Thanks to everyone who participated in the really exciting and intense discussion about the important issue of learning to read in African languages hosted by Education Fishtank and Funda Wande in June. The panel represented a wide range of expertise, experience and passion in the field.
Big themes included: how language and power are interlinked; the complexity and necessity of standardising languages; validating non-standard language use in homes and classrooms; encouraging bi-literacy; the need for local research that informs teaching practice; the importance of looking at literacy beyond the classroom context.
At certain points the discussion drew on linguistics and focussed in on the structure and orthography of different African languages and the implications for teaching and assessing reading development. Panellists agreed that dramatic swings in curricula over the past decades have undermined teachers’ confidence and professional agency.
There was also a strong sense that an integrated and balanced approach to the teaching of early language and literacy was needed, as opposed to the staged learning of distinct skills. A strong case was made for valuing oral storytelling, songs and rhymes in the teaching of reading and writing, and the need for more books in African languages to ensure that children have opportunities for meaningful engagement with plentiful and rich texts.
The panel was united in supporting collaboration between role players in the interests of tackling a catastrophic failure of our system to teach children to read with meaning and to express their ideas in writing.
Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) tutors from across the Cape Metro came together during May at 7 different cluster meetings to reflect on their sites, solve problems and share ideas with each other and their Wordworks mentors.
We enjoyed the opportunity to refresh tutors’ content knowledge- how to support young children’s writing was the focus of the clusters this year.
Tutors were also excited to think about more ways they could become literacy champions in their communities.
Great fun was had as people connected and left inspired to continue the valuable work they do with young children.
See our full album on our Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/wordworksSA/
Dedicated and competent teachers and enthusiastic, determined parents make for vibrant and engaging Home-School Partnerships Programme workshops!
We have compiled an picture album of Teacher-facilitators and parents exploring ways to support their children’s informal learning at home through interactive story-telling, warm-up activities, sharing stories, homework and ideas, writing, making little books, games, and more.
Over 120 new HSP Teacher-facilitators attended training over three Saturdays earlier this year, joining 184 established Teacher-facilitators working with parents in the Metro and on the West Coast.
See our album on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wordworksSA/, and look out for more albums as the workshops progress.
Parents will attend a total of eight two-hour sessions culminating in a certification event organised by the Teacher-facilitators.
17 participants from eight NGOs working in the Western Cape have completed a series of nine monthly Every Word Counts (EWC) training sessions. They are from Capespan, Foundation for Community Work, GCU, Philani, Sikhula Sonke, Unogwaja Charitable Fund, Valley Development Projects, and Yumna First Steps.
These NGOs are sharing EWC with home visitors, in parent groups, with ECD practitioners, and using the ideas and activities with children. Our last training day was filled with highlights – experiencing the close connections we have developed as a group over the past year, sharing our learning with each other and invited guests, and receiving lots of lovely resources to encourage young children to have fun learning maths concepts.
Here Lusanda Stemele and Mercedes Artigue-Beatty from Unogwaja Charitable Fund in Langa share their highlights of the training.
These partners will continue to be connected to us as members of our WordNetworks and receive support from the team as they share EWC with new groups of parents, home visitors and ECD practitioners.
Read more about EWC – supporting the learning of babies and young children – on our website.
Wordworks was busy way beyond the Cape Town Metro last weekend, training and supporting HSPP facilitators in Vredendal. Schools from Lutzville, Nuwerus, Koekenaap, Nieuwoudtville, Vredendal and as far as Moreesburg were represented.
We are encouraged by the fact that seven of the nine schools that attended training last year have committed to continue working with parents in 2018, and three new schools have come on board.
We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with West Coast Education District in this exciting initiative.
The Wordworks trainers will return for Parts 2 and 3 of the Facilitator training in March and April respectively. All the schools involved will receive our high quality resources for their parents.
Special thanks to the dedicated teachers who travelled long distances to do the training!
Pictured here are some of the 2018 trainees, including two school principals, a social worker and three retired teachers.
Wordworks is running another Every Word Counts (EWC) Programme training this year in Cape Town for organisations that work with families or ECD centres. We will focus on how to support early learning and the language development of babies and young children. The training takes place monthly from 27 March to 30 October.
Interested organisations are invited to attend an EWC information session on 20 February from 10am to 1pm at Novalis Ubuntu Institute, Rosmead Avenue, Wynberg
RSVP: email@example.com or call 021-7889233 for more information.
Read more about this programme here
We have experienced high levels of energy and optimism amongst the wonderful teachers returning to another year of early literacy and language support to the families of their school community. We had four fruitful planning sessions with over 200 established teacher-facilitators in January, and look forward to our training sessions with new teacher-facilitators over the next month.
The HSP team also welcomes two new Mentors, Gaynor Cozens who retired from Merrydale Primary School, and Faheema Hassiem who is a retired Learning Support teacher from Norwood and Valhalla Primary schools. Both of them ran the HSPP at their respective schools.
In addition, Lavinia Davis has joined the HSPP team for this term and Lorna Solomons is assisting in the training of new HSPP facilitators. We have greatly valued their participation at our sessions for old and new Teacher-facilitators, and look forward to a great year together.
See more pictures on our Facebook page.
Read more about the HSP Programme here.
Volunteer tutors celebrated for their support of young children learning to read and write
60 Co-ordinators of Wordworks’ Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) programme gathered this week to celebrate another successful year of running this early literacy programme at schools and organisations.
These community volunteers, trained by Wordworks managed over 300 volunteer tutors at more than 50 RSRW sites across the Cape Metro and in the West Coast. This annual event is to thank these literacy champions, who give freely of their time, for their unwavering commitment to the programme.
At this heart-warming event, motivational speaker, Heidi Volkwyn and singer, Phillip Cornelius, reminded the tutors that they are true heroes to the learners whose lives they are changing for the better, thanks to their loving and focused attention.
Coordinators Diane Links, Mareldia Bressick and Guswill Cleophas shared their uplifting experiences of the sometimes challenging, but immensely rewarding journey of running the programme at their sites this year.
See our Facebook page for an album of pictures taken at this event.
HSPP trainers from Wordworks made a special trip to Bonnievale to facilitate the first HSPP Training of Trainers on 27 November.
We are delighted to be working with Capespan and Langeberg Trainers as our lead partners in this new venture.
This will enable our partners to train new facilitators and extend the reach of the HSPP.
We are excited that so many more parents will gain valuable insight into how to support their children’s early learning at home.
In November, Brigid Comrie and Faith Shabangu from Wordworks attended a graduation event for Early Childhood Development practitioners and Foundation for Community Work (FCW) home visitors who attended monthly #EveryWordCounts workshops in Worcester in 2017.
The programme was delivered by FCW over 10 months, and was funded by RCL Foods.
Participants each received a pack of animal memory cards donated by Barrows, and 12 practitioners and home visitors received prizes for using the CareUp parenting App regularly over the past 4 months.