Ebony Park 2017 Winter School- Back to Basics

By Anna Sango & Welsh Dube

Ikamva Youth Ebony Park hosted its annual winter school between the 3rd and 14th of July 2017, from Monday to Friday. IkamvaYouth Ebony Park decided that the branch should focus their energies on closing the gaps in our students’ knowledge of the core subject areas and settled on the theme: ‘Back to Basics’. The tutoring sessions during the first two terms revealed that our students were battling to grasp the basics in most of the core subjects. The winter school was open to our Grade 9 – 11 students with a 1: 5 tutor to student ratio maintained throughout all tutoring sessions.

During the first week of winter school the branch primarily focused on intensive tutoring during morning and afternoon sessions. Morning sessions started off with ice breakers to get the students awake and enthused for the tutoring sessions ahead. Fundamentals were the focus of morning sessions; Mathematics, English and EMS for the Grade 9s and expanding to Physics, Business Studies and Social Sciences for the higher grades. Volunteers were assigned tutors to the preparation of materials for fundamentals; these were designed to respond to the theme of our winter school and focused on a range of skills such as comprehensions, past exam papers and essay writing. The sessions were broken up with an hour lunch break where the students and tutors were fed, daily, by a local catering company: Mutshinyane Catering. During the afternoon sessions the branch allowed students to focus on key problem areas in other subjects, however tutors were also able to engage with the students in other creative ways such as hosting discussions or playing educational games. To end off the first week we organised a Spelling Bee competition, which was a highly successful event, with students participating enthusiastically.

After a high energy first week, we settled into the activities of the second week where morning session continued to focus on fundamentals in the core subject areas. Our students continued to work hard in these sessions showing commitment to making improvements before the start of the school term. Afternoon sessions were much more relaxed this week. Grade 9s and 10s spent their afternoons in the winter sun socialising and playing games, while Capitec hosted a financial literacy workshop for the Grade 11s from Monday to Thursday. We wrapped up the winter school with an CCBSA retail experience excursion for the Grade 9s at the Coca Cola factory, as well as a talent show in the afternoon. Students, and a few tutors, showcased their various artistic talents and were well supported by their peers. Our students proved to be an incredibly talented and passionate bunch!

The winter school was a huge success thanks to the hard work, dedication and passion of our students, tutors and branch staff. The learners participated in all the activities wholeheartedly and we believe that we will see vast improvements in their outputs in the semester ahead!