WHAT WE DO
The Earthchild Project is a dynamic and innovative non profit organisation that has the power to transform communities. We’re working within the existing structure of schools, teaching kids the things we wish we’d learnt. We’re creating a new generation of confident, conscious and responsible young leaders. Children, teachers and parents all benefit from the Earthchild Project and within the first year our impact is tangible and visible.
THE EARTHCHILD FACILITATOR
Our facilitators are young, experienced and inspirational human beings. They are placed in a school where their role is to introduce and maintain our holistic and experiential education programme. Their full time position ensures that the project’s impact will be meaningful and sustainable.
After only one year our schools have beautiful organic vegetable gardens, they are recycling, their tuchshops sell healthy food, and yoga, meditation and life skills lessons are part of the school routine – just to mention some of our exciting projects and the many new skills our children, teachers and parents are learning
THE CURRENT SITUATION
Currently, South African society is full of disharmony and faces many social challenges. The environment is being destroyed, people’s health is deteriorating, there is a general lack of sound morals and values, and an absence of love and respect for one’s fellow man and oneself.
For this overall situation to really change on every level, change has to begin with the individual. Adults can become set in their ways and be less open to change. Children, on the other hand, are enthusiastic, full of life, and open to new ideas.
However, the majority of mainstream public schools are not providing an environment that is supporting children to reach their true potential. The focus is largely academic and the learning process is more passive than interactive and experiential. Also, children and teachers alike are dealing with high levels of social, economic and personal stress and pressure. The standard educational system does not provide the life skills training to enable people to deal with these problems.
Deep rooted, sustainable change can only be achieved by addressing all levels of the situation. Schools have to be seen in context of the wider community, and teachers, parents and pupils should have a dynamic, interactive relationship.
To start truly educating our children, the education should be holistic and experiential. The academic curriculum should be complimented with practical skills which can be applied at school and integrated for life.
However, how can we introduce this type of education into mainstream schools considering that teachers and principals have extremely busy schedules and do not have the time or energy to initiate and maintain these extra educational activities?
The Earthchild Project places full time facilitators in schools, whose role is to introduce and maintain projects which facilitate holistic and experiential education.
Full time facilitators can:
- Be fully involved and dedicated to their specific school
- Form meaningful relationships with the educators, learners and parents
- Utilise teachers? knowledge of the system, children and community to create tailor-made projects which will most benefit
the specific school
- Ensure that the project is seen to come from within the school rather than being imposed upon it
- Ensure the sustainability of the project
The Earthchild Facilitators will conduct classroom lessons which will be complimented by practical experience outside the classroom, partnering NGO involvement, extra mural activities and school campaigns.
Our aims are:
- To educate the ?whole? person
- To make education informal and fun
- To give the youth practical tools for life
- To open their minds to new ideas
- To be creative and to inspire creativity and expressiveness
- To give youth the responsibility of co-creating their realities
- To build the individual and instil a sense of self awareness and self worth
- To inspire and empower the youth
- To be inclusive and Universally applicable
- To instil human values by always having an underlying moral lesson
- To support youth to reach their true potential
EARTHCHILD PROJECTS CORE VALUES
- Taking responsibility
- Our Program will aim to instil these four values in all that we do
EARTHCHILD PROJECTS THEMES AND ACTIVITIES
1. Environmental Education:
A) School Vegetable Garden:
- Facilitator sets up a school Garden Club comprised of learners, a teacher and a parent
- Two after school Garden Club meetings per week
- They set up and maintain an organic vegetable garden
Benefits for the school:
The garden can be used as a Living Classroom
The vegetables grown can be used for the school feeding scheme
Benefits for the learners:
- They learn a practical tool for life
- They learn how to work as a team
- To learn about and experience nature
- Appreciate the value of food
- They learn about taking responsibility
- They learn what plants, animals and people need to survive and flourish
- The Facilitator sets up recycling at the school
- Paper, plastic, glass and tins are collected at home and at school
- Recycled goods are collected weekly from the school
- The Facilitator gives each class a fun and interactive lesson about why it is important to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle our waste
2. Health and Wellness
- The Facilitator arranges for fruit and other healthy snacks to be sold at the school tuck-shop
- Learners are taught about healthy living and eating habits. For example: drinking more water, eating less sugar, watching less TV and getting more sleep
3. Lifeskills Training
A) Breath Water Sound
This four day Art of Living course is taught to all the learners from Grade 3 up to Grade 7. The course shares tools and techniques that allow individuals to live with less stress and experience a greater sense of well-being. Some of the many benefits include:
- Improved health
- Increased vitality and energy
- Elimination of stress
- Ability to handle emotions more effectively
- Increased mental clarity
- Greater joy and peace in life
- The facilitator takes weekly Breath Water Sound follow-up sessions so that the long term benefits of the course can be experienced.
B) Sharing Circles
- We are piloting Sharing Circles with the Grade 4 and 6 learners
- Classes are divided into set groups of 10 learners each
- The facilitator takes each group for a 45 minute Sharing Circle once a week
- See Sharing Circle Guidelines for more information
4. School Campaigns and assemblies
Facilitators will also be running school campaigns and making assembly announcements. The aim of these will be:
- To reinforce the lessons being taught in class
- To motivate them to apply what they have learnt
- To inject a good dose of fun and joy into their day!
TEACHERS AND PARENTS
We will keep the teachers and parents constantly informed and updated. We will also encourage them to take part in courses offered by our partnering organisations.
- Art of Living courses
- Soil for Life gardening courses
- Mamelani?s Health and Wellness courses
- Weekly Yoga classes at the school
SUSTAINABILITY AND MAINTENANCE
There will be a small team of dedicated people who will run the Earthchild Project. They will build and maintain relationships with the facilitators, schools, partnering organizations and funders, and be the central point bringing them together.
One of the most important roles of this central Earthchild team will be to identify and train new facilitators and to manage and support existing facilitators. Not only will facilitators attend courses and workshops given by the partnering organizations but they will also be trained in areas such as leadership, facilitation and counselling.
Each facilitator will be supported in their own personal growth and in their role as an Earthchild facilitator. Weekly meetings will be held with all the facilitators to report on each school?s progress, share challenges and successes, set goals and deadlines and ensure that things are going according to plan.
One of the most exciting prospects of the Earthchild Project is the potential for its expansion. It is creating a model which can be implemented in all schools. The ultimate goal is that every school will have an Earthchild facilitator who is a permanent member of staff. This is something new and original but the potential is great. All schools could become institutions of holistic education, supporting and nurturing children and communities.