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Children’s Book Network and the Teen Team at Hermanus High School

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We have been getting to know each other during the Winter Workshops in Stanford and the feeling was mutual. We like working together. The only sad thing is that the Matrics we have been working with will be graduating with, we hope, flying colours, and flying off to other things. We hope some of them will still stay in touch, but it is definitely time to start thinking about a new Teen Team for 2019 and discussion has already begun.

The advantages are immediately obvious. If there is one thing that the under-resourced children we work with need, it is heroes. Having talented older children taking an interest, sharing their experience and, above all, caring, is beyond price.

The facilitators could do with some heroes too, as attendance is up … and up … and up. We can handle the extra numbers, but we need help to do that. A workshop is not a classroom situation where there is an inbuilt system of discipline. Our children come to us in their holidays and at weekends. They come to have fun. We have to keep them interested and absorbed all the time, or things very quickly fall apart. We also have strong motivation from younger children to start what they call 'Little CBN' for Grade 2 to 4.

There are advantages for the teenagers who give so generously of their time. The sense of commitment has been impressive. Their engagement with the younger children is heartfelt. CBN would very much like to see this project become part of the school’s social responsibility programme in ways that would benefit the participants and give them a strong sense of their own worth in our community. With that in mind, we have already begun to talk to Hermanus High School about the possibility of doing a small pilot project – or a training workshop in the fourth term – keeping in mind the pressure of exams on both teachers and pupils. If a workshop is not possible, a presentation by CBN to interested learners could give us a good starting point for next year’s workshops.

Points already raised:

The second week of the fourth term might be a good time to meet with interested people. Maybe an afternoon after school? Or a Saturday morning? Possibly during a break? The initial meeting needn’t be long.

We could include around 6-8 Hermanus High Pupils and we are looking for input in art, craft, writing and language skills, reading to younger children who insist on joining in (Little Children’s Book Network) and other skills that might fit with what we do. We already have one Grade Ten boy who has been successfully teaching soccer skills (to great acclaim from the girls as well as the boys.) This is a project that will grow with the young people – and the children.

Projects are already happening in Stanford (with Stanford and De Kop children) and we have done workshops with Enlighten Trust in Hermanus and hope to do so again. Gansbaai Library were interested when we initially approached them and Klienmond Library has also bene mentioned as a possible partner. There is plenty of scope to play with ideas and see where we get to.

We are also keen to be involved in a national reading quiz with Grade Seven's and older helpers would be invaluable here too.
Onwards to 2019!

THANKS
Our thanks, as always, to National Lotteries for logistical support with operational costs.
Sincere thanks to the Teen Team of 2018, who broke new ground with us.