Preschools and attention to Early Childhood Development is one of the most overlooked and under resourced education sectors in South Africa. Through your time as a volunteer you will have a positive impact in this sector and provide much needed support to those already involved in the lives of these children.
What does the Project do?
We have partnered with several community pre-schools in a rural township environment and work closely with the teachers (who are often volunteers themselves) to enrich the daily lives of early learners. With up to 45 children in one classroom and only one or two teaching staff, these teachers desperately need extra support to provide the best possible foundation of education and care for the tiny learners. All of the preschools are very poor, under resourced and full of children from infants to six years old.
Volunteers work in one of our partner preschools assisting the teachers in the class-room; helping to run lessons, giving the children one-on-one attention, working in smaller groups, developing resources and taking part in creative play. This project is vital to the children and their community. We are in a fairly rural area, and school is the only stimulation and learning that these children receive. Having them exposed to art and music and computers for the first time is a truly wonderful experience. Parents often come and thank us for helping their kids learn and enjoy school so much.
About the Location
Chintsa is a beach town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, situated about half way between Cape Town and Durban and approximately 25 miles from East London (the nearest large town). Sitting on the Indian Ocean with a 5.5 mile stretch of white sandy beach Chintsa is a volunteer’s paradise; a great starting point for ongoing trips to the buzzing city of Cape Town and right on the doorstep of the rugged and untouched Wild Coast. Chintsa is a malaria free area.
Although it's a small village, Chintsa has all the essentials: a general store, ATM, local restaurants and bars, public telephones and an internet cafe in the VA32 office. There is a small strip mall approximately 9 miles towards East London where there is a supermarket, post office and pharmacy amongst other necessities. The volunteer house is situated just 3-4 minutes’ walk from the beach and the same distance from the shop and other amenities. A short walk across the beach takes you to fun and funky Buccaneers Backpackers which offers VA32 volunteers a place to relax and spend the weekend as well as discounts on surf schools, free rental of body boards and canoes, use of their swimming pool and the opportunity to take part in free afternoon activities.
Chintsa has a real community feeling that many find irresistible. Buccaneers brings an eclectic mix of travellers and backpackers into the village, Chintsa's permanent residents are a diverse mix of older city dwellers who have moved out to the coast to retire and young travellers who fell in love with the village and have returned to settle here.
A pre-project familiarisation and orientation, will take place upon arrival in Chintsa. This will involve an introduction to the local area, volunteer routine and house as well as a familiarization chat about life and what to expect in South Africa.
A project specific orientation is also provided before volunteers are placed in the pre-schools. It includes: a project overview, in depth introduction to VA32, introduction to the preschools and teachers, lesson & resource preparation and available resources. Orientation is designed to help volunteers to settle into their new environment as quickly as possible and to understand where their energy and enthusiasm can be used best on project.