Early Childhood Development
As part of their Early Childhood Development programme Zisize currently operates and manages 4 crèches while also monitoring and supporting 18 crèches in Ingwavuma and neighbouring communities providing meals and encouraging physical, mental, and emotional growth for over 900 children in Ingwavuma, Jozini local municipality. The organization is also in partnership with the Department of social development implementing the mobile early childhood development programme. The mobile facility benefits more than 200 children residing in wards 7 and 15 in Mbazwana, Umhlabuyalingana local municipality. The aim of the programme is to ensure that children receive utmost cognitive stimulation within the first 1000 days of their lives.
Most of these children are in need of care and protection living with elderly grandparents or high school mothers who are still struggling to complete their own school education and need day care support for their toddlers. Zisize also provides quality teacher training in other crèches along with follow up visits and monitoring of progress through these programs. Zisize has trained school-based mentors on playskills and these field workers conduct home visits to households where they offer stimulating playskills to young children who do not have access to centre based ECD programmes. They also teach parents how to stimulate their children through play.
Capacity Building for Educators
Literacy and Numeracy trainings
The programme focuses on literacy and numeracy training for Foundation Phase teachers. The literacy training is founded on the Molteno Project which is a whole language programme developed to allow children to learn to read and write in their mother-tongue before ‘bridging’ to using English in the classroom environment. Quarterly trainings are provided by our qualified trainers and are followed by site visits to support, mentor the trained educators, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programme.
This programme focuses on provision of stimulating ideas and activities for teachers to use in the classroom which will uplift the standard of current teaching in the schools, with the outcome of keeping children in a safe and interesting school environment even when home circumstances are in a state of flux. If children enjoy going to school and find it a safe, fun and happy place to be where their minds are being fed, they will be less likely to fall through the cracks in the system when faced with the death of caregivers and difficult living conditions. It has been shown that higher literacy levels amongst children correlate directly with a decrease in the school dropout rate in the high school years.
Reading and Corner Libraries
Beneficiary schools of the Literacy training programme are assisted in establishing and running functioning corner libraries in each of their classrooms. This is to promote the culture of reading and to help reinforce the use of language. Schools are provided with books for their classroom corner libraries and are trained on how to set up and run their libraries. They are also encouraged to use the readily available books in their schools and to find extra resources. The functionality of the libraries is monitored and schools with well-functioning corner libraries are awarded.
School Leadership Development
Zisize’s mission is to ensure that quality caring schools which are well managed, responsive, proactive and delivering a high standard of education are developed at primary school level.
The principals and SMTs of our partner schools participate in quarterly workshops aimed at strengthening their leadership capacity and equipping them with skills to support educators implementing the education programmes in their schools.
School leaders and principals are expected to develop and promote a productive school culture that articulates a rich learning environment with high expectations. Educators and learners require a strong commitment to the importance of lifelong learning, as well as an understanding of the role they play in achieving it. School leaders and principals need to monitor and support teachers to ensure they understand their role in the teaching of literacy and numeracy skills and maintaining a high standard of education in their schools.
Supporting Access to Tertiary Education
Career Guidance and Counselling
Zisize’s careers guidance office is housed at its main centre at KwaQatha which is a central venue for many children to access help in this much-needed area. An experienced educator provides one-on-one careers counselling and helps learners and even older community members through the processes of applying to tertiary institutions. A wide range of institutions are made accessible as well as potential bursary information. The careers guidance counsellor also provides this service to educators and learners at their schools. An annual Career Expo is run in conjunction with the University of KwaZulu-Natal which reaches around 25 high schools. A tertiary students forum has been set up which aims to support students through-out their university years, ensuring that drop-out rates are at a minimum.
Zisize’s main focus is to support children in need of care and protection to reach their full potential and become independent, contributing members of society. It is for this reason Zisize has undertaken to give financial assistance for registration to financially needy beneficiaries that have been accepted at universities. This allows them to register at university with the hope that they will be able to access other available government funding and bursaries once they are inside the system. Zisize has assisted over 100 children with monthly financial support, registration and paying off tuition owed. Some of the graduates have ploughed back by helping younger children in the programme wherever necessary.
School Infrastructural Report
Zisize has been able to mobilise resources to support schools lacking certain resources necessary to improve the working standards in that particular schools. Zisize has provided schools with boreholes where there has been absolutely no access to water. Some of our partner schools have received toilets, classrooms, water tanks, netball and volleyball pitches.