This is the latest education project I've been working on in South Africa. By donating just £1 you can contribute towards a child's education.
I've found a lot of available resources, including online and shop bought that are not relevant to the children in the townships. For example story books on shopping and visits to the doctors, dentist etc show children from affluent families and usually they are white. Kids in supermarkets having arrived in a car, a full shopping trolley or a child being told by mum in their house with a sofa, curtains at the window and a TV in the corner about a trip to the dentist, whose practice is private, nicely laid out, with all the mod cons.
This is not the reality for children who live in townships, who attend pre school at the cost of R200 per child, per month, where often classrooms don't have tables and chairs, just a few blankets on a mud or concrete floor, no books, crayons or paper, let alone electricity and running water.
So just what have I been making and how much does it cost to buy a package for a school?
Each kit contains 100 sheets of laminated learning material. It costs R70 for printing and R144 for the laminates. The additional cost is for pegs, string, prestik, crayons, basic stationery for the teachers and a reem of paper. I also provide each classroom with flour and salt to make play doh, plus several hours of my time demonstrating how to use these resources. I also provide the schools with cardboard boxes, yogurt pots and toilet rolls and show the teachers how to make musical instruments.
The kits provide visual displays for the walls, as they are laminated they can be taken down and used to teach the children numbers, alphabet, colours. There are dates, months and days of the week along with weather and emotion images. The children can learn to sequence events, take an active role in their own learning, match, learn and play. They also learn social skills, group work and turn taking.
But I don't just deliver the resources, I spend time over a couple of weeks teaching the teachers to learn to use the packs. We start with a nursery rhyme, Old Macdonald, we split the children into 2 groups, one group sings the rhyme the other group are the animals. The children choose an animal, they name it and make the sound, we can then expand this activity by identifying the colour of the animal, is it bigger or smaller than a ....... ask what the animal produces that we can eat. i.e. eggs and milk and expand the discussion into healthy eating, draw pictures, etc.
I have a meeting this week with an organisation that specialises in teaching children to keep themselves safe from abuse and rape to talk with them about making resources that are relevant to the children's home and learning environment. I'm also developing story books and games with photographs and images that are also relevant to the children's lives and I'm wanting to produce work books so the children can start to learn to read and write. The crayons and playdoh are just the start for the children to practice fine motor movements skills.
Already the teachers are starting to develop their own resources, drawing shapes and getting the children to colour them in and name them, adding pictures drawn to the classroom walls, making instruments and using them when singing nursery rhymes, using the colour and number sheets by placing them on the floor and asking the children to find 6 orange items or 4 green crayons etc.