A school has the potential to be the epicentre of a community. Many thousands of children spend years under the influence of the Principal and teachers. Sadly a vast majority of government schools are under resourced and ill equipped to deal with the multiple challenges that come with educating children from a fractured society.
ABOUT READ TO ME LITERACY PROGRAMME
Children who can read have opportunity.
With 11 official South African languages, 70% of our children are taught to read in their home language until the end of Grade 3. In Grade 4, there is a switch and a majority are then taught in English.
Most have not mastered reading for meaning in their first language and then they are expected to learn in English. Without the ability to understand what they read, learners are unable to engage with what they are being taught and as a result they fall behind. It is no surprise then, that results of a ten year global literacy study by the University of Pretoria in 2016, revealed that 78% of South African Grade 4 learners cannot read for basic meaning in any of the 11 national languages.
South African children were placed last in 50 countries for reading comprehension. Our goal is to change this narrative and equip learners in our under resourced schools to read in English with comprehension. This is a life skill that will provide them the opportunity to further their academic careers and obtain employment in the future.
Short term objectives:
- Teach learners from under resourced schools in Grade 1 to 4 to read in English with comprehension using the Gateway to Reading Program.
- Equip and support the Foundation phase teachers of these schools to continue incorporating and using the skills and resources received from this program in their classrooms.
Long term objectives:
- Break the poverty cycle.
- Literate young people have an opportunity to up-skill themselves and obtain quality employment.
- Skilled workers can change the South African economy.
ABOUT STEP AHEAD
Emotionally healthy and socially invested people change communities.
Many South African children come from communities that are dealing with extreme poverty and traumatic social issues. These challenges are often carried to school and expressed in negative behaviour issues or an inability to engage fully in the classroom.
Research from around the world has shown that introducing social-emotional learning to children at a young age can enhance their academic performance, improve classroom behaviour, decrease instances of depression and increase their ability to manage stress. In the long term as students leave school it can reduce poverty, decrease crime and increase social awareness. Emotional and social skills are also regarded as exceptionally valuable in the workplace.
According to a report from the World Bank Group, 79 % of employers list social-emotional skills as being the most important qualities for determining an individuals’ chances of success. The goal is transformed classrooms and communities with individuals managing their lives in a responsible and productive way.
Short term objectives:
- Reduce the levels of troublesome behaviour in the schools and create a less stressful learning environment for both the children and teachers.
- Increase engagement of learners in the classroom.
- Improve learner/ teacher interaction.
Long term objectives:
- Improved self management and positive interaction in the community.
- Reduced levels of violence and negative social behaviour.
- Greater success in the future work place.
“South African children deserve a quality education that develops both academic, social and emotional competence. This will equip them to overcome life’s many challenges and enable them to thrive in the future.”
What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?
“The process of developing self awareness, self control and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work and life success.”
Recognising one’s emotions and values as well as one’s strengths and challenges.
Showing understanding, empathy and respect for others including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Forming positive relationships, working in teams, dealing effectively with conflict. An ability to communicate effectively, engage socially, build relationships, and engage in teamwork.
RESPONSIBLE DECISION MAKING
Making ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behaviour.
The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviours in different situations.