EMEP’S STRATEGIES AND APPROACHES
The goal of all EMEP’s work is to contribute significantly to a provincial and national movement of Community Hub Schools for extended, child-, teacher- and family-friendly learning, recreation, and support services. EMEP combines three strategies, two approaches and four programmes to achieve the goal of a national movement of Community Hub Schools for extended learning, recreation and support services.
- Testing & Demonstrating: continuous development programmes with schools willing to embark on long-term development journeys test and demonstrate good extra-mural community hub practices
- Embedding & Spreading: Extra-Mural School Hub practices are embedded and spread via EMEP’s DevTraining-and-Support and Network Programmes, using creative, experiential training methods and sustained mentorship and support on-site and in clusters
- Influencing the Environment through lobbying and advocacy with decision-makers, planners, and designers across sectors, especially within government’s ‘social cluster’.
- The Hub: working ‘from inside out’, i.e. the starting point is within the school firstly to ensure a solid foundation and then reaching out to the community and strategic partners.
- The Hub-Spokes-Rim: the full, holistic ‘both..and’ model, working from ‘both’ inside-out ‘and’ outside-in, i.e. simultaneously within the school, within the community, and then opening up two-way support pathways that link school and community, managed by integrated ‘development desks’.
SCHOOLS AS EXTRA-MURALS COMMUNITY HUBS
EMEP’s goal is to help South African schools to develop into hubs of dynamic learning, recreation, and support for their school-going and surrounding communities by offering:
- extra-mural programmes for children, youth, and community members that are engaging, relevant holistic,varied, creative, well-managed, and safe
- an holistic approach for the school’s continuous organisational and curricular development as a vibrant, child-, family-, and teacher friendly institution
- thirdly, community development and support for local organisations and individuals to both deal with their underlying needs and issues as well as organise themselves effectively to use the school maximally as a community resource.
EMEP’s vision of an ‘Extra-Mural Community Hub’ is a school that offers innovative extra-mural programmes that extend access to learning, recreation, income-generation, and support services to learners, families, and local communities. This is accomplished by maximising existing resources, most especially their people and by making the most of ‘empty’ time: afternoons, breaks, early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Such ‘maximising existing resources’ is a necessary first step before drawing in new resources, including strategic partnerships and requests for investment. Building an extra-mural sector provides opportunities within school time for educators, school managers, governors, and district officials to build skills, learn good practices, and implement organisational systems that advance whole-school development efforts.
Used strategically, extra-murals enable schools to meet the context-specific needs and interests of their learners, families, staff, and local communities. Extra-murals trigger change in all aspects of the school. They allow for child-friendly environments, improved teaching and learning, engagement of families and partners, and ultimately bring about the vision of a full-service Community School used as a delivery and support hub by a host of relevant providers who otherwise would have neither systemic entry-point nor a systemic enabling environment for ongoing, sustainable support. EMEP works in strategic coalitions with a range of partners to test and deepen our approach, and to spread the model in the Western Cape and then nationally.