Dear Friends of Bottomup
In the past month, Bottomup has had some really exciting interactions with students and teachers at our partner schools. Here are some of the highlights:
- We launched the Bottomup Teacher Workshop Series on “Inclusion and Diversity” – presented by Rose-Anne Lawrence Reynolds (UCT Phd. candidate & former Head of Inclusion at Pinelands North Primary School). This is an open workshop series, five sessions long (1 session per month) that is open to teachers in the Greater Grassy Park/Lotus River/Parkwood area. 22 teachers attended the first session.
- Grade 8 & 9 assembly at Fairmount – Bottomup was granted permission to use the grade assembly time slot to introduce students to the ‘sociological imagination’ (see Charles Wright Mills’ book of the same name). This interactive assembly was a time not only to learn a new concept but also to understand how both history and contemporary social issues intersect to produce behaviours and patterns that we recognise in our schools and communities. We explored the relationship between the present public education funding model and how it intersects with communities of different socio-economic status to advantage some and place others in a precarious position. The assembly combined history, economics and mathematics in a manner that was relevant to students – and this was evident in the number of students who afterward wanted to join Bottomup’s “Critical Action Research” committee (a group made up of Bottomup staff, students and teachers).
- Global Futures, Society & Democracy – In the third term, we have adopted a new focus in our life-skills programme , that builds upon our previous work which looked at individual futures, goal setting and planning. The new focus is a move from individual futures to collective futures and shifts students gaze toward the school, community and global society. In this sessions we explore macro-level polices, ideologies and practices that shape communities, families and individual lives. In these sessions we always re-iterate the dialectical relationship between structure and agency, as our goal is not only to develop thinking skills but to encourage students toward praxis (research informs action, action allows us to ask new questions).
- Bottomup’s chess programme is still active. Both Parkwood & Perivale Primary School qualified to participate in the Western Cape Championships in Worcester this year. Unfortunately given the difficulties in logistics, accommodation and transport costs (and short notice from chess organising bodies), only Perivale Primary School will be attending.
Still coming up:
- We are hosting a Philosophy for Children (P4C) CPD credit course with Professor Karin Murris (School of Education, UCT) at Parkwood Primary School. It will be hosted in the Parkwood Tech Centre. This workshop is sponsored by Bottomup and is open to 20 teachers from the Grassy Park/Lotus River/Parkwood Area. This will take place on Fri 25 – Sat 26 August.
- Bottomup’s ‘Education for Social Justice’ youth camp is happening! (thanks to your support) – Though we still need to raise quite a bit of funds, the venue (Rocklands Adventure Centre, Simonstown) has been booked for 6-8 October 2017. This far we have 14 students sponsored, we would like to get this up to 30 sponsored over the next month. If you would like to support please see the link.
Our team is thrilled to be involved in schools in a very practical manner. We are also incredibly excited that we are able to engage high school students in a way that is relevant and educates them about global issues. It is a joy to see the spark in their eyes and it is really great to know that the skills they are learning in thinking, analysing and attempting to do something about the problems they see in their schools and communities are skills which will benefit them both in life and in future studies they embark on.
Many people only get to learn about concepts like the sociological imagination at university level…thanks to you, we can do this with Grade 8 & 9’s. As we move closer to the end of 2017, we still wait to know where we are in terms of funding for 2018, so please spare a thought for us. If you believe in the kind of work we are doing, why not consider supporting us on a monthly basis and maybe even having a cup of coffee with our team to learn more about our work.
The Bottomup Team.
Also published on Medium.