In November, 115 teachers from 34 schools received certificates from Wordworks for conducting a series of workshops with parents and caregivers of young children that attend their schools. The workshops aim to build closer ties between homes and schools, and give parents ideas and resources for supporting informal learning in their homes.
These teachers have joined the growing network of teachers facilitating the Home-School Partnerships (HSP) Programme. After volunteering to participate in the programme, the teachers were trained and supported by Wordworks to take parents through an early literacy course, conducted on weekends and after school hours. These workshops give parents practical ways of supporting their young children’s learning at home. Over 1000 parents from 69 schools/organisations successfully completed the 8-week course this year.
Of the 115 teachers who received Wordworks certificates, 36 also registered for the HSP Programme through the University of Cape Town and received a UCT short course certificate. These teachers are looking beyond their classrooms, to involve and celebrate the role of parents as partners in educating young children.
At the happy and inspiring certification event, Sharon Lewin, a Deputy Chief Education Specialist for People Management in the Metro South Education District, commended these teachers for their dedication and hard work. ‘You might think you are only making a small difference, but in fact you are nation builders,’ Lewin said. She said that the WCED’s mandate is to ensure quality education for every child in every school, in every classroom, and through the Home-School Partnership Programme, teachers were providing support for quality learning in every home. Wordworks director, Shelley O’Carroll, proposed that providing opportunities for parents to learn how to support their children at home is key to improving our literacy results and ensuring more children reach their potential.
A teacher who facilitated the course says, ‘When we engage with parents, we become one of them. It’s my community, I am part of the group. We are giving back. My husband tells me I am lit up. It works for me, it works for the community, it works for the child. It’s not work – it’s something that we want to do.’
A parent who completed the course says, ‘The … classes were exciting– the reading, conversations, the how, what and why… My daughter talks so much more now. She shows much more interest in reading. Also the class gave me more confidence, more patience.’