One of the biggest challenges faced by children in shelter homes is that of educational inequity. The school and shelter system are in most cases severely under-resourced to provide the kind of after school educational support required for children to flourish. The care and one-on-one attention that children from regular homes receive from their parents or guardians is also missing for children in shelters. This results in low motivation, poor academic performance, high dropout rates, lack of positive role models and an ever widening gap between what a child knows and what they should know for their age.
Ed Support is a unique programme designed to ensure children in shelter homes receive the quality of support and 1-on-1 attention required to bridge learning gaps and enable them to clear Grade 10 and pursue higher education. The school curriculum is delivered by high achieving volunteers who are provided with professional teacher training and empowered to be both teachers and positive role models. The programme supports children from grade 5 to grade 10 and is implemented with periodic tracking of each child’s progress and regular impact measurement through standardized tests. An average class size of 8 students is supported by 2 Volunteer Teachers who commit to classes for a minimum period of one academic year.
The Ed Support Programme continues to evolve based on our experiences in the field. Our focus for 2016 is to implement a new curriculum designed to improve foundational literacy and numeracy in children by grade 5. We also plan to invest in up-skilling and empowering our academic support team to incorporate differentiated and activity based teaching practices in all Ed Support classes, thereby improving the quality of support children receive. Over the next few years, Ed Support will merge with the other programmes, and transition into a singular age-transitional programme, seamlessly combining academic support with age relevant life skills, emotional health, and real world exposure. We aim to pilot the first stage of the holistic Child Support Programme with the 10-13 age bracket in 2017.