WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
During some one-on-one time
with a lovely girl in the junior classes who had speech problems and was confined
to a wheelchair, we were playing a small game to help with numbers where she had
to pick a block with had a certain amount of holes in it and fit it onto something
with the corresponding poles sticking out of it. When she got one right I congratulated
her with a simple 'well done' and clapped. Her face immediately brightened and she
became so happy she hugged me.
It's small moments like this that help you realise what a difference your
presence is making.
The School we work with has just over 200 children with physical and intellectual
impairments. The pupils are aged from 3 years old to 18. There are four sections
covering nursery, junior, middle and senior pupils. A fleet of school buses travels
from all over the suburbs to collect these children in the mornings from about 6am
and the school bus returns the children back home for the afternoons at around 2.30pm.
State subsidies are not adequate to run a school such as this one and a special
arranges events during the year. Other funds are raised by the re-cycling centre
in one of the school buildings, donations from people’s homes, as well as newspapers,
books and plastic containers are received at any time.
As the pupils are low functioning academically, the curriculum aims at fostering
maximum independence and productivity in each pupil. It covers the development of
self-sufficiency and socialism. Lessons are designed to improve motor and perceptual
skills as well as functional academic skills. There is a strong emphasis on communication,
household and vocational skills. Pupils are also encouraged to be aware of the environment
and nature, and a visit to the school Farmyard is a daily occurrence.
The School also serves as a training centre for students from local universities
and colleges. Students in training include speech therapists, medical students,
physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists, care givers and teachers.
The school itself consists of a number of spread out, pleasant buildings all opening
onto the garden. The school buildings are like a solid built local state school,
and the parents and staff keep them looking neat and painted. The gardens are well-kept
and spacious, and the children love visiting the small farmyard in the school grounds
to see the sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks and chickens – and even a donkey or two
There are two heated indoor swimming pools which are used for class swimming and
Volunteers here have loved every minute of their placements here and keep up contact
with the school after they move on to study at University or return to work at home.
YOUR WORK AT THE SCHOOL:
- When you arrive you will be allocated to a teacher who will introduce you to the
work. You might be sent to different areas of work in the school before settling
in to a particular job. If there is anything you are particularly interested in,
such as working with a particular age group or helping in the Physiotherapy or OT
departments, please let us know when you apply, so that we can arrange it for you.
- You will work as a classroom assistants or class aides (helping children in and
out of wheelchairs for different activities, or helping the teacher with various
class activities, like painting, doing puzzles – and with the older children cooking,
simple maths and reading etc). Other tasks include reading stories to children,
helping children to simple tasks on the computer and supervising the outdoor activities.
Tricycle riding forms part of the curriculum - as exercise and mastering the skills
associated with the physical action are very important.
- The children also learn simple rules of the road on marked out areas of the playground.
Swimming lessons are a favourite and the school has two heated indoor pools. Your
help in and out of the pools will be appreciated as children need individual help
in the water. One pool is specifically for physiotherapy treatment.
- Volunteers working in the Nursery section usually move over to the older children
after the nursery children have finished for the day. You may be given preparation
tasks for the next day by the teacher or Admin work, like helping out in the front
office if someone is absent. The school day ends at 3.00 pm.
- Sometimes there might be help needed, like preparing for Sports Day or School Fete
or School Concert. We urge volunteers to get involved with extra functions taking
place at the school as you can have a lot of fun and you will get to know the children
much better out of hours
SCHOOL TERMS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Please note that this placement is not available during the school holidays, so it’s important to consult the school terms below to plan your placement dates. Your project coordinator will also assist you with your placement planning, as well as suggest alternatives and exciting things to do during the holiday periods.
Dates for the 2018 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 4: 9 October – 12 December
Dates for the 2019 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 1: 09 January – 15 March
Term 2: 02 April – 14 June
Term 3: 09 July – 20 September
Term 4: 1 October – 4 December
Generally the last week before terms end is given to exams and tests. This means that you will find your work load dropping during this week and you will usually find more free time than normal school time. Exams are written by classes from Grade 3 upward three times a year. For the last three weeks of term 2, 3 and 4 it would not be suitable to volunteer in the classes doing exams. The younger children would still welcome volunteers, but individual requests for these dates would have to be discussed first.
Weekends and school holidays are free for you to sight-see and do activities, tours and trips! Please see some of the amazing Add-On trips we've put together for you to complement your placement. More information can be found on the ‘Optional Activities’ Tab on the left.