How do we focus our activities?
Teacher Mentoring and Training
Whilst facilities are vital, it is the learning that happens in the pre-schools daily that really results in transformed futures.
With the assistance of corporate sponsorship we have teaching practitioners that have completed recognised Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications in Early Childhood Development at The Midlands College in Nottingham Road.
There is additional support through a mentoring programme. Our mentoring programme assists in the practical implementation of the theory learnt.
Three local teachers have been identified to mentor in the greater amaZizi Village:
Sibononelo Dlamini from Royal Drakensberg Primary School
Fikile Nene from Hlelokuhle Pre-School
Mantombi Khoza from Sibusisiwe Pre-School
These ladies provide in-class guidance and help to make learning meaningful and fun. More recently Development Plans have been piloted in a few schools and we are working with greater intension to improve daily practice by providing greater support and assisting with classroom facility improvements and additional teaching aids and resources.
Workshops are hosted are by Royal Drakensberg and we share ideas, open up discussions and look at creative ways to teach skills using natural resources where possible. More difficult concepts are considered, ladies work together through group presentations and collaborate in a safe space.
This integrated approach sees positive changes within the teaching space and wonderful progress being made. Children are nurtured, stimulated and will be school-ready when they begin Grade R.
Upgrading facilities and resource development
The project assists with ongoing maintenance requirements at the 18 schools. When necessary, we help with security upgrades, fixing and mending facilities and general ongoing maintenance work. When possible we work with partners to refurbish older schools to make sure they are safe, hygienic and operating optimally.
Nutrition is essential for growing children and we partner with Retford Rotary, UK to make sure every child receives fortified porridge daily. Packed with the right vitamins and minerals, this healthy start allows for active brains to be engaged and stimulated.
Knitwear, jumble and lighty-used, second-hand donations
We accept donations of jumble, knitwear, books and resources for early learning at The Cavern, Montusi Lodge and All Out Adventures. We are enormously grateful to our guests and visitors who are wonderful donors. The knitwear, educational resources and books are sorted and distributed within the community and lightly-used jumble is sold at very reasonable prices. The funds generated are then put back into the projects.
Book sharing and Community Reading
A new initiative sees our Royal Drakensberg teachers visiting the community each Wednesday afternoon during the term time. Children are called to gather at one of the local pre-schools and teachers read stories to those gathered. When possible, books are distributed to the children and this is made possible with our partnership with Book Dash. These afternoons help promote a culture of reading and combat illiteracy from a young age.
The BabyBoost programme enables local mentors to teach mothers and carers six key messages. These messages help them to interact with their babies in ways that boost their learning and communication development:
- Talk to your baby
- Cuddle your baby
- Sing to your baby
- Read to your baby
- Respond to your baby
- Play with your baby