Supporting our learners & their families in this time of crisis:
In this strange and uncertain time, we’ve all experienced elements of tragedy, insecurity and inconvenience. For many of us staying at home has proved to be more difficult than we first imagined. Now, imagine being a young child in a situation where lockdown means being confined to a very small space, often without basic necessities like running water or sanitation, a lack of basic resources or sufficient food, parents losing their jobs, sometimes alone for hours and without access to the internet. This is the reality that most children in our community are facing.
The education system all over the world is being shaken to the core and especially so for communities like the one in which we work. Fortunately, The Kusasa Project team is able to collaborate closely with our fantastic and committed parent body. Despite precious little time to prepare and with all the limitations our families face, the following has been put in place:
- The children received educational packs including review booklets and stationery.
- On a daily basis the teachers, parents & children are communicating via WhatsApp groups.
- Social and emotional support is given through creative activities under the guidance of our teachers and our Social Worker to help the children and their families to address the uncertainty.
- Teachers regularly communicate ideas to parents for activities and fun challenges in order to help the families to ‘get through’ the days.
- Regular food parcels are handed out to the most at-risk families.
- Our teachers are using the lockdown times very productively to upskill themselves in many new and expanded areas of learning and teaching.
The dedication and interaction between teachers and parents is incredible. A constant stream of voice notes, videos and pictures from our learners’ parents has made it obvious that all the extra hard work is much appreciated. We’ve been blown away by the selflessness and commitment of the teaching team, who has given up much of their traditional Easter holidays to deal with this difficult situation.
Staff, management and our trustees are planning & coordinating regularly together in order to ensure that we’re ready for the next phase when the lockdown will be lifted – either partly or completely. Our learners will return to school on a rotational basis, facilitating learning in smaller classes with more individual attention. This will mean more working hours for the teachers but for the learners it will be a fantastic step to get back into the school routine.
In the meantime, The Kusasa Project team will keep the lines of communication open and will continue to support the children and their families as much as possible.
Even during a time of such emotional strain, there are silver linings. As Head of School, Marie-Louise Raymond puts it: “It’s amazing to see what the Franschhoek Valley community is doing to help vulnerable families. The Kusasa Project is committed to our families since there are so many in need. Parents are opening up to us and barriers are being broken down. This is very positive for the future of The Kusasa Project.”