This week we’d like to share some insight into the projects being run by Philangethemba (meaning ‘living through hope’). The South African based organisation resides in Molweni and has worked with Soul of Africa for many years! One of the major focuses of the organisation is to try and create stimulating and engaging environments for young children, including sharing the value of play-time and creative activities. Their programme currently reaches out to parents and young children in multiple ways!
Teacher Training Centre
The organisation offers a formal NQ4 training course for crèche practitioners. The course spans an 18-month period, with an afternoon of training each week. The course is overseen by ‘The Teachers Learning Centre’ in Johannesburg and they ensure that students pass every assignment in order to qualify. Progress is reviewed by partners of Philangethemba, and organisation called The Love Trust.
Saturday morning workshop are held on a quarterly basis and all of the training crèche practitioners are welcome to join. The workshop offers an opportunity for hands-on learning through creative activities in a classroom environment, such as making calendars and birthday cards. Outside speakers often visit along with workshop leaders from the wider community, and provide further insight from their experience as professionals in Early Childhood Development. These mornings offer a valuable opportunity for crèche teachers to network and learn from one another.
Parents Group – Working to Play and Playing to Learn
Local parents with children under the age of five are welcomed to come and be involved in a ‘learning to play and playing to learn’ initiative. Research by Stanford University looking at the effects of poverty found that by the age of 3, children from high-income families have been exposed to 30 million more words than from children on welfare. At a time when children rapidly absorb information from their surroundings, this type of disparately in exposure to enriching environments is very important! Further down the line, skills in learning and language have huge effects on school performance and subsequently life outcomes.
The group aims to engage children in multiple ways by exploring play, stories, reading, new environments, varied activities and social situations. Many of the attendees are young, unmarried mothers who in often have not received the opportunity to learn about how to stimulate and engage their little ones – thus the group can be completely life-changing in the early years of development.
Projects at the St. Agnes Church’s Employment Bureau
Unemployed people (many from the Molweni Valley) flock to St Agnes church on a Tuesday morning hoping to find a job through the Church employment bureau.
Many of those who are parents have never had the opportunity to attend quality early learning programmes and the crèches in their local communities are often poorly resourced. The project is working on using the St. Agnes Church as an opportunity to reach out to parents and encourage them to integrate play and stimulation into their routines and to participate in activities that inspire creativity.
At first, those who visited the Church as Job Seekers were wary of the children’s activity groups; however, participation continues to grow and the project is now seeing a mixture of both men and women. People come from a wide surrounding area to visit the Church, and they have begun to spread what they have learned in their local communities – a promising sign that everyone enjoys the groups and believe in the difference they make!