At this time of year, matric students suddenly seem to wake up to the fact that their final exams are around the corner, and panic sets in. Maths seems to be the major bugbear for most. For the past couple of years, the Enlighten Education Trust has run a week-long winter school during the July holidays to mentor and coach students who feel they need the extra support. This is an extension to the Saturday morning coaching sessions run throughout the year by Enlighten’s Maths facilitator, Frank Coetzer. Last year, for the first time, Qhayiya Secondary students coached by him obtained an average of 74% in their final exams.
This year 19 students from Qhayiya and Hermanus High attended every day of the five-day course and Frank expressed his delight at the level of commitment and hard work they put in. He is confident that this concentrated session will make all the difference to their results.
The previous week, no one was counting their words when Lesley Beake of the Children’s Book Network (www.childrensbook.co.za) ran a three-day workshop in collaboration with Enlighten. Indeed, a storm of words was let loose at the Enlighten Centre, which still echoes in its hall and training rooms. Twenty learners, aged 10 – 12 from five local primary schools, revelled in the sound of words in every shape, size and meaning and enjoyed the most creative fun most of them had ever had.
The theme of the workshop was the Environment and the purpose was to awaken a love of reading for pleasure in the lives of the children. Lesley, together with her excellent team of facilitators, including singer, Blaq Pearl from Mitchell’s Plain, and Enlighten’s two art facilitators, Alex Forsyth and Thulani Mapike swamped them with creative activities, to which they responded with huge excitement.
Copious story books were read, they wrote and illustrated their own stories, sang with Blaq Pearl and wrote the words for their own songs; created an impressive painted mural depicting all aspects of the Environment and were exposed to an exciting speaker on each of the three days, from SANSA, the Gansbaai Penguin Rehabilitation Centre and Panthera Africa from Sandbaai. When Catherine Nyquist and Lindsay Mitchell of Panthera arrived they were welcomed by a pride of the most terrifying lions, in masks that the children had made.
All the children who attended this life-changing workshop were from our local disadvantaged communities, where books are in short supply or non-existent. For this reason, Enlighten’s Alex Bury Children’s Library also remained open for to weeks of the holidays and was flooded by children with a hunger for words and the challenging journeys of the imagination and knowledge they convey.