The holistic program contains five key components. These components enable the program to offer student support.
The first two components focus on the area of Literacy and Numeracy. LifeMatters Foundation (LMF) collaborates with the Shine Centre, an NGO that also promotes literacy programs in schools. The students’ literacy levels are assessed and those in need of individual attention are given an hour to two hours a week of literacy support through paired reading, the playing of word games and practicing writing with a trained volunteer at their own pace to overcome areas of difficulty. In order to support students in developing their numeracy levels; a trained volunteer sits with two Grade 2 learners, twice a week, and works through Mathematics problems and concepts relevant to their current level of learning. An occupational therapist has designed a numeracy curriculum tailored to the various competency levels of the students.
The third component is that of Counseling as the need for a regular visit of a counselor to a school was expressed by the schools participating in the numeracy and literacy program. LMF currently has 5 qualified counselors based in 5 schools, working with students referred by the teachers and principals, struggling in areas around: poor peer relationships; anger management issues, abuse and trauma. The counselors also work to identify cases and refer cases where young students are at risk or in need of care.
A further component is the offering of Life Skills Programs offered to various schools on an ad-hoc basis. These include:
• Teenage Awareness Weeks are run in various schools. Students are given information on a variety of relevant topics (such as self-esteem, drugs and relationships). These workshops are facilitated through singing, dance and drama, group discussion and guest speakers.
• Outreach opportunities: Grade 7s from one better performing school are partnered with an underperforming school to support Grade 1s for a reading activity.
• Grade 7 Camp: The high school drop-out rate is addressed on these camps through teaching Grade 7s that they have value and purpose and encouraging them to stay in school.
• Mentoring: Professionals volunteer to spend time with a group of children acting as a role model and inspiring them to make better life choices.
The fifth component draws on the offering of Occupational Therapy: group occupational therapy is on offer to the schools, incorporating movement and visual tasks for the purposes of brain development, with the ultimate aim of improving literacy and numeracy levels.Mobilizing volunteers from the community who help with numeracy & literacy or mentor those who are without functional families and positive role models, brings communities together, across socio-economic divides, who are often unaware of one another
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportTutoringTransitional supportLearning materials for studentsSchool support
Model details2000Not-for-profitMath/numeracyLiteracyOtherLife OrientationActiveLong-term projectShine
The participating schools are not charged for the literacy, numeracy and counselling interventions. The expense of which, is covered by donor funding.
Scale77 schools currently served by the project
Number of volunteers: 150June, 2014
The program started with 40 volunteers and three staff members and initially only counseling and life skills programs were offered. As barriers to learning were identified, the numeracy and literacy programs, accompanied by regular visits from counselors, were introduced.
Grow programs within existing schools to serve more students. Expand programs to include more schools. Replicate model in a way in which all five student support programs are available to all students.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Literacy: an accredited assessment tool is used to assess student progress three times a year
Occupational Therapy: the therapists are involved in measuring the student’s improvement
Counseling: a pre and post assessment is carried out in the form of a qualitative questionnaire completed by both the teacher and the counselor.Internal assessment performanceAbility to reach the poorStudent attendanceCost effectiveness/value for moneyNo