The aim of our work is to increase awareness and understanding in adults to meet more effectively the needs of young children’s development, particularly in preschools and daycare centres in low-income or marginal communities, currently in Cape Town and the Coffee Bay area of the Eastern Cape. Despite the programme being full and varied, and reaching many groups of women who work with young children, relatively little infrastructure is required to implement it: its strength and success lie in relationships of trust, understanding and care on which the women can build confidence and practical skill. This has a lasting positive effect in their communities as more small schools are developed.
FIRST CHILDREN PROGRAMME
Discussion Groups: a set series of conversational sessions with child minders, parents or classroom assistants, to introduce and discuss fundamental concepts and principles of child development and Montessori philosophy. Discussion in the home language is always preferable and facilitated whenever practical.
Practical Workshops: these are one-day workshops for classroom assistants and teachers who run schools in communities with few or no resources. Materials and equipment are provided and the sessions focus on developing the teachers’ own manual and design skills, as well as providing them with self-made resources for their classrooms.
Teacher Training Support: this support is much needed for individuals who have received limited schooling themselves and struggle with academic and practical study, especially in a second language. It can involve presentation of course work, discussion, mentoring and guided assessment.
School visits: these build relationships with the teachers who attend our programme and allow us to get a clearer picture of them in their schools; we also provide mentor support to continue to improve facilities, curriculum and practice.