Africa A+Summer Conference 2020
The annual Africa A+ Summer conference was held on the 25 January 2020 in Cape Town. The conference was attended by 57 participants from the five Western Cape A+ schools: iThemba Pre-primary, Rainbow ECD Centre, Gerard’s Educare, Chameleon Campus, and Fish Hoek Pre-primary. The Africa A+ facilitators were Kauther Ebrahim, Shanaaz Abrahams, Carole Scott and Anya Morris. Miriam Schiff and Veronica Nicholas assisted with the set up. Aziza Ebrahim, an observer at the conference said “I am blown away. I am just blown away. This is what teachers need; not more certificates.”
The conference was in true A+ style: everyone got involved and worked together in imaginative and innovative ways. Behind the fun was a serious intention: if we want our teachers to nurture children’s 21st century skills, then we need to make sure that the teachers are in touch with and enjoying their own creative, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills. After each activity the participants transferred what they had experienced into the classroom by discussing How could I do this with my children? What would I need to change? What would the children learn? What links can I make with the curriculum?
The highlight of the day were the three elective workshops:
Workshop 1, iZinto, sent participants on a treasure hunt. Using their creativity and teaching knowledge, the participants created artworks and learning activities for children from the ’treasure’ (loose recyclable items).
Workshop 2, Bob the Builder, engaged the participants in creative engineering (design, balance, material strength, weight, height). The participants used sucker sticks, pegs and clips and their imagination and problem-solving skills.
Workshop 3, Squish and Squash. The participants took ordinary playdough and made it into an extraordinary teaching tool.
After lunch the five schools planned how to apply the A+ approach in their school. The school leaders and A+ facilitators worked on ways to support A+ implementation for the remainder of 2020. iThemba and Chameleon Campus received a certificate celebrating their three year A+ participation.
Comments from our participants in their own word when asked “What have you learned today?” and “What do you plan to do differently at your school?”