2021 began with two challenges for the Kouga Windfarm Trust ECD project. The first is how to support the 15 Cohort 1 ECD centres and 10 local facilitators during Lockdown 3. The second is providing underserved ECD centres with teaching and learning resources.
- Challenge 1: Online support sessions.
The following support activities were planned and facilitated in January and February:
The Africa A+ team facilitated weekly support sessions with small group of ECD principals and local facilitators using WhatsApp. Open-ended questions encouraged the principals and local facilitators to share their ideas on leadership. Africa A+ wrote down the ideas and posted them on the WhatsApp group in the interests of shared learning. Here is one generated by ECD principals Nomlungelo, Eddeline and Nomgqibelo:
- Info-bites (inspirational ideas and activities)
The Africa A+ team introduced the idea of info-bites by posting the following message on WhatsApp:
Hi 🙋♀️everyone. Anya 🌻 and Yolande🌿 will be posting regular info-bites on WhatsApp. We hope that these info-bites will encourage you, make you think, bring a smile to your face, and inspire you to try something new at your centre. Enjoy!
Here are some of the info-bites posted in January and February:
- Quotes and inspirational texts:
- Radio interview. Small groups of principals and their local facilitator listened to an interview on https://iono.fm/e/975754
- Activities for children. These info-bites are visually presented and use everyday materials so that everyone can understand and implement the activities regardless of context or language. Here are some that were posted on WhatsApp this month:
1: Children learn by touching so let’s introduce them to different textures. Texture / Tekstuur / Ukuthungwa is the quality of what you feel when you touch something e.g. rough, smooth, sticky, oily, soft, hard, etc. Look around you and find things with different textures e.g. sponges, , smooth and rough stones, leaves, etc. Put them on a tray or in a box.
- Invite a small group of children to feel and discuss the different textures. Ask the children: What do you feel? Wat voel jy? Ungazivw ntoni? Write down the children’s words. Read and say the words together. Ask the child to match the word and the texture. This is a literacy activity (ELDA 3). Try this out with your children. Take photos and post them on WhatsApp.
3: Use the same texture objects to teach children about shapes (notice how some have been cut up into smaller pieces). Invite a small group of children to sit in a circle. Hand each child a container of textures.
- Discuss the different shapes with the children. Read out the name of each shape and say the name together.
- Invite the children to choose a shape and to make the same shape out of their texture materials.
The children are learning early mathematics (ELDA 4). Try this out with your older
children. Take photos and post them on WhatsApp.
We are learning together. Ons leer saam. Sifunda kunye.
Connectivity has been the biggest barrier to online support. Africa A+ has addressed the barrier in the following ways:
- WhatsApp call groups are kept small so that everyone could hear clearly and participate.
- Principals who did not own a smart phone met with their local facilitator and the two participated using the one phone.
- A R29 data bundle is sent to each person using a phone during an online session.
Challenge 2: The second challenge pertains to the lack of pedagogical resources in most of the 33 Kouga ECD centres. The photographs below are of a typical ECD centre in Humansdorp:
Carole Scott, a board member of Africa A+, is developing a materials centre in Cape Town called iZinto Africa. The goal is to provide ECD centres with recyclables and to train staff on how to use these recyclables as teaching tools. Setting up a materials centre in the Kouga area would provide ECD centres with additional resources. With this in mind: Carole will visit the Kouga ECD centres in March. The next step is to find a storage centre and invite businesses and manufacturers to donate their offcuts and discarded materials. The final step is to distribute the materials to the Kouga ECD centres and to train their staff in how to use them for teaching and learning.
Next month: the Africa A+ team is planning to visit the Kouga area from 22 – 27th March to facilitate workshops, to model teaching creatively at the Cohort 1 ECD centres, and to begin collecting materials.