September is literacy month and a time to reflect on the fact that after 24 years of democracy, the great majority of our young children are not able to read, or understand what they read. … This is not government’s problem alone – it is every South African’s problem. It is the one thing that this country must get right. With millions of children in this country not learning to read and write successfully, what hope do we have of a better future?’
In our latest newsletter, read Shelley O’Carroll’s thought-provoking piece on the literacy crisis we face in South Africa. We also share some inspiring photos, news and tips from our Home-School Partnerships Programme – one way in which dedicated teachers and parents are facing up to this challenge.
Enjoy the read!
We were proud to share our learning about early literacy materials development in isiXhosa at the 2018 UWC Conference on Early Childhood Literacy Development. We also attended the launch of a book from last year’s conference: From Words to Ideas: The role of literacy in enhancing young children’s development.
Shelley O’Carroll and Isabella Hugow, together with Arnold Matzdorff, contributed a chapter to this book entitled ‘Assessment of Early Literacy development in under-resourced communities in South Africa’.
To order a copy of the book, email Prof Vuyokazi Nomlomo at UWC – firstname.lastname@example.org (R150 a copy).
There are so many women who have contributed to early literacy through our programmes with great dedication and passion! We are not able to introduce all of them, but we know that those who we have featured will inspire you.
Wordworks attended the AGM of one of our Lead Partners, the Langeberg ECD Forum in Montagu, on Thursday 16 August. The event was well attended, with 21 ECD centres from Robertson, Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Montagu being represented. Also there were Augusta Brandt and Melissa Jacobs, National and Western Province chairpersons of the South African Congress of Early Childhood Development (SACECD).
Wordworks distance mentors, Cathy and Gaynor, were happy to have the opportunity to speak about the HSPP and the impact this programme can have on parents and families. This year, trained facilitators from 8 ECD centres in the Langeberg region, are running the programme with their parents.
We were privileged to be able to visit all these sites the day before the AGM and were encouraged by the wonderful work and commitment that we witnessed on our visit, despite many challenges faced by these communities.
It gave us special pleasure to be able to hand over a Wordworks gift pack of books, puzzles and games to each of the 21 centres attending the AGM.
The Inkwenkwezi Society aims to implement change through the use of preventative resources provided by national NGOs – such as Wordworks and Shine, to enhance the individual strengths of pupils as well as promote their mental well-being and resilience in schools around Grahamstown…at the end of a child’s programme, there is a notable difference in their self-esteem in that the students are more capable and confident in reading, writing and speaking in English. In addition, the programme has had a positive impact on each child’s sense of self-worth as they feel they have role to play in the classroom and want to be there.
180 teacher-facilitators and the Wordworks team met at 6 affirming and inspiring cluster sessions during July and August. The purpose was to reflect on their parent sessions as well as to refresh new and current activities to support their parents with informal learning in their homes.
The teachers reflected on the positive impact the HSP had on their parents. Many parents informed them that the support not only helped their children improve in the classroom, but also nurtured a closer bond between child and parent/s. Teachers also reported that they have developed a better relationship with the parents who attended and that these parents are now more hands-on with their children’s learning.
The teachers themselves find that they have benefited from the skills acquired through the programme and have implemented these in their own classrooms as well. Some have taken on new opportunities and responsibilities at their schools since being involved in the HSP Programme.
See our Facebook picture album here: Thank you all for your great participation in these sessions.
In 2015 the Curriculum Directorate of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) partnered with Wordworks to take its Emergent Literacy Project (ELIT) to Grade R classrooms across the eight education districts of the Western Cape. ELIT incorporates the STELLAR Programme (Strengthening Teaching of Early Language and Literacy in Grade R) which Wordworks developed, implemented and refined over several years.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to deliver findings which illuminate the effectiveness of the Emergent Literacy ‘cascaded training with support’ dissemination model. By drawing on the key implementers’ (the WCED subject advisors and lead teachers) accounts of the roll out, the research seeks to provide insights for future dissemination, refinement or replication of the ELIT project or similar large-scale training interventions in state primary schooling.
Read this report here.
The CareUp project is a mobile communication intervention initiated by the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape, and jointly funded by the DSD-WC and Innovation Edge. It targets both practitioners at Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres working with classes of 4 to 5-year old children; and parents of the children in their class. CareUp aims to support quality communication between the parent, caregivers and their children.
Read the executive summary of the evaluation report here.
This report documents an evaluation of the Every Word Counts programme (EWC) in Worcester, Western Cape, a partnership between Wordworks and the Foundation for Community Work (FCW) funded by RCL Foods. The evaluation aimed firstly to assess whether the model of delivery had effectively deepened participants’ understanding of early learning and language development, taught participants practical skills and activities and enabled participants to apply what they had learned; and secondly, how well the delivery and support model was working.
Read this report here.