Kuierkidz Learning Centre

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The PHASA Foundation is an NPO functioning within the wildlife management sector. The foundation supports a variety of projects pertaining to research, conservation and livelihoods being undertaken by existing NPOs, and is empowered by various business owners who share an interest in wildlife management and inbound tourism. By supporting one of our projects, you are helping to feed an orphan, provide shelter for a homeless person or support a farmer in need, or contributing towards the sustainability of animals. As foundation directors, we have a very special place in our hearts for mentally disabled children. Therefore, we have identified Kuierkidz and Deo Valente as worthy causes in this regard. I would like to share some insights with you into one of our ongoing projects.

Kuierkidz Learning Centre is a holistic, independent, special needs school situated in Melodie, Hartbeespoort. We combine the best of outdoor and indoor learning activities to promote the full potential of our learners. The child is recognised as an individual with distinctive educational and other needs.

The Kuierkidz Centre has a holistic approach to learners and follows a therapeutic model where each child has their own individual learning programme. SNAP — a special needs adapted programme — has been especially designed with their strengths and challenges in mind. Kuierkidz takes a radically different approach from schools for neuro-typical learners. The centre recognises learners’ differences and creates ample opportunity for them to reach optimal potential. It is the centre’s mission to assist, empower and enable learners with disabilities to achieve their full potential in a safe, nurturing and caring environment, regardless of the barriers to learning they experience. One-on-one tutorial sessions of 20 minutes each, as well as certain activities for groups of three to four learners are presented. At Kuierkidz, individual attention is guaranteed. Each learner’s learning programme is tailored to their needs, keeping their specific strengths and challenges in mind. They are taught to become independent and how to communicate their needs. Their programme starts early morning at 8:15 and ends at 13:15. It is a full day with two short breaks in between.

The daily programme is comprised of 11 sections, also called stations. Stations provide the following activities for development, among others: mouth exercises and language drills, language and communication, perceptual education, sensory integration, life skills and body image, fine motor skills and writing activities, art and creativity, role-play and fantasy, building blocks and carpet activities, gross motor skills and outdoor play. The focus throughout is language development, communication, social skills and life skills with sensory integration. Opportunities are created for learners to gain more independence. Toilet routine and movement are huge challenges for some learners, and social stories are presented to overcome these challenges.

The programme is adapted for older learners, focusing more on independence, life skills and vocational skills. Activities such as pottery, gardening and domestic activities are introduced. Teamwork is of great importance and tutor, parent and therapist work together. Happy child, happy parent, happy school!

At present, there are 27 enrolled learners, 19 tutors, one administrative post, one kitchen lady and one cleaner. Kuierkidz learning centre is open five days a week from 6:00 to 18:00, as there is also an aftercare programme. No funds are received from government or any institution and the centre’s only source of income is school fees, sponsors and fundraisers. This learning centre, founded by parents, started small in temporary buildings at Meerhof, but has grown into a learning centre of note!