A woman who started teaching three kids in her kitchen says her home school has now grown to 60 pupils – who she teaches for free.
Gwen Phillips taught Grade R and Grade 1 learners, but says when parents of older children heard about her skooltjie, they asked if their kids could also attend.
Gwen, who runs Clever Bears Homework, says she started tutoring in her kombuis in 2011, but after the pandemic struck and threw the school system into chaos, more children needed help with homework.
She says on their off days at school, the kids come to her for tutoring so that they don’t fall behind with their workload.
Currently learners attend school five days in a two-week rotational cycle.
“We help learners who struggle with reading, spelling, maths and all the other subjects at school, so they come here and we help them during the day,” she says.
“This is all after the Covid-19 regulations that all school learners started going to school two or three times a week, so most of them were left behind with their school work.
“I worked at a school with special needs. I could see the lack that our children in my community have and I thought I should bring my knowledge and skills here.”
She tells the Daily Voice she built a Nutec structure and started the classes full time.
“We currently have young people who want to be teachers after high school and are not enrolled. We allow them to come and spend their gap year here and teach the children.
“And we have a retired teacher, Margaret Hoffman. She has been working for 40 years, but retired. She is assisting us with the classes.
“Most of our children are farmworkers’ children because they can’t afford to pay for extra classes.
“In the mornings, we give them breakfast and after school we provide a light lunch.”
A Grade 3 learner’s mom, Rene Gordon, says since her child has been attending the classes, he has improved.
“He gets better grades, I don’t think that Gwen is getting the recognition she deserves,” she says.
“At the end of my work shift, I don’t have time to dedicate to my son’s homework.”