“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”
One of the main aims of The Kusasa Project Early Learning Centre is to follow a “whole-child” approach which focuses on all the aspects that make the being of the child: Mental health, Social Emotional Development, Physical Healthy, Cognitive Development, Academic Development and Identity Development. With this as starting point, we ensure that we prepare well-rounded learners, capable of dealing constructively with the challenges of the future.
“Maslow before Bloom”: children need their basic needs met before academic learning can be fully embraced. Our daily focus as educators is not solely to teach and instruct the academic curriculum prescribed by the Department of Education, but also to ensure that the learner is happy, eager and willing to learn.
We start our day with a warm breakfast. Generally learners will only benefit from the energy received within 30-40 minutes. During our daily morning celebration we move and dance to speed up the metabolic rate to release the necessary energy needed to focus. The celebration is a positive and uplifting moment for all the learners and educators where we celebrate the small (academic and non-academic) achievements every learner has accomplished the previous day. Our morning celebration is concluded with a mindfulness moment where educators make learners consciously focus on new and positive inner feelings.
Our daily schedule involves toothbrushing & personal hygiene checks. We support families that are struggling to maintain a proper health and hygiene standard for their children. Learners are yearly assessed by the Owethu clinic where they receive a full body screening & dental & optometrist check-ups. An audiologist screens our learners’ ears annually. If parents are in dire need the school will support any extra medical help or screening. In 2015 we noticed one of our learners constantly suffering from stomach aches. Through our referrals to various specialists and advice, within 3 days it was confirmed that she had leukaemia. We are very happy to write that she is currently in remission and graduated to a local Primary School.
Due to negative family and community examples, we often find that our children have a very low EQ. We need to teach them about values & conflict handling. Educators need to ensure that learners have positive interpersonal relationships and are able to work with each other in a diverse classroom and environment. Our learners attend weekly sessions with a social worker to focus on growth mindset, family relationships and behaviour guidance. This is linked to family guidance sessions where parents obtain tips and motivation to engage and help their children.
Another segment of The Kusasa Project curriculum focuses on active community engagement, through various opportunities to help and engage with people and places in Franschhoek. Learners are also exposed to the importance of environmental awareness and need to understand the challenges that the world and environment faces.
Educators help and guide their learners to be critical thinkers & problem solvers. Our learners have, if needed, the opportunity to be assessed by an educational psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, music therapists and counsellors to make sure that they are emotionally and developmentally well adjusted. Our teachers are supported in their continual assistance to children with learning barriers. Children need to understand their diagnoses, if they receive one, and to use this obstacle as a starting block to run into their future.
A stable, balanced & developed child is like a three-legged stool: supported by (1) the staff & facilities of The Kusasa Project, (2) our amazing donors and, critically, (3) the child’s parents and family. Through parent engagement & participation in every facet of their child’s school career, we know that this partnership will be proactive and driven towards a mutual goal – well rounded, happy learners.
Our children come from communities where dreams very seldom come true. Through focusing on the whole child we know that they will become self-motivated learners with grit & enthusiasm to overcome any obstacle. We give them the opportunity to dream, the support to achieve the dream and the guts to chase the dream.