Holiday programme keep smiles on faces

2016-07-05 06:00
Learners at Voorspoed Primary School gathered this week to take part in Safe Schools’ winter school holiday programme.  PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Learners at Voorspoed Primary School gathered this week to take part in Safe Schools’ winter school holiday programme. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Children in the Hanover Park area were given the opportunity to take part in a winter school holiday programme at Voorspoed Primary School last week.

The programme, run by the Western Cape Education department (WCED), forms part of the Safe Schools directorate.

Reginald Esau, Principal of Voorspoed Primary School, says having the school able to facilitate such a programme has been a boon for the community.

“It is an opportunity to keep our learners safe from the issues in the environment, to create a safe haven for them. It gives them an opportunity to utilise some of that energy, get involved with games and develop some skills in a safe, controlled environment. It keeps them busy when they are sometimes up to mischief at home.”

He says that the programme also helps alleviate the burden on working parents who may not be able to take time off to spend with their children during the holidays.

Attendance numbers grew as the week progressed with around 120 learners taking part in the daily activities.

“Learners will tell other learners ‘let’s go to school, we are having fun and enjoying ourselves keeping ourselves busy’,” adds Esau.

Meanwhile, Debbie Schäfer, provincial minister for education, says although it would be ideal to have these programmes running throughout the holiday period, budget constraints to not allow for it.

“We have it at many schools, but obviously everything comes down to budget, so we really try and do everything possible that we can do as far as the budget allows. Our budget is severely constrained at the moment.

“What we do is try and ensure that we do what we can and also work in cooperation with the City of Cape Town to maximise our resources to roll it out as best we can, but it is not always possible to do it the whole holidays,” explains Schäfer.

Along with the programme at Voorspoed Primary School, the WCED Safe Schools Directorate has organised various holiday programmes for learners in all seven of the other education districts.

The programme covers life skills and team building, substance abuse, gangsterism and conflict resolution.

Schäfer addressed the learners and ensured they knew the Safe Schools Hotline number (0800 45 46 47).

“Parents and learners can call the Safe Schools Hotline to request support or assistance. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm displayed by the learners, who said they were having a great time,” adds Schäfer.

She urges all parents and caregivers, especially those who have full-time jobs, to ensure that their children are supervised during the remainder of the school holidays.

“This is an opportune time to promote continued reading and I urge you to encourage your children to visit their local library,” she says.

Esau hopes that that this programme will act as a springboard to a more regular programme which can be rolled out for the duration of the school year.

“This is something similar we as a school want to embark on a weekly basis after school hours in next term. Safe Schools have committed themselves in assisting us in getting something similar going at least once a week.”

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