MENTORSHIP PROGRAMME

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We wanted to make sure that our programme would be able to be expanded to impact on as many children as possible, and therefore decided to use a mentorship model. Our knowledge and programme is shared with each of our mentors, who each empower a number of teachers, who then positively impact every child that attends their crèches now and in the future. The more mentors we train, the greater the reach of the programme.

When one considers that almost 80% of a person’s brain potential is developed by the age of four, this is the time when we should be investing as much as we can in a child. If we don’t build those foundations, the child is really at a disadvantage in formal schooling.

The lack of these vital foundations can be seen in the fact that:

  • the Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum in 2014 rated South Africa as 144th out of 144 countries in Maths and Science (The black and red lines on the graph show when these concepts should start to be introduced).
  • the Annual National Assessment results (ANA’s) released by the Dept of Education for 2014 puts the average achievement in numeracy in Grade 5 as 37% and in Grade 9 as 11%.
  • less than half of the children who start Grade 1 this year will reach Matric.
  • of those that do reach Matric, a quarter of them will not be able to achieve the 30% pass mark.

Singakwenza believes strongly in empowering women who are self-motivated, but may not have had access to further education due to financial constraints. We work with crèche teachers who have shown initiative and commitment, by helping them to make their crèches into educational facilities rather than a baby-sitting service. We encourage them to grow their own crèches into a sustainable business which offers a solid educational foundation for their children, and to continue independently once we have given them the skills and the knowledge. The mentors, who speak the same language and are from the same cultural background as the crèche teachers, spend one day a week in each of their 4 crèches. They go every week for a minimum of two years, teaching the caregiver how to educate the children in her care using the resources made from recycling, and why it is so important to do this. Their role is to walk alongside these crèche teachers, guiding and encouraging them towards a daily fun, structured, educational programme so that when we leave, the programme will continue without us.

In addition, our Occupational Therapist assists our crèche teachers, who are involved in the mentorship programme, to do early identification of issues that can affect the children’s ability to learn and help them to refer these children to the correct governmental departments and services. She has also developed some simple Occupational Therapy lessons that the teachers can do with all the children to limit some of the developmental delays that can happen if the child is not exposed to these activities at the right age.