At Heatherdale, we pride ourselves on being more than just a residential childcare facility. Here, we are concerned not just with the physical needs of our children, but with their educational, emotional and spiritual development as well.
This is why we offer a comprehensive range of programmes, encompassing areas such as life skills training, therapeutic services, sporting activities, spiritual development and educational support – all guided by an· Individual Development Plan (IDP) that is devised for each child.
Life Skills Training:
We aim to equip our children with the skills and abilities needed to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.
To achieve this, we have enlisted the help of Siyaphambili/Off the Street Kids (OTSK), who offer a mentoring programme called “transition to independent living”.
A mentor is assigned to each child, preparing him/her for life after Heatherdale.· In addition to being an exercise in self esteem and confidence building, children are taught practical skills, such as how to apply for a job, how to look after one’s health, how to budget, etc.
Our children attend crèche, pre-primary, primary and high schools in the area. The learners have met with varying degrees of success at their respective schools. Fortunately, we have managed to facilitate placements in a number of schools offering special needs education, such as Batavia, Belfont, Thornton Road Primary, Belgravia, Mary Harding and Learn to Live (a technical school offering training in panel beating, woodwork, etc).
At these schools the educators maximise the potential of their learners by providing them with the appropriate educational and therapeutic services – subject to their precise individual needs, and sensitive to their background and upbringing.
Where possible, we also offer post-placement support, through which we have been able to sustain the tertiary studies of a number of former Heatherdale children.
Recently, we helped one of our former residents, Nina Plaatjies, graduate from the University of Cape Town as a Social Worker, funding her two-year Masters degree and ensuring she completed her studies.
We encourage our children to be actively involved in various sporting activities, as we believe this not only ensures they keep fit and physically healthy, but also helps them maintain a healthy state of mind. Sport is also fun, sociable and provides the children with a crucial outlet for letting go of some of that pent up energy!
As for our achievements on the field of play – our softball team recently took home the winner’s trophy at a knockout tournament featuring other Children’s Homes from the region (quite an achievement, considering this was only our second season of playing softball!)
The children also partake in various cultural activities, including Youth Fellowship camps and outings arranged by staff, youth groups, churches and other community organisations.
At Heatherdale, we view the spiritual wellbeing of our children as being of the utmost importance – both as an end in itself and as a crucial constituent in their ongoing personal development.
We hold prayer services twice a day – in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after supper. Far from seeing this as a chore, the children enjoy the services and find them genuinely uplifting. And of course, it is a treat to hear them sing!· (On occasion, they have been invited to sing at various churches.)
We also partner with Marsh Memorial Homes, our fellow Methodist Church children’s home in nearby Rondebosch, joining their children, once a fortnight, for spiritual development worskshops, and once a month, for a joint church service held in their beautiful chapel.
Heatherdale is also home to a number of Muslim children, and we have set them up with an appropriate mosque and Imam to provide them with moral and spiritual support.
Individual Development Plan:
At Heatherdale, we steer clear of a “one size fits all” approach to childcare and development. For this reason, all of our services are guided by an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that is devised for each child. The IDP assesses the child’s individual strengths, challenges and aspirations, and maps out the interventions necessary to support his/her ongoing development.