The CCDI has partnered with the Western Cape government’s After-School Game Changer programme to pilot a year-long visual arts project in primary schools for Grades 1 to 4 learners. The arts project has been introduced as a value-add to the Mass participation, Opportunity and access, Development and Growth (MOD) programme which is run by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport at selected school premises, called MOD centres, offering a range of after-school activities to learners.
The CCDI’s visual arts project trains community-based post-matric young people who are under 25 years old and unemployed.
It aims to provide these youth facilitators with work experience and give them professional practice experience to increase their opportunities for success.
The CCDI has designed a basic, elementary visual arts programme for the youth facilitators, who are not necessarily trained in the arts, and it involves six weeks of training with education specialist, Richard Kilpert, which includes using lines, shapes, patterns, colours, collage and other creative processes to foster children’s learning in a creative way. They are then provided with materials and guidelines on how to work with the children as well as vital skills and confidence in order to interpret the activities with the learners in their own context.
The project is being run at four schools with over 30 children participating at each site – Sophakama Primary School in Dunoon, Marconi Beam Primary School in Joe Slovo, Milnerton, Walter Teka Primary in Nyanga and Bongolethu Primary in Philippi, as well as at the Nyanga Arts Development Centre.
“Because it’s after-school, there’s less emphasis on curriculum and it’s more about enabling the facilitators to give the children an enjoyable experience that is different to other extra-mural activities such as sport. It provides a space for children to come voluntarily to learn new skills,” says Richard, who continues to mentor the facilitators during the course of the project.
As part of their mentoring process, a group of 13 facilitators were at the CCDI in April for a three-day workshop with Richard where they got to know each other and share their experiences of teaching at the schools. They also learned some new ideas from CCDI’s Creativity Facilitator, Mara Fleischer, and also spent a morning at the City Hall to experience new ways of movement and storytelling at the Infecting the City public art festival which they found very inspiring.
“This pilot presents a unique opportunity to collaborate with the MOD programme and expand their offerings beyond that of sports, literacy and numeracy. We felt that there is great potential to scale an art and design-focused offering across the MOD network,” says Joanne Sandler, Education Coordinator of the Human Capital Development programme at the CCDI, who currently manages the project and mentors.
Feedback from some of the youth facilitators about their experience:
Vuyiswa Ntyolo from Marconi Beam: “It’s very exciting to see what the children can do at such a young age – to see what their creativity and their future can be. Even when they don’t know what they are creating through art, they still create beautiful things because they have big imaginations and they love making things.”
Zama Chaso from Marconi Beam: “Some of the children were so shy that they couldn’t even respond when you spoke to them. But now they have gained so much confidence because through physical movement they can be free to express themselves. The after-school programme is also a great equaliser because there are some children who are not good at academics but they are good at art and this makes them more confident.”
Thandanani Roro from Bongolethu: “I am an artist and the CCDI has opened doors for me about how to teach art to the children. It’s not easy teaching so many children at the same time so the training has helped me a lot.”