January 12, 2017
Our students are all starting back to school this month! Our entire team has been busy collecting stationary kits and new school uniform pieces for growing kids. With children in 45 unique schools, this was an incredible feat as each school has it’s own uniform, and each classroom has a unique list of supplies. Our 29 Forever Families are spread throughout Johannesburg and Cape Town, and one family might send children to six different schools based on the particular needs of each child in the home. We are committed to seeing each child explore passions and hobbies and this new school year means we will have children involved in extracurricular activities including drama, choir, art, rugby, netball, soccer, athletics, and gymnastics. All of our youngest children struggling to reach developmental milestones will be involved in speech, occupational, and/or physical therapy to help them thrive.
We are passionate about making sure each child is set up for academic success. When a child first arrives to our care, he or she receives a custom IDP (Individualized Development Plan) that includes a comprehensive educational plan. These plans are then customized on an ongoing basis to grow with the child. We are passionately invested in seeing our children reach success knowing the following to be true:
-Most of the children who come to Acres of Love have experienced severe malnutrition, which often has long-term affects on academic performance.
-40% of our children arrive with moderate to severe special needs.
-When we welcome older children we understand that they have often missed large gaps of schooling due to sickness, abandonment, caring for other siblings, or a focus solely on survival in the streets or townships. These educational gaps get larger as these students reenter mainstream public schools and are unable to catch up to their peers. The students are then passed from grade to grade without learning or mastering important building blocks for learning.
We are committed to finding the best educational setting for each child in our care. At this time, some of our children cannot be served best in traditional South African schools. For this reason, we are starting a new venture for the 2017 school year- our own Acres of Love academy. We have always been committed to finding the best option for our children, even if it means creating the solution ourselves.
For some of our children who have not found success in a traditional classroom, we will be offering an option closer to a Home School Cooperative. We have hired an incredible educator who is has a long history in education, including home schooling. We are excited about this new option for some of our children, and are hopeful that we can build their confidence and their academic success in a smaller, loving, environment. We want to offer the very best care to each child, and look forward to seeing our students flourish this year!