Over the past few weeks, we have seen tremendous progress in the children attending the Jujurha Early Learning Centre. They are far more outgoing, demanding (in the best possible way!), and engaging. We are also seeing the impact of the educational programme on their ability to do puzzles (children who could not piece together a 4-piece puzzle 3 months ago are now happily completing 24-piece puzzles), to recognize and write numbers, to order and sort objects, to construct toys etc. And the daily creative activities have filled the children’s classrooms and workbooks with delightful artwork! We have also introduced musical instruments into the weekly routine, and library time.
All of this is made possible by the dedication, creativity and commitment of our teachers and trainee teachers (Funeka Jija, Xolisa Dayimani, Nangamso Debe, Nokonwaba Mbi, and Phikiswa Gashe) and the excellent leadership of our education projects co-ordinator, Annette Champion.
We are also very fortunate to have the support of a visiting volunteer from the USA, Karen Kievit. Karen has 15 years experience in special needs education and has already assisted in developing tools for use with children who have behavioural problems / severe developmental delays, and in teacher training and development.
Our staff development programme currently includes weekly teacher training sessions and classroom support and supervision. Staff also attend ad hoc training courses, and are encouraged to share their newly acquired skills with the rest of the team, in this way consolidating their learnings and developing valuable workshopping skills.
We plan on expanding our staff development programme next year by enrolling our teaching assistants on SETA accredited training programmes to enable them to work towards a National Certificate in early childhood development.