Kickstarter is an educational teacher empowerment and artist in a residency programme, at the Intermediate level (Grade 4, 5, and 6) in South African Primary Schools which has been running since 2015 with the support of Rand Merchant bank. The project was originally based in two districts in Kwa Zulu Natal ( Umlazi and Umgungundlovu) and the Free State (Fezile Dabi and Lejweleputswa) and expanded into the Sol Plaatjie district in Kimberley, Northern Cape in 2018.
The project is CAPS aligned and aims to upskill and equip facilitators and Primary school teachers to deliver quality Arts lessons and programmes, taking place during the school day.
Since the covid pandemic began in 2020, many of our teachers found it hard to practically teach creative arts in schools. Not just due to creative arts being deprioritized as pressure on performance for other subjects was more imperative. But also, because some of the creative arts disciplines were difficult to teach with mask and social distance settings. Especially in classrooms that were already so cramped.
Mr. Bonginkosi Bele from Thamela Primary in KZN has been one of the teachers who has pushed to use the creative arts in all his subjects:
“2020 was very difficult in terms of teaching. But we had no choice but to teach. The drama was challenging because of this social distancing. When it comes to assessing, I had to come up with a system where a learner will have to perform individually”.
He told us about using the warmup exercises to get his learners excited in class. Though they couldn’t do drama or dance, he tried to get them to do some exercises that they enjoyed. He also mentioned that Visual arts were the simplest discipline to teach as most of the work is done on one own. But then there was not always time to prioritize it. He has enjoyed the challenge of seeing how to still use creative arts in our new and bewildering circumstances.
His vibrance and enthusiasm for the arts are inspiring and he (along with many of our other teachers in the programme): “When are we getting back to our physical workshops?”
Due to the pressure which schools faced during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown last year ASSITEJ SA postponed all workshops for the Kickstarter Creative Arts programme and in the best interest of our participants. However, the facilitators shifted their work online and developed video resources that can be used to support the teachers and continue quality Arts engagement in the classroom.
In May this year, The Kickstarter management team and facilitators revisited all the Kickstarter schools to deliver these videos, which have been stored and saved to flash drives for easy access. With the generous support of X the team had also been able to create some Arts posters and give each school a set of the Imbali Visual Literacy Arts books. Each school also received a large jembe drum to use in the Creative Arts lessons.
The resources were well received with a number of the schools thanking ASSITEJ for their continued support and there is much excitement about the continuation of the project!