Emyezweni January 2010

January 2010

Volunteers.

Emyezweni has continued to benefit from the relationship we have developed with a South African travel organization called Travel SA. We received eight overseas volunteers last year who worked in school from one to three months and the children have loved learning about their homes and different cultures. Emyezweni staff have enjoyed making new friends and the volunteers have each told us how they have loved working with our special children.

This will continue in February 2010 when we will welcome more volunteers through this organization.

During September 2009 we also had the pleasure of a visit from Beth Blackmore from the UK; Beth helped out in each class, came on the grade R outing and made a special Emyezweni film for our Grade R sponsors.

January 2010 has seen us welcome another full time member of staff, Sarah Richards from the UK is now teaching our Grade 2/3 class. Sarah is a newly qualified teacher and will be working alongside other staff members to provide a full and varied curriculum for our oldest class.

Medical Screening.

All of the children in Emyezweni benefit from regular medical screening and care from our school doctor Dr Susan Bingham, this means we can catch medical problems quickly and access levels of treatment not available to most South Africans. Through our connections with Dr Bingham and our Early Years network we are now involved with a programme run by the medical students from the University of Cape Town which will benefit at least 500 children in the communities of Lwandle and Nomzamo. This is a pilot programme which began initially in Emyezweni and is now being rolled out through other pre-schools in the locality.

Grade R Outing to the Aquarium.

During the second half of last term the Grade R class went to Cape Town’s V and A Waterfront to visit the Two Oceans Aquarium. This was part of our topic work on animals and was funded by the Ukuthasa sponsorship programme. We spent a wonderful morning exploring the animals and watching a puppet show which explained the aquatic food chain . It was a warm sunny day so we ate lunch outside and then spent a few hours looking at the boats and street theatre at the Waterfront. The children drew quite a crowd when they began dancing to some street musicians and we were asked to come back and perform again!

jan-2010-fishbowlHaving fun inside one of the fish tanks!

Christmas.

Thanks to the generosity of Helderberg Christian Church we were once again able to hold an Emyezweni Christmas party and give each child a gift. The party was held on the last Friday of term and many volunteers came and helped us with preparation and serving the children. We had some great entertainment from Nick Groves and Daniel Bowley who came armed with their guitars and sang and danced with the whole school. Father Christmas arrived after lunch and each child went home with a present chosen for them by their class teachers.

Everyone returned to school at 6.00pm for our Christmas play and Graduation ceremony which went very smoothly this year! The Grade R and nursery children acted out the nativity story with some African twists and help from the toddler class. The Grade 1 class shared their best school experiences in Xhosa and English and the Grade 3 children showed off their recorder playing skills. Twenty two children from the Grade R class graduated and received their certificate and a pencil case full of writing equipment. These children have now returned to school to form our Grade 1 class for 2010.

jan-2010-shepherds

Children from the nursery class in their Shepherd outfits.

Staff Training.

After the children finished school in December our staff team had three days of training and equipping for the new school year. We spent one full day planning and preparing our classrooms and curriculum for January and a morning working on our new handwriting policy. The second afternoon we did some HIV training using resources from Tearfund which made us look in more depth at our school response to children and families affected and infected with HIV. The third day was spent on ‘health and wellbeing’, where we looked at relaxation techniques and had a morning making and trying out beauty treatments on each other. This was a really special time and helped to develop deeper staff relationships. One of our teachers told me that she has never done anything like this before and that she would “remember this day for the rest of my life” – for positive reasons I hope! We finished the day off with a late lunch at the Spur restaurant and everyone went home feeling full and beautiful!

 

jan-2010-friends

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