WHAT IS EMEP?
The Extra-Mural Education Project (EMEP) is a NGO based in Cape Town.
We work with schools in under served communities in the Western Cape.
Our goal is to enrich the school experience for children, school staff,
parents and local communities by developing extra-murals. We have seen
how an exciting, balanced and well-managed range of extra-murals can transform
a school into a Community Hub.
WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN EXTRA-MURALS AND COMMUNITY HUB SCHOOLS?
Through extra-murals, Community Hub Schools offer extended access to
learning, recreation and support services. We believe that Community
Hub Schools can help turn around a faltering Education System.
WHO FUNDS EMEP?
The Western Cape Education Department
The Department of Social Development
City of Cape Town
May & Stanley Smith Foundation
What does EMEP do?
If a school is ready and willing to start or expand an extra-mural activity or set of programmes, EMEP provides support, training and mentorship to help go about it in a holistic way.
What are ‘Holistic’ Extra-Murals?
Each extra-mural activity, whether it is a sport, art, club, educational support or community service, should include these three elements:
1. links to the ‘world-of-work’,
2. a social-service component,
3. life-skills for personal development.
Who does the work?
EMEP does not run extra-mural activities. We train and support teachers and school management to plan, manage and run the extra-mural programmes. We are very aware of how over-loaded our teachers are, especially in under-resourced schools, and it is understandable that teachers are cautious about taking on responsibilities in addition to curriculum delivery – a huge task in itself. But what EMEP has discovered through its work with 40 partner schools, is that schools who do make the effort to go the extra-mile, find that it really pays off by improving the school climate, children’s behavior and often their academic performance. Extra-murals also attract increased involvement and support of parents, community members, local businesses and other NGOs. It is important to remember that teachers do not have to do it all on their own. Collaboration is a core element of EMEP’s model, and schools that have solid partnerships find that extra-murals can actually lighten their work-load. Most importantly, the learners love extra-murals and benefit greatly by exposure to things that they do not necessarily receive at home. Extra-murals keep them safe and occupied, and are a tremendous boost to their personal development.
HOW DO I START EXTRA-MURALS AT MY SCHOOL?
TIPS FOR STARTING AND SUSTAINING EXTRA-MURALS AT YOUR SCHOOL:
- The first step is to identify an extra-mural activity that is something that you are personally passionate about.
- Thorough activity planning is essential.Plan each session for the entire term at the outset.
- Decide on over-arching themes to guide each session.
- Draft a schedule for the whole term from the start. A balanced range of extra-murals should be planned in such a way that all level of ability and affinities are catered for. This provides opportunities for learners who don’t participate in traditional extra-murals -like sports codes – to explore new talents, and broaden horizons.
- Extra-murals should emphasise fun and inclusiveness, not competitiveness.
- Be creative.
- Some EMEP partner schools have had extra-murals ranging from ‘Sista’s Clubs’, Food Gardening, Friendly Soccer Tournaments, Flower Arranging, Bicycle Clubs, Breakfast Clubs, Children’s Story-book making, Community Tae Bo, Dance-for-All, Mothers’ Support Groups, to Neighbourhood Watches…to name just a few. Assess the specific needs and interests that live in your school when you are planning your extra-murals.
- Each school’s programming should be tailor-made to suit their context. Remember, no two schools’ programmes will look the same.
- Find the right time for your activity.Extra-murals can take place before class, during class, during breaks, after class, evenings, weekends and holidays.
- Give responsibilities to the learners who are participating in your extra-mural. Involve them in planning, give them tasks such as register-taking, refereeing, taking responsibility for equipment or rotating the clean-up tasks.
- Have a brief reflection at the close of each session with the learners so that they can verbalise what they think they have learned.
- Endeavour to deliberately connect the specific extra-mural activity with curriculum goals, as well as the ‘world-of-work,’ and community outreach wherever possible.
- Widen your target group.
- Bear in mind that school-based extra-murals can also cater to parents and local community adults as well as children who are not learners at the school.
- Promote your activities both within the school and publicly.
- Make use of colourful and exciting notice-boards to advertise the extra-mural programmes, post schedules, and showcase achievements.
- Exhibit photos and art-work around the school, celebrate successes and have demonstrations, performances and expos in school assemblies.
- Distribute flyers around your school’s community, or make announcements about activities on local radio.
- Invite the media to visit your school to cover special events. It is vital to get the support of your school leadership and management from the beginning.
- Try to negotiate a reward system or incentives with your school management and SGB.
- Don’t underestimate the role that the SGB can play in your extra-mural initiatives.
- Teachers who are managing or running extra-murals need to be acknowledged for their extra effort and time, and need ongoing motivation to stay the course. Involve outside parties.
- Teachers cannot carry the entire burden of extra-murals on their own. Recruit volunteers from the parent body, local tertiary institutions, youth programmes and other NGOs to help you to do the hands-on running of the various activities.
- Enlist the help of older students, or alumni in your extra-murals. Non-teaching staff can also be a huge asset to the programmes.
- Children love relating to their teachers differently in the extra-mural setting, but building relationships with other adults is also very important. Invite visitors, experts and special guests to enrich extra-mural sessions.
- Be consistent with the time and the place where you meet.
- Make the space special somehow.
- One teacher who runs an I love reading extra-mural got the children to make hand-made ‘magic slippers’ that they get to wear when they are in the reading circle.
- Make sure that the atmosphere of the extra-mural is informal, but still make sure to have clear aims and rules.
- Be realistic about the costs involved.
- Access funding streams that your school may have, and seek support and donations from local businesses or special interest groups.
- Plan a fundraiser with the learners in your extra-mural activity with the goal of an outing or party.
- Start small.
- Remember, a motivated teacher means a motivated student!