Our training trip to South Africa – January 27th through January 31st – was a leap into tomorrow for Souns. We spent the week with Souns teacher-trainer candidates…eighteen in all. These were teachers whom we have trained and shared Souns time with over the past few years. They have voiced an interest in becoming teacher trainers: volunteers who observe, guide, and train teachers to implement Souns in their classrooms.
This move forward, in conjunction with the development of an online training module, ensures good practice as the interest in Souns grows. It is a very simple program, but simple can be quite difficult to implement. Having hearts, minds, and talents trained on the ground in home countries to assist teachers can make a tremendous difference for learners.
The week also included training a group of Grade 1 teachers. It is important to continue the program for children who had Souns in Grade R (kindergarten) or who enter Grade 1 new to formal schooling. Without letter-sound knowledge, a child is handicapped in writing and reading. Progress is minimal or absent for the child who enters Grade 1 in South Africa without being reading ready. Classes we have visited have from 45 to 85 children with one teacher. The attention needed to “catch up” is not likely. These children do not have to be trapped if we build a support group of Souns trainers to assist classroom teachers, ensuring basic letter-sound knowledge is learned in playful, engaging, and lasting ways.
Souns is making a difference. This project is a result of The Rotary Foundation and Rotary Districts 6900 and 9400. Rotary Club Pretoria East is the host club in South Africa, and Rotary Club of Smyrna is the international partner in the USA. Rotarians from Rotary Club of Peachtree City are volunteer trainers for the Souns program. These joined energies are changing the world for children. Thank you, Rotary!