ECA is Much more than Extra
At Baraa Primary School we organize a lot of extra curricular activities (ECA). The brain is stimulated in so many different ways and learning while having fun is so much more effective. We notice a strong connection between the ECA program and the overall level of achievement of the pupils.
The ECA program runs after regular teaching hours from 14:30h except on Wednesdays, when we start at 13:00h. Sports, arts, music and dance, drama and juggling are our main activities. The extra classes are really popular and it is a challenge for a school with 1252 pupils to organize the ECA program.
Many of our volunteers are directly involved in the ECA activities and iThemba also seeks the help of local teachers to assist. This means that in addition to the regular teachers of Baraa, who are government employees, iThemba funds local teachers to help and develop the ECA program.
With the ECA program we try to develop certain values and social skills outside the traditional learning situation. Team play, creativity, building self confidence, taking and showing initiative and dealing with failures are just a few of the many qualities we try to teach our pupils.
Sports, Music, Dance, Art, Drama and Gymnastics
Sport represents the largest part of our ECA program. We play on six disciplines: soccer, netball, basketball, volleyball, running and cricket. When the opportunity presents itself we take part in sports matches against other schools and organizations or enroll our pupils in local competitions.
During the daily morning salute at school, drums and flutes assist in the ceremony. We created our own school drums out of cow skins and employed a drum teacher. We also try to arrange regular choir practices.
Dance classes are really popular amongst girls and boys. We organize traditional African dance accompanied by singing and drums and during sports week at the end of term we have contemporary dance sessions. We stage a concert and on special occasions such as the annual fundraising event, we create a platform to showcase their achievements.
Art is all about creativity, invention and particular motor skills. iThemba gives the pupils of our school the possibility to work with good art materials such as paint, coloured pencils or wascos and fabric. Our arts group is involved in creating Christmas cards, and cards for fundraising events and other fairs.
Via our drama group we try to discuss important themes like respect for each other or the use of violence at home or at school. Drama helps to develop personality and is a creative way to teach important values.
Girls and boys enjoy the gymnastics lessons provide by Silas our garden manager, a talented gymnast, and Mr Mwinyi our gymnastics couch. in 2017 we will build a gymnastics play ground with our partner Dream Networks. The playground project (Love plays) requires UK children and youth to collaborate together with children in developing country to design and build creative and sustainable play areas for the community who have the need of a play area.