US schoolgirl helps to upgrade Addo school
A VISIT to an Addo school by an American teenager three years ago has resulted in a beautiful new open-air play classroom for the school.
Jennifer Yates, 17, a high school pupil from Rhode Island, first visited Vusumzi Primary School while she was working at a creche in the area. She was saddened by the living conditions around her and decided to do something about it.
Now she has returned as a member of education organisation Universal Promise with R150 000 raised from donors.
The money has been used to create a number of new benefits for Vusumzi geared around an outdoor classroom with a jungle gym and swings, a slide, a climbing apparatus and a paved play area in the middle that gives the children a place to play hard-surface games away from the road.
“There is a small-scale netball court and soccer pitch. This area focuses on physical development and team play. There is a large shaded area with picnic tables offering the children a place to eat their lunch or relax, while avoiding the hot sun,” Yates explained.
“Hard surface games like hopscotch will soon be painted permanently on the paved area. Also, there is a seasonal garden. This area teaches the children how to care for different types of plants and the value of good nutrition.
“There is also a pretend community featuring three small-scale Wendy houses. One house is a pretend home, another is a pretend market, and another is a pretend hospital. This area will serve to enhance creativity, imagination, and life social skills.”
Yates believes the outdoor classroom will allow pupils to develop both physically and cognitively, especially with the garden that will allow them to take their knowledge of gardening home.
School principal Vuyani Sampies said the games would enhance quality learning and the curriculum would be improved with more sporting codes and communication as the instructions of the games are in English.
“They will develop self esteem and life skills. The learners have become more active and eager to learn to their full capacity.”
The organisation has previously renovated the school classrooms, installed a computer laboratory and fenced the school.
SPACE TO PLAY: Jennifer Yates enjoys the new outdoor area at Vusumzi Primary School with some of the pupils