Poet shows kids ‘world of words’

2017-07-18 06:00
Children enjoying a poetry session at Ottery Library.PHOTOS: Shaun warner

Children enjoying a poetry session at Ottery Library.PHOTOS: Shaun warner

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A 39-year-old man from Ottery is taking his skills to the community by keeping children busy this school holiday.

Shaun Warner, a respected poet in South African poetry circles, is hosting a new project at Ottery Library three afternoons a week.

The Ottery Poetry Initiative, in conjunction with the local library, aims to identify and breed young writers and test and develop children’s writing and reading ability, general comprehension and spelling ­aptitude.

The participants are between 10 and 18 years old.

“I started this initiative late last year, after being unemployed for almost a year. I had been writing since my teens, unpublished, and then stopped for 20 years. During my time at home, I found my passion again and decided to do something about it,” says Warner.

“I went to our local library with a suggestion to educate children on the beauty of poetry. They immediately accepted and gave me a room to use. We have been running as a registered NGO ever since.”

Warner is assisted by an early childhood development student.

“We have been doing very well with the kids and they are improving every day. Within the first week of running, I noticed that there are colossal literacy issues here. This is when I diverted into teaching literacy, basic Xhosa and life skills,” he explains.

“The children are introduced to a whole new world of words, quizzes and tests. We also play games and run a weekly competition. Our space has now become a safe haven for children doing their homework after school.”

Warner says the project is dependent on donations from community members. He needs refreshments for the participants.

“We need to reward the children to keep the programme running. We try to provide meals after each session, depending solely on donations from the public. My wife does the cooking and the benefits are endless.”

During the school term the sessions take place at Ottery Library Mondays to Wednesdays at 14:00. Parents are invited to send their children.

Children can also attend the rest of the July school holiday programme daily at 10:00. Stationery and materials are provided in each session. V For more information contact Shaun Warner on 082 633 0942 or 063 377 6380.

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