The vision for Soul Action’s children & family work is to train, support and encourage parents and leaders working with children to provide a safe, loving, nurturing and fruitful environment where children can grow into their fullest potential holistically. This is achieved through three main areas:
The iMatter Children and Family Work Conference is held annually and is aimed at volunteers, staff or caregivers who are working with children and families in and around Durban. The aim of the day conference is to provide a space where people can interact, be inspired through worship, keynote talks, workshops and ministry, and for them to leave with their passion for children and family work re-ignited.
As our Child protection policy states; ‘Soul Action is committed to working with projects, community members, police and government to eradicate abuse of children. We therefore encourage each individual, project and church connected to the network to develop its own child protection procedures that will protect children from abuse.’
To help people to do this Soul Action annually facilitates the Keeping Children Safe Course covering a variety of different topics. The aim is that by the end of the course each organisation /church will have a child protection framework in place.
Working with Parents of Pre School Children
Parenting support programmes, a proven intervention for building constructive parental-child relationships and effective parenting practices, are critical to support parents who are raising children in a context of high levels of poverty, chronic illness and disability, violence and other social risk factors. There is practically no support provided to parents and families to fulfil this role – support which is urgently needed in the South African context. (National ECD Policy 2014, p. 30)*
Soul Action’s Parent and Toddler Programme intends to address the issue of ‘no support’ by working directly with parents and caregivers. The vision and aim of this programme is to empower and enable parents / caregivers to provide a safe, loving, nurturing and fruitful environment where their children can grow into their fullest potential holistically. Our aim will be achieved by working with a partner organisation from the Soul Action Network to offer a parent and toddler group in a community where at present there is very little support for parents/caregivers at home with under 6 year olds.
The programme will support parents and caregivers by providing weekly sessions which will provide a:
- well-resourced play space for children and parents/caregivers to use together
- an opportunity for parents/caregivers and children to connect socially with others in their community
- an opportunity for parents/caregivers to develop a knowledge of the skills under 6s should acquire and activities to promote this holistic development.
Working with ECD centres
The quality of programmes currently provided at many ECD centres in impoverished communities is not sufficient to ensure good child outcomes….Quality early learning programmes must be scaled up to reduce the school-readiness gap for children living in poverty, in under-serviced areas, and with a disability. (National ECD Policy 2014, p.30 & p.33) *
Soul Action’s Early Childhood Development Programme intends to address the issue of quality and open up opportunities for learning by working directly with pre-school teachers. Our aim is to empower adults working with pre-school children through offering an ECD Programme for pre-school teachers who have not attended any other pre-school course. The programme supports pre-school teachers by providing monthly workshops. Through the workshops the pre-school teachers develop a knowledge of the skills under 6s should acquire and activities to promote this holistic development.
In conjunction with workshops, the pre-school teachers are visited by a monitor once a fortnight to ensure what has been learnt during the training is applied, and the children receive quality input. Each pre-school are provided with a resource pack so they have the resources necessary to do this.
*Ref: National ECD Policy Draft copy, 28 Feb 2014: Patricia Martin, Lizette Berry, Linda Biersteker, Chris Desmond, David Harrison, Sara Naicker, Linda Richter, Haroon Salojee & Wiedaad Slemming, Human Sciences Research Council