Pretoria – Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy has urged family workshop facilitators to assist families understand simple ways to help children do better at school.
Addressing over 500 facilitators from the Central Johannesburg District Office during a workshop held in Pimville on Sunday, Creecy said she was encouraged by the enthusiasm of over 5 000 parents who attended the first weekend of workshops throughout Gauteng.
The workshops, which will run every Saturday until October, target families of learners in 1 183 under-performing primary and high schools to provide them with skills to support their children at school.
Creecy explained that all the interventions and support provided by the department should be seen as the contents of a three-legged pot including learners, educators and parents.
“If one of the legs is broken, it will negatively impact on the interventions and the education of children. The family workshops, therefore, are motivated by the need to involve parents in the schooling life of their children.
“When children come back from school, parents should ask them how school was so as to open a discussion with children around the challenges or problems they might be facing at school.
“The second question is whether children have homework and parents can then create space for homework to be done and where a child is struggling and the parent is unable to help, the parent should set up an appointment with the class teacher to discuss the kind of support needed to improve performance,” Creecy explained.
She also encouraged parents of young children to play simple games with their children during dinner, such as counting the number of plates at the table or making them read passages in their school books, noting that such games support and reinforce numeracy and literacy skills from a young age.
“The department is looking at launching a programme as part of the Extended Public Works Programme to recruit three to five young people with matric who would assist with the supervision of homework. The assistance would take place after school hours but at school.”
Creecy explained that these workshops had never been tried before and were a social experiment aimed at providing social cohesion in schools.
The facilitators said they found the workshops particularly enlightening and parents were making very profound points around their involvement with school work and school life.
More family workshops will take place in Gauteng every Saturday until October. School principals will be able to provide more information on workshop venues. Interested parents can contact (011) 355-0000 or log onto www.education.gpg.gov.za. – BuaNews