The Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) has partnered with the Western Cape government's After-School Game Changer programme to pilot a year-long visual arts project in primary schools for Grades 1 to 4 learners. The arts project has been introduced as a value-add to the Mass participation, Opportunity and access, Development and Growth (MOD) programme which is run by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport at selected school premises, called MOD centres, offering a range of after-school activities to learners.
The CCDI’s visual arts project trains community-based post-matric young people who are under 25 years old and unemployed.
It aims to provide these youth facilitators with work experience and give them professional practice experience to increase their opportunities for success.
The CCDI has designed a basic, elementary visual arts programme for the youth facilitators, who are not necessarily trained in the arts, and it involves six weeks of training with education specialist, Richard Kilpert, which includes using lines, shapes, patterns, colours, collage and other creative processes to foster children’s learning in a creative way. They are then provided with materials and guidelines on how to work with the children as well as vital skills and confidence in order to interpret the activities with the learners in their own context.
The project is being run at four schools with over 30 children participating at each site – Sophakama Primary School in Dunoon, Marconi Beam Primary School in Joe Slovo, Milnerton, Walter Teka Primary in Nyanga and Bongolethu Primary in Philippi, as well as at the Nyanga Arts Development Centre.
“Because it’s after-school, there’s less emphasis on curriculum and it’s more about enabling the facilitators to give the children an enjoyable experience that is different to other extra-mural activities such as sport. It provides a space for children to come voluntarily to learn new skills,” says Kilpert, who continues to mentor the facilitators during the course of the project.
As part of their mentoring process, a group of 13 facilitators were at the CCDI in April for a three-day workshop with Kilpert where they got to know each other and share their experiences of teaching at the schools. They also learned some new ideas from CCDI’s Creativity Facilitator, Mara Fleischer, and also spent a morning at the City Hall to experience new ways of movement and storytelling at the Infecting the City public art festival which they found very inspiring.
“This pilot presents a unique opportunity to collaborate with the MOD programme and expand their offerings beyond that of sports, literacy and numeracy. We felt that there is great potential to scale an art and design-focused offering across the MOD network,” says Joanne Sandler, education coordinator of the Human Capital Development programme at the CCDI, who currently manages the project and mentors.