Help for parents in school work

2015-05-05 06:00
Gouwa Ryklief, Denise Petersen, Amanda Sickle, Carol Abrahams, Abe Braaf and Levona Morris completed a seven-week programme at the Reading Room to train them in helping their children get better school marks.
Chevon Booysen

Gouwa Ryklief, Denise Petersen, Amanda Sickle, Carol Abrahams, Abe Braaf and Levona Morris completed a seven-week programme at the Reading Room to train them in helping their children get better school marks. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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Parents and guardians of children from Grade 1 to Grade 3 can be more positive about helping their children with school work.

Thanks to the Reading Room in Ottery, parents now have a support base where they can equip themselves with the basic skills to enhance the learning experience of their foundation-phase children.

Founded and run by Amanda Sickle, a former teacher, the Reading Room was launched during 2012.

“What is offered at the facility is a space where children and parents can come and learn in a conducive environment. I assist parents in motivating their children and helping parents understand the academic needs of their children,” Sickle says.

She has introduced a unique way of learning to parents and children who visit the Reading Room and says the implementation thereof will contribute to favourable results at school.

“I have activities for all parents who attend the sessions during the week. It helps them understand the syllabus their children are currently at,” Sickle says.

She adds the greatest obstacle for parents and guardians is the changing syllabus and how they should approach learning with their children.

“If parents take at least 10 minutes during the day to assist their child with homework, they can achieve desirable results. When they come to the Reading Room, we just equip them with the ‘how to’ so they can implement it at home,” she explains.

Sickle says when parents and guardians visit the centre, they are encouraged to think like their children who are in Grade 1 to Grade 3.

“This ensures that parents best understand at what pace their children are learning. Parents are often hasty when they help their children with their homework but this programme tackles that,” she explains.

Sickle adds children who are currently in the foundation phase also visit her centre on weekends for two-hour reading sessions.

“The centre is conducive to a learning environment and we have volunteers that come in every week to assist children in their problem areas. Both volunteers and children enjoy their time here because it is a fun space where they can learn.”

She adds they always encourage positivity during their sessions.

“We focus more on what the children do right when they do their homework or visit the centre. This in turn will boost their confidence. Children get lost when they feel despondent,” she says.

Sickle says during the reading sessions on Saturdays, children have one-on-one sessions with volunteers at the centre.

“They are placed with the same volunteer every week so that a relationship is built between both parties. Children feel more comfortable when they are placed with the same person every week and our volunteers at the same time get to know the development phases of each child and can assist at their pace. It’s like a tailor-made programme for each child,” she adds.

Sickle has encouraged parents to make use of the opportunity to visit the centre and use the programme.

“We also always need volunteers at the centre to assist the children who come here on the weekend.”


Would you like to know more about the Reading Room? Email Amanda at

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