The parent workshops by our trainer Renee Lighton which were started earlier this year have proven to be a success. The Anna Foundation fundamental belief is helping children build their self esteem and confidence. How better to do it with the support of both the facilitators AND parents of the children we are mentoring. As the traditional African expression goes – ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’In the rural communities in which the Anna Foundation works, children are faced with many barriers to their learning. Rural children begin their school careers at a disadvantage due to a lack of pre-education in the rural communities while there is a lack of stimulating resources and books in the home. Many parents are illiterate or semi-literate and do not always understand the importance of their child’s education. Having working parents means that children alone in the afternoon and so there is no support or supervision after school hours.

The need for parent workshops is extremely necessary in these rural communities where levels of unemployment are high. Parents who are at home with younger children could be contributing towards preparing them for school but this time is lost as caregivers are often unaware of how they can add value, stimulate and nurture their child’s development from an early age at home. The Anna Foundation recently held two education workshops for the parents of children attending two of their after-schools in the Langeberg. Moms in their late teens, grannies and caregivers, were transported from their respective farms to the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre in Robertson for the workshops. Sessions were run by Anna Foundation’s Head of Education Mary Luhdo, Director, Anna Brom and Renee Lighton (LightOn Education). Renee is renowned for using everyday recyclable material as teaching tools.

A variety of topics were covered using retail advertisements, bottle tops, egg boxes, and lids to demonstrate sorting activities, games that develop hand-eye coordination, counting and letter recognition. Reading (how to read to their children with expression and animation) and positive discipline techniques were also discussed. Parents reported having learned a great deal and went home with a collection of learning tools of their own to get started, including new story books to read to their children.
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Renee is a wife, mom, educational consultant, author, speaker, qualified life coach and Trained Demartini Method Facilitator with a passion for lifelong education at her company Lighton. Her qualifications include a BA and Diplomas in Specialised Education; Foundation Phase and Montessori Pre-Primary education. Renee delights in variety and offers her clients workshops, coaching and programmes to suit their specific needs whether in education or in their personal development and transformation journey.