impacting both the lives of the children and facilitators as well:
At their after-school, this class of Grade 4 and 5’s has grown particularly close as a result of the drama activities. They work together to understand the games, laugh a great deal with one another and are not self-conscious or afraid of being teased. They see their class to be a safe environment. These children are under the leadership of a facilitator who has grown tremendously in her role as drama “teacher”. One afternoon the group noticed that one little girl was looking particularly sad and withdrawn. She had not been her lively self for a few weeks and the children were concerned. When sitting together, the facilitator asked the girl if she would share with the group what was bothering her. Although reluctant, her classmates encouraged her to open up and tell them what the matter was. It came to light that she was being bullied by another child, who happened to be in another class at the after-school. After hearing her story, the facilitator encouraged the group to give solutions and ideas as to what she could do to solve the problem. The rest of the group sympathised and told her that they had wished she had informed them sooner, giving her assurance that they would be there to support her at school the next day. Later that afternoon, when they were alone, the facilitator called the ‘bully’ in and spoke with her and the girl who had been harassed. She asked both children to share how the situation made them feel and encouraged them to get to the bottom of things, then and there. The ‘bully’ apologised of her own free will and both children left the classroom together with the situation resolved. The children were able to empathise and read their friend’s emotions and body language while the facilitator was able to use her problem solving skills and manage the conflict. They offered support which extended beyond the after-school environment and were trusting of one another enough to share.
Maths Soccer: the classroom game which encourages children to learn their multiplication tables. A basic soccer field is drawn on the board and two children go head to head at one time. The facilitator calls out a times table and the first of the two competitors to raise their hand gets first dibs on answering. Each time a child answers correctly, the ‘ball’ (normally a blob of prestik) is moved a quarter-step towards the goal. Two correct answers in a row are needed for a goal to be scored, or a point to be awarded. A winner is declared when a certain level of points are reached. After having every one of our after-schools implementing this game, and after seeing the successful results, it was decided take things up a notch and hold an inter-farm Maths Olympiad.
Right from the beginning of this tournament, the amount of preparation and practicing put in by the children was astounding! They took the competition very seriously, testing one another and then going home to study, determined to not let their farm down should they reach the finals. It started on our Ashton farms: Arabella Wines versus Excelsior Wines, holding a play-off during the second last week of the term. All Grade 4 – 7 children took turns in competing against their neighbouring farm-mates to see who knew their multiplication tables best. Facilitators called sum after sum, round after round until each grade had a winner that would represent them in the final competition against the children from Graham Beck in Robertson.
On 25 June, four Maths Soccer winners from Graham Beck, (one representing each grade), were taken to the Ashton after-school for the inter-farm finals against Arabella and Excelsior. Two ‘cheerleaders’ had been chosen to join them as they were at a disadvantage without the vocal backing of their classmates. The children in the competition had studied all multiplication tables from 2 to 12 and they were all extremely well prepared, although a little nervous. As soon as the times tables had been called out, almost every time the two competitor’s hands shot up in unison and ready to answer (they are not allowed to shout out). One could see the ‘audience’ quietly working out the answers in their heads. In the end, there could be only one winner per grade and each victor was given a prize of stationery or toiletries, according to how they had performed. Prizes were also awarded to the child with the most spirit (ie. the loudest voice) and the winner of each grade was given an educational book to take back to their after-school for use in their classroom. What a beneficial and fun way to end the term!
Countdown to Mandela Day
|1)||Start a winter clothing drive: beanies, gloves, gum boots and winter jackets suitable for primary school-age children|
|2)||Collect 67 drama props towards our Drama Prop Project|
|3)||Read to our learners! Visit one of our farm projects and engross our learners in a story. We’ll even select the books if you like. Many of the children's parents don't read to them so this is always a treat!|
|4)||Organise an afternoon of arts and craft using recyclable material. “Make something out of nothing”. Teach the children to sew and make sock puppets.|
|5)||One of our projects has approximately 67 things that need fixing including a new front door, door locks, window repairs, sealant… (well, not quite 67 things but close)|
|6)||Donate R67 to the Anna Foundation via the GivenGain website. Ask your colleagues, friends and family to do the same. If 15 people do this, R1000 can help to purchase 20 new soccer balls!|
- Operation Shoebox: Total of R15 000 towards Readers
- #TBDAfrica Donor: R5000 donation towards gumboots
- JET Lee Will Trust: Financial donation
- Hyman Goldberg Foundation: Financial donation
- Exactocraft: Financial Donation
- Lilla Howe Trust: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- Croft Trust: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- Dr Brom: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- de Villiers Family: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- van der Merwe Family: Financial support for school tuition
- 1%Club Members: Your monthly support helps a great deal
- Mountain Runner: Tatum, thank you for the race entries
- Stellenbosch Gazette (Myron): Prop Drive Insert
- Wines with Heart: Financial support
- Holmelea, Barrydale and Nola: Monthly contributions are so appreciated
- Hannelie Carstens: Book and CD sets
- MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and all our 'card swipers': thank you to everyone who voted for us recently