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Oct 10, 2019

Training Teachers in Cape Town Gives Children Brighter Futures

Thank you for your support for ORT SA CAPE's programmes in Cape Town, South Africa. ORT SA CAPE runs science and robotics programmes for children, as well as training sessions for teachers who are working in underprivileged communities.

 

Your support, through our page on GlobalGiving, helped towards three recent teacher training sessions at GROW Education, Windmeul Primary School and Hangberg, Pinocchio Educare. In total, 77 educators attended these sessions.

 

Bev and Karen from ORT SA CAPE gave an update about the training sessions:

 

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The Training Sessions

One of ORT SA CAPE's core projects is training teachers to use the LEGO resources, 6 Bricks and Playbox. During the training workshops, teachers are given multiple opportunities to engage with new knowledge through application activities. Such repeated exposure to new content and methods promotes learning, as well as retention of what is learned. The training is offered as a hands-on workshop to ensure that participants are equipped with practical ways to integrate the materials within their teaching curriculum. Perceptual, cognitive, physical and motor skills development are all covered in the initial 3- hour training session. ORT SA CAPE offers follow-up support to the participants and will visit schools and classrooms in order to assist practitioners and teachers to promote the use of the resources in the classrooms.

ORT SA CAPE has been offering the LEGO 6 Bricks and Playbox training to teachers from disadvantaged communities since 2016. In 2018, ORT SA CAPE reached over 1,200 teachers and 38,000 pupils. By September 2019, ORT SA CAPE had already trained 1,300 teachers with a projected total for 2019 of at least 1,400 teachers trained, indirectly reaching approximately 45,000 pupils.

Teachers' Feedback

Natasha is the Principal of a community early childhood development centre in Mitchells Plain. The area has been plagued by gang violence and crime and the children are exposed to this on a daily basis. Natasha was very excited to implement what she had learnt as she thought that the LEGO was a great way to get children to talk about the things that are bothering them by encouraging them to build "their news’’ and then verbalise what they had built. She said, "The workshop was fruitful, I learned a lot and I am excited to implement [these strategies] in my class".

Another teacher, Nomampondo from a school in Phillipi Village commented, "This is a great eye opener and I cannot wait to start working with my LEGO kit. The LEGO blocks will be used for all learning areas – Home Language, Maths and Life Skills". She is a Grade R [Reception] teacher with 30 children in her classroom. She struggles with classroom management as well as language development in her classroom and is excited to use the tools learned to assist her with this.

Kay from Windmeul Primary, who teaches Grade R in a multi-lingual school, felt that the training enhanced her ability to work with children from different language backgrounds. She stated that the training also enables her to include the use of language activities in all content areas and that the LEGO resources would excite learners to talk to each other. She is grateful for the opportunity and for receiving such a valuable resource that will benefit all her learners. She said, "The training was very helpful, and the resource will allow thinking and creativity and extend learners' vocabulary’’.

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Bev and Karen shared the photos that are included with this report.

 

ORT SA CAPE also took part in CHW's "making an impact" campaign, and you can see photos of some of the teachers holding up our "impact" sign. Teachers have a very important impact on children's futures, and it is wonderful that you have helped with the training of teachers by supporting ORT SA CAPE's programmes. Your kindness is giving many children in Cape Town the chance to have a better quality education and a brighter future.

Natasha (front left) at a workshop
Natasha (front left) at a workshop
Nomampondo (in the red cardigan) at a workshop
Nomampondo (in the red cardigan) at a workshop
Kay (in the striped sweatshirt) at a workshop
Kay (in the striped sweatshirt) at a workshop
Making an Impact!
Making an Impact!
Jul 17, 2019

You are making an impact for disadvantaged children and youth

Elizabeth attending the nursery class at New Life
Elizabeth attending the nursery class at New Life

Thank you for supporting this project, the "Impact Fund". Your help is making such a difference for the children and young people we work with around the world. In this update, we share with you some news about the children you have helped and how your donations will continue to help.

You have helped Dora and Elizabeth at New Life in Ghana. Dora grew up at New Life's home and is now taking a three-year vocational course on wedding decorations and sewing. Your contributions from the Impact Fund will provide her with a stipend for food for the next six months.

Elizabeth is a toddler, born to teenage parents. She lives with her mother and her family in a small village near New Life. Your donations have helped with her basic needs for this past school year, as well as covering the cost of her place at New Life's school, including educational materials and school lunches. This is giving her a better start to life.

You have also helped Casa Mea, a residential home in Romania, to keep going. The children and teenagers are all doing well. They have finished the school year and all are advancing into the next grade. A new girl, Simona, aged 15, came to live at Casa Mea last month. She is in the same class as Ana, one of the other girls at Casa Mea. Both Ana and Simona will be doing accountancy internships over the summer. In Romania, the final year of primary school is eighth grade. Cristina has just finished primary school and will be going to the local high school. She is 15 and, on Saturdays, she has been enjoying learning how to cut hair in a nearby salon. She hopes to do more work experience over the summer. Vlad is the oldest and he has just finished vocational school. He will be deciding what to do, whether it is continuing with his education or finding employment, in the near future. Raul is 14 and has just finished sixth grade. He has also completed two years of music lessons and he received a very high grade. He is a keen footballer and plays with a local young team. Thirteen-year-old twins, Livia and Stelian, will be going into eighth grade next year and the youngest, Robert, has just finished fourth grade.

At the end of eighth grade, children in Romania take an exam which determines where they will go to high school. Stelian would like to go to high school in the nearby city of Brasov, and will need a very good grade for this. Felicia, who manages Casa Mea, has asked if we can help with maths tuition for Stelian. This would cost around £379 for the year. So far, we have raised £284. If we struggle to raise the final £95 needed, we hope to be able to use future contributions to the Impact Fund to help with this.

We are also currently trying to raise funds to support the integration programme at Challenging Heights in Ghana. Challenging Heights rescues, rehabilitates and advocates for children trafficked into the fishing industry. They have asked us for help with £1000, which will help towards reuniting children with their families and offering them ongoing, holistic help. This will allow them to return to school, move on with their lives and to keep safe, so that they are not in the position of being trafficked again. As we are a small charity, it can be difficult to raise funds. However, our partner organisations are doing such great work. Any contributions, over the next month or so, may also help with supporting the wonderful, and vital, work being done for children at Challenging Heights.

Thank you very much for caring about the children and youth at our projects. It is so great that you are making such an impact for them.

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With thanks to Derrick and James at New Life, Jan and Felicia at Casa Mea and Jonathan and Willow at Challenging Heights for the updates and photos included in this report.

Dora working with materials
Dora working with materials
The children and teenagers at Casa Mea
The children and teenagers at Casa Mea
Challenging Heights- reuniting children & families
Challenging Heights- reuniting children & families
Jul 15, 2019

Teacher Training in Cape Town and Celebrating Mandela Day

Learning about using LEGO Six Bricks activies
Learning about using LEGO Six Bricks activies

Thank you very much for your support for ORT SA CAPE's science and educational programmes, for both children and teachers from disadvantaged communities in Cape Town. Your help is enabling children to receive a better standard of education.

In this report, we are excited to share with you an update from Karen at ORT SA CAPE and also some information about a special campaign for Mandela Day, which falls on 18 July.

A contribution given through CHW funded a two-day workshop, run by ORT SA CAPE, at the end of May. The workshop was on Developing Children's Perceptual Skills and LEGO Play Box and Six Bricks Activities. LEGO Play Boxes contain a variety of elements that are valuable as teaching and learning tools and which can be used to promote skills development and learning through play. LEGO Six Bricks activities also help children to develop and practice a range of skills. The workshop was held in the township of Khayelitsha.

The following update on the workshop is based on a report from Karen at ORT SA CAPE:

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"The two-day workshop was held at Molo Mhlaba, Harare, Khayelitsha. On the 29th May 2019, thirteen practitioners attended, from seven Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, namely, Molo Mhlaba, Tiny Tots, Little Stars, Masizame, Mihlali, Monwabisi and Thozama. The practitioners were very enthusiastic and full of energy. They were constantly reminded of the skills that the children can develop when using the different Six Bricks activities in their daily routine. They were particularly amazed that from just one activity many developmental areas can be focused upon. A simple example is that they were very astonished to notice that from simply throwing and catching a LEGO element:

  • The children are taught discipline because they are told when to throw and how many times to throw and catch;
  •  Children are taught to have confidence because no one is labelled as right or wrong even when they have not mastered the skill;
  • Children’s bodies are developing physically (with regards to their gross and fine motor skills);
  • Concentration and development of hand and eye coordination are developed;
  • Counting is encouraged and reinforced.

The practitioners were delighted to notice that there will be automatic integration of all learning areas when the children use Six Bricks to learn through play.

On the second day, a Play Box workshop took place. The practitioners arrived at training with even more enthusiasm, given their experience from the previous day. They were again very pleased to find out that just like Six Bricks, different skills were learnt with the many different elements of the Play Box. They were excited with the different activities and, when working in different groups, the groups were actually competing with each other.

It was an absolute pleasure working with this group of practitioners and we look forward to visiting the schools to support their implementation.

What did the practitioners think of the training?

Nolubabalo, from Molo Mhlaba, is a 4-5 age group practitioner. She said that she found the Six Bricks workshop helpful because in the past, she would just give the LEGO elements to her learners to have free play. After the workshop, she will now plan activities to be done in this time. She said that they will easily learn the Six Bricks colours, and shapes that can be found within a brick. She said that now that she has been trained the free play will no longer be just free play but will be planned, where learning will be guaranteed. She also said that because there is a lot of talking going on during the time spent playing with LEGO, that children’s speech and listening skills are developed as well. She said that it will now be easier for her to identify the skills that are lacking in children.

Nandipha, from Molo Mhlaba, teaches Grade R [Reception]. She said that she finds that Six Brick has a dual purpose. She as a teacher benefits while learners benefit too, because she teaches through play and learners learn through play and therefore everyone is happy. She said that Six Bricks will beneficial even for children who are introverts because they will certainly be attracted to the colours of the Six Bricks and their speech will be developed while they are developing cognitively at the same time.

Nokuthemba, from Tiny Tots, teaches 2 to 3 year olds. She said that she did not imagine that so many activities can be done with just Six Bricks. Her imagination only took her to just building with them. She felt that she can even go and train her colleagues, who were not at the workshop, so that their learners can also benefit.

Primrose, from Mihlali Autism Centre said that she was particularly excited about the training. In her class, there are 12 learners who are autistic. She said she always felt like she was not included in trainings, since she deals with children with special needs. Trainers would always say that training would not be beneficial to her field of work. She said that she was aware that some of her learners were going to struggle with some activities, but she feels confident that she will be able to adjust the activities, according to the abilities of the individual children with special needs. She said that she was confident that she will be able to teach her colleagues and will do so. She says in the past she had no idea of where to start teaching with LEGO in her environment but has now learned that with just six bricks, she can do a lot."

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GlobalGiving will be holding a special campaign on 18 July, which is Mandela Day. The campaign starts at 2 pm UK time (or 3pm in South Africa). This campaign is different from most of the other ones we have taken part in. Whilst matching funds last, donations will be partially matched, but it will be donations of over $100 (around £80) that will attract matching funds. If you would like to take part, so that you have the chance to get your donation partially matched, it is best to contribute as soon as the campaign begins, as matching funds can run out very quickly. More information is on the link and PDF below. If you want to give a smaller contribution, this would be very welcome too, as each and every donation will help to support ORT SA CAPE's educational programmes. Mandela Day is about changing the world for the better and your support for this project is making such a difference for the children and teachers who benefit.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity. Education is so important and your help is bringing about such a positive change for children from very disadvantaged backgrounds.

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