Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the tag “Education”

Early Childhood Development: What’s The Big Deal?

We all know the importance of education but did you know that the success of a child’s education begins before they’re even born? Watch this 4 minute video to find out why those early childhood years are so important and how we can all be part of the solution:

Interested in learning more? Read this article by Bernadette Moffat, delivered at the launch of the Child Institute’s Child Gauge 2013. We also thought the statistics in this Times Live article were pretty eye-opening – 58% of children under the age of nine live below the poverty line!

Have you read any interesting/informative articles on ECD lately? What are your thoughts?

P.S. Email us for more on how you can get involved in addressing this issue through Common Good.

Care For The Teacher

For one afternoon on Thursday, 19 September, we swopped blackboards and marking pens for cupcakes and goodie bags to let the teachers at Garlandale Primary School know just how appreciated they are.

Teachers from Garlandale Primary and volunteers dress up for the photo booth

Teachers from Garlandale Primary and volunteers dress up for the photo booth

Without the teachers who guided us through our formative years, many of us wouldn’t be where we are today. Yet, sadly, teachers in South Africa often don’t get the recognition they deserve for the crucial work that they do, frequently under tough circumstances with limited resources at their disposal.

The teachers at Garlandale Primary School in Athlone, Cape Town, face numerous daily obstacles in educating their students, yet they remain dedicated to their task. With the end of the year approaching, we thought it was high time they took took a moment to relax and be pampered.

So the day before third term break-up, members of the Common Ground Rondebosch AM congregation gave over 20 teachers and governing body members from Garlandale a welcome respite from the admin of report-writing, Annual National Assessments, and general term-end craziness with an afternoon of entertainment and encouragement.

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Garlandale teachers enjoying the afternoon

“Seeing two geographically close and yet socially very different groups of people all packed into a room and having a heap of fun together was such a heartwarming and encouraging experience,” said Ryan TerMorshuizen, lead pastor of the Common Ground Rondebosch AM congregation. “I know that the partnership is just starting but this event was a real launching pad for our relationships!”

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“Care for the Teacher was an opportunity for our staff to move out of the perceived fear of forming new relationships outside of what you would normally, only to discover that all people are the same.” said Mr Fortune, the Garlandale Primary School principal.

The afternoon included singing by Charne and Kat from the Common Ground worship team, some fun input from Common Ground pastor Brad Anderson, and a message of heartwarming encouragement from Pam Berry.

“It was the most fun I’ve had in ages!” said one Garlandale teacher.

A team of volunteers from Rondebosch AM set up the venue, volunteers baked over 70 cupcakes and the Ladies Bible Study put together goodie bags to make sure that the teachers felt truly spoilt.

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Pam Berry, Bev Draper and Delia Groenmeyer from Common Ground Church

“Since Care for the Teacher, coming to Garlandale is different,” said Bev Draper. “When meeting with staff in the corridors there’s a whole new level of connectedness. Now we know one another’s names and faces,”

Thank you to everyone who gave generously of their time and resources to make this event a success!

Literacy Feedback: Amy Learns Spanish

Most of us can recall a favourite book from our childhood that we just couldn’t put down. Sue Taylor, a Literacy Programme manager, shares what happened when one little girl found hers.

Chloe poses proudly with her English/Spanish book

Amy* poses proudly with her English/Spanish book

With great excitement, Amy* leaped out of her chair at the end of Literacy class to go and choose her very first ‘Take Home’ book. The learners were thrilled when they arrived at class to discover that we finally had library books that they could take home to read with their families. And that every time they returned them, they could take out another one. What a treat!

Most of our children in the Literacy Programme have no books at home at all, but thanks to a generous donation we’re now able to provide books for them to take home.

Amy came back with a book that had her intrigued. Every page had a tag at the bottom and when she pulled it down it revealed words she had never seen before. I worried that these new words would confuse her, but she was adamant that this was the book for her. So, we had a look.

She read out the word “hello” and then, when the tag was pulled down, sounded out the word “hola“. And again, once she read “goodbye,” she pulled the tag down to reveal the word “adios“. “What is this?” she asked and I explained that the book was written in both English and Spanish and that she had just read two Spanish words.

Her eyes grew wide and a huge grin spread across her face as I explained that because she was now reading she could even learn another  language.The penny dropped in that little head at that moment as she realised that reading opens doors to anything you want to learn about. in my family we call that a ‘Red Bull’ day – learning had taken wings!

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Literacy Programme either with their time or with a donation. You have helped open up new horizons for the students in the programme.

Muchas gracias, as Amy would say 😉

Keen to find out more? Email us for details on how you can get involved with the Literacy Programme at schools in various areas around Cape Town. 

*Name has been changed

The Life-Changing Impact of TWD

It was Human Rights Day, 21 March 2013, when all across Cape Town thousands of people set out to do something different to make a difference as part of the TWD (That Was Different) challenge. It was grand, epic, crazy – and a whole lot of fun! But how has the money raised from TWD helped change lives for the better? Watch this video to find out.

Keen to start planning your TWD 2014 challenge? Visit www.thatwasdifferent.net for more info to help  you get going.

Giving The Gift of Reading

Thanks to a generous donation by the Peninsula 77 Round Table, we were able to purchase boxes of brand-new books for our Kewtown Primary Literacy Programme – opening up a whole new world of opportunity and imagination!

We think it's safe to say these books have been a huge hit with the learners and volunteers alike!

Members of the Peninsula 77 Round Table with Mr Balie, the Kewtown Primary principal, and volunteers and learners from the Kewtown Primary Literacy Programme

Since starting in May 2011, the Kewtown Primary Literacy Programme  has aimed to improve the reading ability of Grade 2 learners at Kewtown Primary using the successfully tested Shine Centre model, which pairs volunteers with one or two Grade 2 learners for a session once or twice a week.

The learners enjoying story time :)

We wonder what this story is about?!

The Literacy Programme is currently providing one-on-one tutoring to 10 Grade 2 learners at Kewtown Primary with the help of 11 volunteers.

And the volunteers hard work is paying off! The last assessments showed that the literacy levels of those currently in the programme improved by an average of 20% whilst those not in the programme improved by an average of 10%.

The learners enjoying the new books :)

The learners enjoying the new books 🙂

But what would a literacy programme be without a range of beautiful and inspiring books to help nurture within each learner a love for reading? The donation from the Peninsula 77 Round Table has taken the Literacy Programme to the next level by providing a fresh and much-needed supply of books to help the volunteers encourage and motivate the learners.

“We are so grateful for the new books as now we have variety for the children and they are excited about the shared reading time again,” -John Kensley, volunteer

The literacy programme centre at Kewtown Primary

The Literacy Programme centre in the Kewtown Primary library

“These books are exactly what we needed to make shared reading a fun, exciting time.” – Gavin Copeland, volunteer

A huge thank you to the Peninsula 77 Round Table for this donation which will impact the lives of so many children. Not only will these books help the volunteers to tutor the learners so their literacy levels can improve, but they’ll also help develop what will hopefully be a lifelong love of reading. A gift that will keep on giving!

Literacy Programme learners waiting to tuck in to the celebratory cupcakes :)

Literacy Programme learners waiting to enjoy the celebratory cupcakes 🙂

Interested in volunteering? Email us to organise a visit to the Literacy Programme where you can find out more before signing up.

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