a brighter future through life skills and education
The Siphila Sonke Kids Club was started in March 2007, in response to an overwhelming concern by many of our Volunteers that so many children were just ‘hanging around the streets with nothing to do,’ especially during the school holidays. The initial idea was to provide a holiday programme that provided children with entertainment and creative stimulation. The initiative was so popular we expanded it to become a daily after-school club during the school term, and for 3 days during each school holiday.
The Kids Club is for children between the ages of 6 and 13 years (grades 1 – 7) and is held at Siphila Sonke’s premises at the Imizamo United Church. At the beginning of each year parents from the local community are invited to sign up their children to the Kids Club, by completing an indemnity form and providing details of their personal and schooling details. We currently have 55 children registered (2016).
The Kids Club Co-ordinator, Felistus, assisted by Dume and a few dedicated volunteers, run the Kids Club every afternoon. There is a set activity for each day: Monday – English Literacy and Reading; Tuesday – Art and Craft; Wednesday – Life Skills, Games and Entertainment; Thursday – Maths and Numeracy and Friday – Library Hour and Activities.
Since the beginning of 2016, after generous funding, we have been able to include computer based training using CAMI Educational software as part of our activities. The CAMI maths and literacy programmes are based on the current school curriculum and helps each child to progress at his/her own ability. It also generates individual reports that show each child’s progress, allowing us to provide more support to those children who need it.
The children are encouraged to bring their school reports at the beginning of each term so that the Kid’s Club Co-ordinator can monitor their progress. The Kid’s Club Co-ordinator also visits the children’s homes and schools throughout the year to feedback to their parents and check in with teachers regarding the children’s progress.
Each day, after the Club’s activities for the afternoon, Siphila Sonke provides some nutrition for the children in the form of sandwiches and fruit. During the harvest time, we are very grateful to our local farmers and packsheds who generously donate apples and pears for the Kids Club.
English Literacy and Reading
As English is the second language for almost all of the children in the local community, Siphila Sonke felt that the children attending the Kids Club would benefit from a class to improve their English.
Activities on Mondays include paired reading whereby a child will read out loud to a Volunteer or the Kids Club Co-ordinator, from a book suited to his/her reading level. The aim of this paired reading is that the child will gain confidence in his/her reading abilities and learn new vocabulary and improve pronunciation.
Other activites undertaken to improve the childrens’ English is through activities including memory games and board games such as junior scrabble. Baking is also a firm favourite as reading a recipe teaches the children the importance of intelligibility, order and logic, while at the same time being a lot of fun! The lesson usually ends with a story being read to the class, so that they can also appreciate listening to a story, to increase their vocabulary and hear correct English pronunciation.
Art and Craft
The art and craft classes held on a Tuesday allow the children to be creative, learn about different artistic forms of expression and have fun! Additionally, the children attending these classes learn practical crafts such as beadwork, pottery, sewing and knitting. A dedicated volunteer runs this class, assisted by the Kids Club Co-ordinator.
Life Skills, Games and Entertainment
The programme usually includes readings from scripture and/or praise and worship, life skill lessons and then an afternoon of entertainment through ball games such as rounders, soccer, netball or fun games such as musical chairs, musical statues and pass the parcel, or sometimes just watching a children’s movie!
Maths and Numeracy
Mathematics is a key subject for schoolchildren and Siphila Sonke felt that its Kids Club members would benefit from activities in this discipline. At the beginning of the year the children are provided with their own maths and numeracy exercise book appropriate to their grade. During class they are required to do 2 – 3 of the exercises as set for the day and are assisted as necessary by a Volunteer or the Kids Club Co-ordinator. The classes often follow a theme such as fractions, time or money.
Other means to improve the children’s maths and numeracy is through activities such as card games, maths puzzles, board games such as snakes and ladders, monopoly and rummy cup, as well as baking (recipes are very much about fractions, ratios and measurements!)
Library Hour and Activities
On Fridays all children of the Kids Club are invited to choose a book to read from the Siphila Sonke Kids Club library, which they then return the following week. Our library has built up over the years through donations and investment in certain publications.
Additional activities are also offered on a Friday afternoon and these vary from time to time. They include learning to play the bongo drums, being part of a Drum Majorette squad and playing board games.
Kids Club runs a holiday programme over 3 mornings during the school holidays. All children of the Kids Club are invited to attend the daily morning activities. These are usually based on the Life Skills, Games and Entertainment curriculum of a Wednesday afternoon. Additional activities include a jumping castle or a waterslide so that the children can burn off some energy! An outing is also usually arranged for one of the days – such as a trip to South Hill Vineyards in Elgin for a movie on their big screen or a trip to the local Eskom Station and Steenbras Dam to learn about hydroelectricity!
Kids Club Christmas Party
At the end of the year, a Kids Club Christmas Party is held and all children attending Kids Club and their parents are invited. Each child receives a present, currently donated from Learners and their families at Applewood Preparatory School in Elgin, which is handed out personally by Father Christmas!
A prize-giving ceremony is also held and prizes are awarded for ‘best attendance’, ‘most enthusiasm’, ‘improved learner’, ‘most promising learner’, ‘most promising art student’ and such. The children and their parents are then treated to juice, cakes and snacks afterwards.