Project Summary : A Chance for Every Child (C4EC)
For over 30 years Adult Education has been at the forefront of The Novalis Ubuntu Institute, especially for adults working with children. In addition to launching Waldorf Teacher Training in 1998 through the Novalis College, a teacher enrichment programme, “Putting the Heart back into Teaching”, was created and launched in 1990.
This programme with its underpinnings in Rudolf Steiner’s educational principles, served as an enrichment project for more than 60,000 local teachers and the knowledge and strategies gained are still implemented in our public schools today.
The Novalis Orphan and Vulnerable Children’s (OVC) Programme with its child based approach was successfully implemented in 10 Children’s Homes, including Places of Safety and Centres for Youth awaiting trial. The OVC Programme provided creative and developmental activities for children 8-12 years old, adolescents 13-18 years old, including mentoring support for Child-Headed households.
The management, board and staff of these institutions participated in the organisational development aspect of the programme. This programme also established numerous food gardens on the premises of these institutions, an unique opportunity to not only teach about growing your own food and good nutrition, but offered an activity shared and enjoyed by both children and adults. Caregivers were also provided with therapeutic support.
Issues identified during these sessions led to the development of the Caregivers Wellness Programme. Aimed at addressing the issue of burnout it provided these adults with valuable insight on identifying the symptoms of burnout, and how to take care of themselves thus preventing the repetition of burnout. A number of caregivers from the 35 registered children’s homes in the Western Cape attended this programme as well as caregivers working with children in severely disadvantaged communities.
As early as 2012 one of the biggest challenges identified by this entire group was in the area of education in South Africa. This led to an internal needs analysis indicating that children from disadvantaged communities were struggling at school, posing a host of problems that teachers found difficult in dealing with. Based on the premise that children from disadvantaged communities are “special needs “ children, a new project, “ A Chance for Every Child”, was launched.
A Chance for Every Child is designed to bring together teachers, caregivers, parents, civil society and members of the education department to jointly work together, firstly to identify the challenges in working with these special needs children, to establish a working model that can be implemented in selected pilot schools, monitored and evaluated to ultimately include more schools as the impact is established.
The Novalis Ubuntu Institute with its knowledge of Waldorf curative pedagogy and success in “Putting the Heart Back into Teaching” and OVC Programmes, will use its expertise to lead this project and to support participating teachers and learners.