Construction tasks support children's learning
Cape Town recently hosted an under 18’s program. These types of programmes give under 18’s the opportunity to develop better social and interpersonal skills, understand others better and make new friends (this sounds a cliché, but it’s actually true). The people you meet when volunteering are often like-minded people. The group were able to experience life in learning centres within the townships GVI work in, which are very different to their own educational facilities back home. They were able to see direct that the environments the children learn in are not always ideal for enhancing the children’s education or personnel development.
The task was to build new resources to be used at the Nursery, Grade R and Ikhayalethemba all located within the townships of Nomzamo and Zola. The group’s challenge was to build, from start to finish, resources that would help boost the children’s learning. The group constructed 3 Bookcases on wheels, which could be moved around to create a library area in any part of the classroom/building. They also constructed 6 Art Easels with different surfaces to work on, on one side a chalk board, the other side a paint board/cork board to pin learning materials to. Art is an outstanding tool for teaching. When children study any given concept, they learn it better and retain it longer if they do an activity that reinforces that learning. This has been recognized by teachers since the time of Confucius, when he said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”
The group had five days to complete the task. At the beginning they were apprehensive that the task was too big and that time was going to be a factor. The group worked hard, communicated well and shared tasks. Over the five days they developed into a team, and collectively achieved their set goal – 3 Bookcases and 6 Art Easels.
When delivered to the different locations the group got to see first-hand how excited and happy the teachers and children were to be receiving such great resources, which had been made especially for them. This became one of the highlights for the whole group, together they had made a contribution that was going to make a difference to the children’s learning and for many more children who would join the Nursery/Grade R in the years to come.
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