Learning Support Programme
Over the last three years SOS Africa has developed the Learning Support Programme offered to the Foundation Phase (grades 1 -3) children of our partnering schools. Our staff received excellent basic training and assessment tools through the WORDWORKS “Ready, Steady Read Write” Programme which has been adapted to ensure we meet the needs of each partnering school.
For the most part, each of our tutors work with 2 - 3 children per 40 minute session. These children attend Learning Support four days a week. Every week we follow the same programme of activities but with a new story.
After our 5 minute warm up of Brain Gym; a series of exercises designed to engage learning through movement; the children are relaxed and ready to absorb new lessons.
With each new story the lessons then follow these four predetermined steps:
- Reading the new story.
- Having discussions about the story highlighting new sounds and words.
- Writing or drawing something based on the story.
- Playing letter and sound games.
These include playdough (and other tangible materials) to physical shape letters. We also have “Letter Boxes” filled with a random assortment of items; the aim is for the child to pick out the item that begins with the letter on the box. These and many other games are developed to help the child learn through a process of playing and therefore greater understanding.
At the start and end of each term we test the children to assess their progress. Each child needs to progress through three levels of reading proficiency and comprehension before leaving our programme and returning to their classroom having caught up with the level of their fellow classmates. Our staff provide regular progress updates to the teachers and we all work together for the betterment of each child’s development.
Ultimately, the aim is not only to teach the children to simply read or write but also to comprehend, to question the story and form their own opinions. In grades 1 - 3 you learn to read but from grades 4 onwards you have to read in order to learn. If children are not properly prepared in the foundation of their education, with these fundamental yet basic skills, then the rest of the educational development is thwarted.
For more information about sponsoring the Learning Support of a child in South Africa, click here.