|IN OUR JUNE EDITION:|
3 R's News, Exams and Rewards
In June, due to the school exams, the normal routine of the 3 R’s programme tends to be quite interrupted so we roll with it and take this into consideration with our planning.
Before the school exams start, our learners complete both a literacy and maths revision worksheet. Following this, all Anna Foundation learners write a grade-specific exam for which the results are recorded and used as part of the monitoring and evaluation of our education programmes. It is therefore vital that the children are not assisted by the facilitators in any way (except when explaining questions to the Grade R and 1 children who can’t yet complete formal assessments unassisted).
Added to the exam mark is a reading assessment mark which includes points for fluency, tone, recognising punctuation and reading with understanding. As Grade R’s can’t yet read, they are required to tell their facilitator a story from interpreting a series of pictures and Grade 1’s need to be able to recognise individual sounds and sound combinations. The exam results are paired with the reading assessment mark to give an overall figure for the child’s academic performance for the semester. Facilitators are required to write a comment for each learner which is then included on a report card and handed out at the end of term.
In the final week of the school term, we learn about the history of inventions and have fun building and constructing a few of these contraptions, including the clock and the very first airplane.
In between the desk-work, the children get doses much-needed fresh air with some exciting soccer games which require loads of running. In the drama programme our Grade R – 3’s continue to play fun games which teach them about managing their anger while the Grade 4 – 7’s delve back into creative stories.
And at the end of a busy 6 months we love to treat our deserving children to a reward. Some of our Ashton learners were lucky enough to watch a movie at neighbouring farm, Viljoensdrift and others were treated to milkshakes and a toasted sandwich! Of course, this was only applicable to children who attended the after school regularly and showed good behaviour and cooperation (that said, very few children missed out on these exciting outings!).
Thanks to Lindi Viljoen (Viljoensdrift) and Amanda de Wet (Excelsior) for your support, for treating the children and for assisting with transport!
Life Skills Interview Findings
In order to monitor our life skills (‘Right-ing’) programme, we need to determine how it is impacting on the children’s overall self-development and self-esteem. In 2014 we started assessing the drama life skills programme by conducting one on one interviews with the facilitators in the Langeberg and Boland, and a sample group of learners. The aim was to monitor the success, appeal and impact of the drama programme and to evaluate whether there have been any perceived changes in the children’s behaviours and attitudes.
The interviews done during June 2015 have been compared to the interviews done in November 2014 where three common trends have been identified: Improved ability to recall experiences, improved ability to elaborate on answers and improved critical awareness (analysing experiences). The facilitator interviews were then compared to those done with the children, and their experiences correlated on almost every aspect.
Here are some of the other observations from the June 2015 interviews:
Interview Confidence: In 2014, children in the Langeberg really struggled with the interviews and gave little more than yes/no answers (with much encouragement) while other questions were answered with “I don’t know”. While the learners still struggle to express themselves in full sentences and are still visibly shy, there is a noticeable improvement in their ability to remember specific activities, to elaborate on their answers and to analyse their experiences on a superficial level.
Classroom Confidence: Most children express a fear of public speaking in the classroom although they admit to feeling less shy at the time of the June 2015 interview compared to the previous one in November. On this note, facilitators add that children have become more willing to speak in front of their peers due to the many opportunities to practice public speaking during the drama classes. Facilitators find learners to be more respectful of the person speaking by listening intently, not laughing at inappropriate moments and applauding every effort, which increases the class’s overall confidence.
Problem Solving: Most children find solving social problems in the classroom difficult and at first would resort to violence. Strong guidance is required from facilitators during drama games which focus on solving social problems. Both the children and facilitators find that coming up with solutions to problems improve with practice and facilitators noted that the children’s ability to solve problems is being seen in other areas of the after-school programme as well.
Daily Influence: Although the majority of children interviewed are still unaware of consciously connecting what they learn in the drama lesson to their everyday lives, the facilitators report that they see the learners applying the drama skills and values in other areas of the after-school and that they actively remind the children to apply these skills.
General Findings: The majority of facilitators feel positive and encouraged by the progress that they are experiencing in the drama programme, noting increased self-esteem, respect, communication skills and creativity in the learners. They have also observed how the storytelling and performance games have helped the children to see each other in a more positive light. The children have come to value one another’s ideas and opinions and this has resulted in them being more willing to take creative risks and to grow in their ability to think on their feet.
Facilitator's Team Building
Due to June’s training date coinciding with the start of the school holidays we decided to use the opportunity to treat our facilitators to a special team building training session. Much to the excitement of all our Boland facilitators, we also decided to host the training in Robertson and bus all our Boland staff up to join in the fun! At the training, everyone got involved in an energising and fun drama workshop giving all facilitators a perfect opportunity to unwind, have fun and get to know one another better. This was followed by a session with suggestions for the upcoming holiday. Activities and game ideas were taken from books by education specialist, Renee Lighton – these fun games use every day recyclable material such as cereal and egg boxes, and toilet roll inners (accessible to everyone!). We taught staff how to turn these waste products into various tools that can enhance fine motor skills, reading and even maths. The training session closed with an introduction of mixed games and sports to be used during the holiday period. To show our appreciation for all the hard work done during the first semester, facilitators were treated to a half-year celebration – lunch at the Robertson Dros!
Cape Town Marathon Motivation
A group of everyday people (some who've run crazy distances before and others who haven't - yet) are committed to take on the Cape Town Marathon and raising funds for us while they do it! Just in case the 'fuzzy feeling' they get when raising funds isn't enough, we are throwing in an incentive and will reward the runner who has raised the most by Friday, 10 July with a two night, log cabin getaway to the stunning KolKol Mountain Lodge in the Overberg!
Want to run? The Anna Foundation will cover your race entry (including temp licence and Race Tec Chip) in exchange for a bit of fundraising - aiming for R1000. You will receive an official event shirt, and a newly-designed Anna Foundation running shirt in which to run. We still have a few spots left for anyone else keen to tackle the marathon so please contact Carolyn if this is you. Go on, challenge yourself!
- Tekco: We appreciate your generous donation
- Lilla Howe Trust: Monthly donation
- Croft Trust: Monthly donation
- Dr Brom: Monthly donation
- de Villiers Family: Monthly donation
- van der Merwe Family: Financial support for school tuition
- 1%Club Members: We appreciate your support
- Kargo National: Funding of facilitators and truck branding
- Operation Shoebox
- J E T Lee Will Trust: Donation
- VinPro: Winter Warmer Drive
- GivenGain Donors
- Boland Gazette: Thank you for your support, Michelle!
- MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and all our 'card swipers'