Tuesday, 24 February 2015

ASHOKA accreditation

Early in 2014 Salma Seedat, a relatively new parent to our school, emailed me to ask if we would be happy if she nominated us for ASHOKA accreditation as a Changemaker School. ASHOKA is an international organisation which seeks to create and encourage world change through the development of core skills like teamwork, empathy, creativity and leadership. After agreeing to the nomination, the school had to fill in a very lengthy questionnaire, be visited by  three ASHOKA 'fellows', and finally four of our staff attended a four hour interview process! 43 schools in South Africa were nominated for this accreditation, 14 of those schools were visited and 7 schools went through the interview process! Only 4 schools in the Western Cape were eventually chosen - us being one of those 4! And so, on the first of October last year, Pinelands North Primary was awarded ASHOKA accreditation after this lengthy process. ASHOKA Changemaker schools all around the world are expected to teach empathy, critical skills in leadership and problem solving to solve social issues currently facing the world. As Pinelands North is inclusive, in the broadest view of the word, all our children are taught conflict resolution skills, and team work, and are expected to do their 'bit' to make the world a better place! Following up on our Ashoka accreditation as a Changemaker school, Ashoka made funding available for Maggie Lemere, an oral historian and storyteller, along with Nathan Golon, the director of Photography with  Goodfight Media, both based in Washington DC, to make a movie about our school. Pinelands North was chosen to represent all Changemaker schools in Africa, to show what is possible with limited resources and a  brave commitment to educating the whole child!
So, for one week in late November, they observed everything that our children and staff do, that makes our school the empathetic, creative, problem solving, socially aware school we are! 
The movie, with the main story line focussed on David White, the first pupil with special needs who was enrolled at Pinelands North in 1998, tells the Pinelands North 'story', and is now available on YouTube, Everyone a Changemaker: The Story of Pinelands North at  youtu.be/m92tLcVU6u8. The movie has been a hit with everybody......it has had more than 4000 views in just six days! I have received emails from complete strangers, all around the world, who have seen the 7 minute clip and been so impressed. Past pupils of the school have written to us to say how glad they are too, that the school from their childhood, is still making a difference in children's lives!

The movie has been playing in the school foyer for a few days, and several children have commented on their feelings having watched it:
"I think the video is amazing as it really shows a great view of the school and how we all work together!" Temwa Ngambi
"I think the movie was a great hit because everyone was happy and having fun, as this is the most amazing school!" Chane Thompson
"I found the short film spectacular, as it really showed the true beauty of the school and inspired me to make a short film myself!" Christopher Jehring
"The movie shows how the school guides children to achieve what they thought they couldn't!" Kaden Meyer
" I think the movie gives people the clear understanding that we are a happy inclusive school in a quality learning environment!" Matthew McFarlane

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