Developing Educators

This programme focuses on the provision of stimulating ideas and activities for teachers to use in the classroom, which will improve the standard of current teaching in the schools. This outcome has the added benefit of keeping children in a safe and interesting school environment even when home circumstances are in a state of flux. If children enjoy going to school and find it a safe, fun and happy place to be where their minds are being fed, they will be less likely to fall through the cracks in the system when faced with the death of caregivers and difficult living conditions. Fifteen years ago a teacher would stand at the front of a class, now they are prepared to get down on the floor with the children (below left).
It has been shown that higher literacy levels amongst children correlate directly with a decrease in the school dropout rate in the high school years.
This programme’s activities include workshops with Gr 1-7 educators from Zisize’s six partner schools where they receive training in setting up and maintaining classroom corner libraries (Training right and corner library below right). They have access to a supply of regular library book exchanges through Zisize's mobile library service to the schools. (below)
Pupils from nine primary schools - Khume, Manyiseni, Mayaluka, Mbalekelwa, Mgedula, Mpontshini, Okhayeni, Oshabeni and Our Lady- take part in termly book quizzes (Battle of the Books) and an annual drama competition. Children rise to the challenge and the standards of reading and comprehension are improving rapidly
Left shows Battle of the Books teams and supporters in Zisize's library. Below are teams in action
From 2008 to 2013 the focus was on grade 1 & 2 literacy training in the Zisize supported schools using the Molteno Project methodology, where children learned to read and write in their mother tongue through the starting point of making sentences and stories about their own lives.
Once children have mastered isiZulu, they bridge to English in grade 2, thus securing their path to literacy in both languages. Some of our partner schools are in a poor state of repair, others fare better, but all the children now love to read. (See below)

Every afternoon the library is open to the children from the surrounding area to use the facilities. Zisize’s librarian reads stories to the children and organizes activities and games to improve literacy. Twice a week she runs the Tholulwazi Book Club where 20 children between the ages of 6-14 years meet at the library where they do fun activities all focused around reading. Children are taught to love books from an early age


Giant strides have been made in terms of literacy, which will stand children in good stead when studying all subjects at all levels. Their major obstacle to achieving academic success was mathematics, where poor scores lower averages at Matriculation examinations and prevented capable students from being accepted in Tertiary Education or in Government employment. Zisize now engages the services of an experienced Durban teacher who provides weekend workshops quarterly. Standards of mathematics teaching and pupil understanding is slowly improving at the partner primary schools.


Early Years Education is a vital area where Zisize is focussing attention. Most teachers/creche leaders for grade R and below are not qualified teachers and many do not have a matriculation certificate themselves.

“Stimulation involves relatively simple techniques such as play, conversation and exposure to colours and shapes. Yet it is critical to the neurons in the infant’s developing brain.

Along with genetics, stimulation and socio-economic factors, the nutritional conditions during pregnancy and infancy have an important impact on the growth of the brain. After early childhood, it is still possible to improve children’s cognitive development, but their fundamental capacity has in many ways already been determined.”
United Nations World Food programme:
 World hunger series 2006 – Hunger & Learning


Zisize's teacher trainer conducts regular workshops for Grade R teachers, encouraging them to make learning a fun experience for their pupils (seen above) . Right, teachers are working in Zisize's library.
Above in Zisize's creche, making sorting games
Above - making puppets for the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Zisize's ECD trainer provides training and support to a total of 12 community creches.