The Teacher Mentorship Programme was originally developed to support the education of the many children who pass through our Early Learning Centre at Won Life. These children would leave Grade R with a solid understanding of the curriculum yet, when they moved on to the local primary school, their learning foundation would go to waste. Our initial, personal interest in the children from our Early Learning Centre drew our attention to the dire situation that all pupils faced at Trevor Manuel Primary School. We knew that we needed to improve the standard of education delivered to them, in order to nurture and build onto their learning. We decided to focus on Grade 1 in 2015 and, based on the programme’s success, resolved to then look at ways of expanding it year-by-year into further grades.
In order to discover the focus areas for the Teacher Mentorship Programme, we spent the latter half of 2014 observing the Grade 1 teachers at Trevor Manuel Primary School. During this time, we were able to organise a volunteer event to upgrade the Grade 1 classrooms. This allowed us to set a standard of excellence and add value to the teaching and learning environment for both teachers and learners. It also helped us to foster a fledgling relationship with the teachers we would be working with the following year. This invaluable observation period gave us the time to develop a comprehensive understanding about the specific learning environment and its greatest needs. In a nutshell, our research determined the main focus areas of the Teacher Mentorship Programme to be: Curriculum Development, Classroom Setup, Teaching Support and Learner Assessment.