The weekly community visits to deliver educational material and food parcels has given us a deeper understanding of how our children live. A large part of a teachers job is to remove barriers that prevent children from learning. Some of the barriers our children experience are hard to overcome.
*Mo who is 4.5 years old started at the Educare a year ago. He had poor physical co-ordination and did not respond to simple instructions. Teacher Devi spent one on one time with him in the garden where he worked in the earth with his hands and enjoyed the routine of tipping the kitchen scraps into the worm farm. His confidence grew and the garden soon became his ‘safe space’. By the end of 2019 he was used to the Educare daily program and participated in most of the physical activities. His speech had improved and he was holding a crayon with a mature grip.
In May when National Lockdown moved to level 4 and a permit was received to visit the communities nothing could have prepared Teacher Nushfeekah for the despair she saw in Mo’s eyes. He had lost weight, did not communicate at all nor did he smile like he used to. It was as if Nushfeekah was a stranger. Going to school had been his break away from a new stepdad and baby sibling at home. For the past 4 months he has had no ‘safe space’ to go to. Working in the earth again with his hands could help Mo work through those feelings. Channelling frustrations into something like gardening, sometimes called green care is a natural way to sort feelings out, to calm and decompress the mind.
* Not his real name.