For the last three months, our childcare volunteers and coordinator have been working closely to fulfill the requirements of the early childhood development curriculum. Gaps in the children’s learning showed in the analysis of the previous quarters assessment results. These two resources have guided our volunteers in their lesson-planning and implementation stages to ensure that the children are developing in areas which require additional attention. Now, three months down the line the children’s average story-telling comprehension has improved by 13.6% percent from 50.6% to 64%.
In the end of March, the children who GVI works with at our childcare project were completing their first assessment for the year. The assessment was designed in accordance with the early childhood development curriculum in South Africa and involves a range of different aspect. As the children are between 4-5 years old, the assessments focus on fine and gross motor skills as well as basic understanding of shapes, colours, objects, patterns, reading and comprehension as well as noticing the difference in speed and volume and much more, all essential elements of the learning process.
With the support of our volunteers, GVI analysed the previous quarters results to notice gaps in their knowledge. By knowing where the children had room for improvement, our volunteers have for the last three months designed and implemented lesson plans and activities to provide opportunity for growth and improvement. One of these areas was story reading and comprehension. Whilst it is quite easy for parents, siblings, teachers and volunteers to read a story to the child, however, what not many people know is that during this process it is essential to question the childrens’ ability to comprehend and understand what has been read to them. This became one of the greatest focuses for our childcare volunteer and a topic which is closely linked to English, which is our volunteers’ specialty.
Through daily reading time, volunteers have sat down with the children and not simply read the story. instead, volunteers have started a conversation with the child and tried to incorporate questions and comments outside of the written word. This provides the children with the opportunity to comprehend the story, remember characters in the book and know what the objects are called in English. The average result for reading comprehension in the end of March was 50.6%. Now, three months later, we have finalized the assessment score and can confirm that the average story telling comprehension has increased to 64%.
These figures clearly show the impact we have on our childcares project and that our teaching strategies are successful. Further, it provides encouragement and motivation for our volunteers, staff and project partners that their efforts pay off and that we are making our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal, number 4 – Quality Education.
Now, after another term under our belt, the children are preparing for a three week break where it is time for a fun school holiday program packed with engaging learning opportunities with GVI. For our staff, it provides a window to analyse this term’s result and choose a direction for the term coming ahead.