US school­girl helps to up­grade Addo school

The Herald (South Africa) - - COMMUNITY - Siphokuhle Mkancu mkan­[email protected]­me­

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

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