Evolving inner city learning at Bjala Square
LEOPARD TREE LEARNING CENTRE
Exploring the solutions to everyday challenges for children in South Africa
The challenges for learners in Jeppestown
Mpho is an 11 year old girl with an infectious smile who loves multiplication and drawing houses. Her smile she got from her mother, Ntando. Ntando works 8 hour shifts at a factory in the inner city; she comes home late and makes dinner for Mpho and her four sisters, before cleaning her own home and putting the kids to bed. No matter how much Ntando would love to spend time helping her children learn and grow, there simply aren't enough hours in a day for single mothers. And with much of their studies, Ntando couldn't help anyway: she herself left school at age 14, and already speaks less English than Mpho. Almost every child at Leopard Tree has a story like Mpho's. Extensive pedagogical research shows that young learners require many hours of daily intellectual stimulation in order to grow and develop to their full capacity: stimulation that, sadly, often doesn't happen in inner-city schools in over-crowded classrooms. So every child like Mpho is disadvantaged from the very beginning... unless we change the story. At Leopard Tree, an extensive after-school programme with dedicated tutors and exciting activities provides the kind of intellectual nourishment that can change a child's life forever, and unleash her natural talent.
Mpho needs a helping hand - will you reach out and give her yours?
Bringing wide-scale, accessible, high-quality educational services to residents of inner-city Johannesburg
The Leopard Tree Learning Centre is
an education lab in the heart of the city
developing low-cost best practices in learning and teaching
. Through an intensive after-care programme, Leopard Tree will develop a
scalable pedagogical model
teach foundation literacy and numeracy in high-impact schools across the country.
The Leopard Tree Learning Centre exists to
assess proven educational models in the South African urban context
so that in the future they can be rolled out to high-impact schools across the country - while providing an
exceptional service to the learners at the Centre today
. The Learning Centre is currently asessing: How to
develop core numeracy and literacy
among learners who are often behind on their grade levels, so that
no learner in South Africa need ever be left behind.
succesful educational models and theories
from around the world can be made to work in the
South African urban context
, so that new ideas and fresh thinking can bring our learners the best possible outcomes. How the
specific needs, experiences and challenges of learners in this community
interact with current best practices in education so that we don't just bring our learners the methods that are theoretically best in general, but discover the methods that are best for the specific learners in our unique context.
WHO WE ARE
Melanie has been passionate about finding new ways to help solve challenges facing South African education since university. Melanie has directed an NGO providing access to tertiary education for learners from Khayelitsha, Phillipi and Nyanga townships; created a fellowship to give financial, educational and social support for the tertiary education of an exceptional refugee engineering student; and worked as a curriculum developer, teacher, and teacher trainer in a low-cost school in Uttar Pradesh, India. Melanie received her BA and LLB from the University of Cape Town and her LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) from the University of Pretoria.
CEO- Bjala Property
JJ is an Urban Investor and City Maker. As CEO of Bjala Property, an urban investment company currently operating in Johannesburg's CBD, JJ has developed urban farming initiatives and job-creation schemes. He founded Bjala Property in 2011 when he felt the time was right to fulfil the role of the new generation city stakeholder who will use the built environment as a tool for meeting societies needs, especially in the areas of housing, education, and access to job opportunities . He has successfully managed to combine his passions of entrepreneurship, the built environment, design, and social purpose by intersecting them all into Bjala Property, a specialist provider of affordable housing. He received his Bsc in Property Studies from the University of Cape Town.
Learning Centre Tutor
Nellie has a passion for children of all ages, with experience working with all ages in different sectors that cultivate development, including working at an ECD centre, and an internship with Afrika Tikkun. Nellie was the top student in her degree in 2012, and is currently completing her honors research into affordable private schooling in peri-urban areas of South Africa.
Uri has been invested in the potential for innovative models to improve urban education since writing a thesis about the political philosophy of school choice in 2007. Uri was involved with the largest movement of university students organising for education reform in the United States; took part in a youth delegation to learn about charter and magnet schools in the Bronx; and has pioneered new methods for improving statistical literacy in high school and college populations. Uri received his BA from Princeton University. He is the bestselling author of
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Copyright Leopard Tree 2013 Photo credits: Thapelo Motsumi for Umuzi Photo Club