Thursday, 9 August 2018
The afternoon session was presented by Nafisa Baboo, Senior education advisor for Light for the World. Nafisa shared some statistics around inclusive education and the difficulties facing those who have disabilities or special needs. Even though policies are changing toward those with disabilities and special needs, without resources, nothing can change. When thinking of inclusive education, Nafisa stated that the true meaning of inclusion is for all children regardless of abilities, learning together. Children with disabilities have the right to be contributors and not relegated to being supported or dependent on charity. She highlighted that for inclusion to work, every person has to play their part, not only the special needs educators. Some solutions that were brought to light were to identify the children with disabilities in the community, to raise awareness on inclusion and to counsel parents and families and link them to the services that they need.
Type: 

File

Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Susan Nyaga from Kenya, SIL International Senior Literacy & Education Consultant lead a presentation on the importance of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE). She defined mother tongue as the language through which a child first learns to express himself as well as the language through which a person perceives the world around him. Considering that the child learns best when taught in his mother tongue, more needs to be done to facilitate education through means of the home language whilst in the school environment. Susan stated that MTBMLE is neither a new nor isolated concept, with the topic preoccupying educational conferences for over five years globally. She said that the minority language child is often made to feel ashamed of his mother tongue, the consequences of which include these children denouncing their culture, some to the point of even disowning their family, all in a bid to align themselves with the majority language speakers. The harsh reality is that when society rejects a child’s mother tongue, they are in truth, rejecting the child. Susan then read the poem ‘My Language, My Home.’ She then shared some statistics regarding language around the world. There are approximately 6700 languages around the world. Only 62% of the population has access to education in their mother tongue. Out of 524 countries, African languages are only recognised in only 10. Arabic is recognised in 9 of those countries. 221million school aged children are first language speakers of languages not recognised in the school system. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 3% of the population are educated in their mother tongue. Children who begin learning in their first language are more likely to learn a second language more thoroughly, learn to read quicker and are more likely to participate in the classroom activities.
Type: 

File

Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Catherine Kennedy from Cornerstone Montessori shared some information about the Montessori Centre of Minnesota (MCM) and how the Cornerstone project came about. Cornerstone began in 2008 as a pilot project and developed into a thriving community which has two Infant Communities and a Children’s House environment. Catherine shared a series of slides showing the children engaging in the environment and then shared a video with us, which gave feedback from parents as well as the adults in the environment and what Cornerstone means to them. The school embraces mother tongue language and parent involvement in the school itself.
Type: 

File

Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Type: 

File

Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Our last speaker for the day Mignon Hardie, Executive Director of FUNDZA gave a presentation of Language as the Foundation of Community. Mignon started off with the concept that stories have the power to bring about change and the ability to transform lives. She explained that FUNDZA is aimed at adolescents and young adults, to combat the high rate of illiteracy in South Africa. One of the difficulties is that 58% of households do not have books for reading pleasure. The average English marks for the grade 9 student’s is only 33.2% Matriculant students are unable to write in paragraphs, do not understand questions and do not have an understanding of vocabulary. FUNDZA aims to bring about change through supporting reading groups, supplying books with 500 groups supported. She brought up the possibilities of reaching people through cellphone literature, promoting language learning and encouraging writing for expression. Participants then did an exercise where they were asked to do free writing for 5 minutes on ‘My Reading Journey’ which they then shared among each other. Mignon supplied the participants with examples of FUNDZA publications to look through and then asked for feedback on what the participants thought. Examples of what stories worked were those with relatable characters, exciting plots, clear, easy language and authentic plots that were not in a form of preaching. After that, another free writing exercise on ‘Language and Me’ took place. At the end of the exercise, some of the participants of non English speaking language sang a song in their own language, well known by all participants who took part. Mignon concluded her presentation by asking the participant for their views on reaching readers through cell phones versus books or writing on paper.
Type: 

File

Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Type: 

File

Monday, 6 August 2018
Alistair Green gives a brief introduction to Newberry House, a Montessori school catering for children between 18 months and 18 years of age. The school is located on one of the largest privately owned farms, Lourensford Wine Estate. Alistair described Newberry House as a platform to showcase the best practice all around, through a proper Montessori environment. Newberry House aim to be the first AMI run school in the country. Alistair concluded with the question of how do we prepare children for the future? His answer to that question was through a pure Montessori environment executed properly.
Type: 

File

Monday, 6 August 2018
Naledi Mabeba from Lynedoch Montessori House gives a brief introduction of herself and the difficulties she faced when first working with the children in the Western Cape. When Naledi first came to Lynedoch, she realized the harrowing effects that F.A.S. had on the children. Upon gaining an understanding of the difficulties faced by the F.A.S. child, she began to encourage adults to think out of the box for ways to reach these children and offer them the opportunity to reach their potential. Naledi noted that racial difficulties, ranging from discriminations between different cultures and languages could be addressed through grace and courtesy, getting children to understand and be accepting of others and embracing their differences. Another challenge was violence. Naledi stressed the importance of providing an environment that is consistently safe, peaceful and stable whilst the child is at school makes a difference in that child’s life.
Type: 

File

Monday, 6 August 2018
Dr Alain Tschudin spoke about the various Good Governance Africa programmes, Child Development & Youth Foundation; Local Governance; National Security; Natural Resources and Ethical Values and Spirituality. He gave an example of how lives of children were transformed through Montessori, specifically the Mbizana project and the positive changes that have taken place for children and families, in part due to having trained adults in the environment.
Type: 

File