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Life under lockdown #2: a golden opportunity to homeschool

If every cloud has a silver lining, then most people living under lockdown can’t see it easily. There are few bright spots when you have no work and a family to feed. Katlehong resident, Madintle Kubere, is an optimist however. With JumpStart’s help she turned her lack of employment into a golden opportunity to learn about homeschooling. A mother’s creative approach to lockdown Bathabile, 6, who started “big school” at Morojaneng Primary in January was very disappointed when schools closed and lockdown started. With an older brother in Grade 6 and his big sister in Matric, the responsibility for their continuing education was quite a load on his mother’s shoulders. When level four got going, her husband, Paul, managed to return to work as a CNC setter and operator working on truck axles at a nearby metal factory. Her husband’s work dropped to two and a half days a week while she sought a job […]

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Q&A with JumpStart alumnus, Julia Maduna

As we approach Youth Month, we turn to the JumpStart tutors who have contributed to our success over the years. We want to know where they are now and how they are getting on. Our first Alumni Q&A is a conversation with Julia Maduna. Where was Julia in 2017? As a new graduate, starting at Tamaho Primary School was a great opportunity to give back to the community where I grew up. Sotho is my home language, so learning to speak Xhosa and discovering the subtleties of a different culture enriched me. What were the challenges? I was 24 years old and still had some things to learn. Although our training workshops prepared me to be a good tutor, I had to figure out how to deal with learners who refused to follow the rules. I tried talking but they wouldn’t listen… that was frustrating. The Deputy Principal, Mrs Makumsha, was very supportive. She guided […]

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Life under lockdown #1: a smiling angel in dark days

When Abongile Mhlola first heard about Covid-19 lockdown, she admits she was scared. The escalating numbers made her worry about her own chronic health condition. But Abongile’s nature is to stay cheerful in hard times, so much so that Mrs Macala, the Head of Department at Tamaho Primary, calls her “my smiling angel”. She wanted to make a difference to the children she could no longer teach face to face because of the lockdown regulations. “The first thing I did was to create a WhatsApp group with the parents of ten learners. The news spread quickly and soon, we had 38 learners on board and another three interns!” Teaching parents to teach via NumberSense Parents learn about teaching the topics in the NumberSense workbook via WhatsApp. They were invited to talk to the tutors privately if something was unclear. “We are all learning how to do this digital thing… I never dreamed of teaching online!” […]

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Keneuwe Lisenyane

Singing and StudyAssist drives Keneuwe’s hope

JumpStart tutor, Keneuwe Lisenyane, sits on a low brightly coloured plastic chair at Buyani Primary, near Lenasia. One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive… As she sings, she holds up her fingers one by one. The semi-circle of grade one learners leans in to her, bright-eyed and hopeful. They hold up their fingers too, joining in, copying her, singing along beside her. Inspiring trust and curiosity “To inspire their trust and curiosity about you, and about numbers, you must get down to their level, both physically and emotionally,” she says, explaining her teaching philosophy. “JumpStart teaches us how to educate young children using different tools and tricks.” A natural educator with a vast thirst for knowledge, Keneuwe remembers a childhood game. “We used to play school-school with my older sister, but in the game she was a cruel teacher who threatened to beat me. I knew I could do better, and […]

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Terrific 20-something mathematics tutors learn and hope

JumpStart’s mathematics tutors kicked off 2020 with a whole lot of hope! These 20-year-olds gained many new skills at the orientation event in January. They also learned about the programme as they met returning tutors. Project Coordinator, Zintle Makumsha, chatted to four tutors about their experience at a workshop in January. How we learn to think Siwaphiwe Mtintsilana (22) who tutors at Tshabalala Primary said, “I learned that mathematics is not only about getting the right answer. It’s equally about the process of getting to the desired destination.” The discussions around learning excited him. Siwaphiwe said, “I am interested in how we learn to think critically and how we find the reasons behind what we do. Of course, I’m fascinated by how we teach this skill to the children in our care. For example, I use public transport to and from school. When fuel prices increase and decrease from time to time, so does the […]

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