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    We have a crisis of childcare

    Sadly, many of our communities are very poor. Too many children are brought up by single parents, ill or dying parents, foster parents, elderly relatives, teenage mothers, or older brothers or sisters. Often these communities don't have access to good education and basic services. Child care, both in children’s centres and at home, is often inadequate, and even emotionally and educationally damaging.

    Simple survival and social problems often impair the ability of many parents to parent well. Children’s centres are often run by untrained staff who cannot provide even basic educare. And yet we know that children’s brains do most of their growing in their first 7 years, making it critical to provide them with stimulating, safe and nurturing educational experiences. These can provide building blocks for growth all the way to matric and beyond, and lay an essential foundation for "growing" effective citizens.

    What does the Flying Children programme do?

    • We form existing childrens centres into small clusters of about five to six centres with a central "hub" (also a children’s centre).
    • We "make over" each centre so that it has the basic play, educational and safety requirements for an educare centre.
    • We use the central hubs as a place where teachers from each cluster can gather for their three-year training (in the teacher's own language), a place for supervision from psychologists and parenting classes, as well as a demonstration school and, very importantly, as a walk in centre for children (or their caregivers) in need and distress to come for help.
    • We assign each cluster a trainer who visits each centre two to three times a week doing demonstration, lessons, advising, supervising, monitoring and, above all, supporting the teachers so that they provide good care to the children in their centres.
    • Each centre takes in vulnerable children, as well as children from more stable homes.
    • In each cluster at least one centre runs an aftercare programme where we can place vulnerable children, so that they have a place to do homework, a safe place to play, care from a concerned adult and a nutritious meal. If these children need further help, the cluster fieldworker is called in by the centre head.

    Who is behind Flying Children?

    Flying Children is an NGO registered with the Department of Social Development as a Non-Profit Organisation (Registered 10/11/2011 with the NPO number 93139). It grew out of similar work conducted with great success in the East London area with local organisations there.

    The director

    Flying Children is the brainchild of Ms Lindy Harris. She is a trained and experienced pre-school teacher and art therapist, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhodes University, a Higher Education Diploma from Unisa, and a Diploma in Art Therapy from Hertfordshire College of Art in the UK.

    Ms Harris is registered with the Health Professions Council of SA as an art therapist. She developed the concept of Flying Children with schools and teachers in the East London area, and continues to provide art therapy for children at St Vincent’s School for the Deaf.

    The board

    • Prof Franz Krüger, acting chair. Prof Krüger's day job is as director of the Wits Radio Academy at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (Contact him: fkr@mweb.co.za)
    • Ms Lindy Harris, director (ex officio)
    • Ms Marj Brown, who is a teacher and librarian, and has been active in social justice causes for many years
    • Ms Thara Bahadur, who is an occupational therapist
    • Cally Tucker, who is a qualified pre-school teacher, working mostly with handicapped children