WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
The project is located in a suburb of Cape Town, called Observatory, situated at
the bottom of Devil’s Peak (so named because of its shape). This peak makes up the
left-hand formation of the famous Table Mountain (named after the 'tablecloth’ of
clouds that cascade down its slopes). The view of the peak from the school is quite
The school has about 80 pupils. The age range of the children is from about 3 to
13 years of age. There are about 12 teachers and teaching assistants. The classes
are very small to ensure that children receive individual attention. The very little
ones are introduced to sign language and do what all pre-school children do – learn
by playing. They have stories read or signed, they paint, they do puzzles, play
simple games - and they have outdoor ‘play-learning’. If you choose to work in the
Pre-Primary section, you would help with all of this. This is a very interesting
section as the children are learning communication skills perhaps for the first
The pupils aged 6 – 13 are taught the normal Grade1 to Grade 7 school curriculum
in two different sections. One section (Grades 1 – 7) consists of children who have
hearing aids or implants, which enable them to have partial to good hearing. They
have normal lessons. The other section (also Grade 1 – 7) caters for children who
are completely deaf – and they are taught their lessons in sign language.
The hearing children will continue their education at other special needs schools
or at mainstream schools and could leave at any time to do this. The completely
deaf children usually continue their education at a High School for the Deaf in
Worcester (about an hour from Cape Town).
You may assist with any section, and any age group, fulfilling class assistant duties
such as helping children with maths, reading and other school subjects.
If you know sign language, you could work with the totally deaf children - or you
could actually teach sign language to those learning how to sign! You may, at first,
spend a bit of time in each class, and then decide where you would like to go on
a regular basis. The children follow the normal Grade 1 - 7 lessons and if you would
like to teach any specific lessons, the school would be happy to arrange this. Once
settled in with the classes you'd like to be involved with, you'll be given a timetable
to follow for the duration of your placement.
School starts at 8am and finishes at 2.15pm. There are breaks at 10.30 and 12.50.
Lessons are 30 minutes long and all teaching is done in English.
Sports: Some time during the school day is spent outside, playing
games, but they have no formal sports. The kids love playing football or netball,
but unfortunately the school doesn't have a formal sports timetable. If you'd like
to coach children in any sport, it would be very welcome and the children would
be encouraged to participate. If you do choose to do this, you can arrange to coach
groups of children during their “Life Orientation“ lessons.
During the summer, the children go to the local Observatory public swimming pool
right next to the school – it's an outdoor pool and a very popular “sports” outing,
which the children love!
SCHOOL TERMS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Please note that this placement is not available during the school holidays, so it’s important to consult the school terms below to plan your placement dates. Your project coordinator will also assist you with your placement planning, as well as suggest alternatives and exciting things to do during the holiday periods.
Dates for the 2018 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 4: 9 October – 12 December
Dates for the 2019 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 1: 09 January – 15 March
Term 2: 02 April – 14 June
Term 3: 09 July – 20 September
Term 4: 1 October – 4 December
Generally the last week before terms end is given to exams and tests. This means that you will find your work load dropping during this week and you will usually find more free time than normal school time. Exams are written by classes from Grade 3 upward three times a year. For the last three weeks of term 2, 3 and 4 it would not be suitable to volunteer in the classes doing exams. The younger children would still welcome volunteers, but individual requests for these dates would have to be discussed first.
Weekends and school holidays are free for you to sight-see and do activities, tours and trips! Please see some of the amazing Add-On trips we've put together for you to complement your placement. More information can be found on the ‘Optional Activities’ Tab on the left.