After a very slow start, we looked at the Remedial Centre and realized it needed to move in a different direction because with the increase in numbers things had to be changed if we were to achieve the best results.
We also saw that the remedial section of the school needed to have a name change, as the attitudes of parents, teachers and children seemed very negative. The word “Remedial” often brings with it the idea of “stupidity”, or inability to achieve. Every individual is ‘wonderfully and fearfully made”, and not to be left behind, just because they think differently, or cannot keep up with the others. When a teacher sees that a child needs special attention, that child needs to go to a place of peace and security where they will have one on one or small group sessions to give them time to build on missing concepts. That is the reason we changed the name of the remedial section to Growth Point.
Colour and fun facilities for all children are vitally important, but more so for those with learning difficulties. We need to understand that these children see things from concrete not an abstract viewpoint. For example, he knows that a dog has 4 legs, so the four times table becomes a fun game because he knows and visualizes dogs, not just abstract numbers. The eight-times table is easy when you visualize a tarantula or a scorpion. So with imagination and creativity, it has become a place of peace and learning, where the children are not labelled, but envied, at being able to come to Growth Point. Who would think that a game of “magnetic darts” could help you to learn your tables? What about a board game of “Garden Explorer” to help your reading, as well as addition and subtraction, in paying out, or receiving “beans” according to the instructions at the checkpoints. Play “Checkered Chimps” to improve your mental maths.
I have found the games to be an invaluable teaching tool. We work with a child’s natural abilities or preferences, and encourage them to work back from the concrete to the abstract. We have done projects on pollution, Malaria and the digestive system with good results
Some children come for a few weeks, to perhaps pick up a concept missed, whereas other children need the one on one approach for much longer. Whatever the case, every child needs confidence building, as they come with many insecurities, because they are different. Whether they are there for one month, five months, or five years, the purpose of Growth Point, is to equip the child to understand himself, and the way he thinks, and therefore able to compete in the mainstream when he is ready to return
In closing, just as children in the orchestra or the cricket teams need to be encouraged and congratulated, so do those who come to Growth Point. All children need a listening and understanding ear, and their viewpoint is important.