News | Education 29.09.2011

KIKUS sets course for South Africa

“It was inspiring to discover a method such as KIKUS that can be used to promote all eleven official languages in our multilingual nation,” enthused Ruth Leukes, director of early childhood education at the Metropole Central Education District Western Cape, after attending a KIKUS basic seminar for English in South Africa.

This enthusiasm was shared by the other educational professionals who took part in the seminar, which was funded by the Siemens Stiftung and held in Hout Bay near Cape Town in September 2011. The two-day program introduced workers from local childcare centers and NGOs to the basics of the KIKUS method, providing materials and methods to help them teach vocabulary, grammar, and socio-linguistic behavior in a way that children can understand. Participants also learned strategies for successfully integrating native languages and involving the parents. “For many, the seminar opened up a whole new world, showing how learning can be made fun,” relates Dr. Edgardis Garlin from the Center for Multilingualism for Children (Zentrum für kindliche Mehrsprachigkeit e.V. – zkm), who led the course.

“Native linguistic and cultural diversity are part of the fabric of South Africa. Families often speak one language at home and learn another at school,” explains Ursula Gentili, project manager at the Siemens Stiftung. “English plays a key role as the most important language for education. That’s why good English skills are fundamental to success in both school and the workplace. The KIKUS English seminar is designed to encourage teachers to nurture the children’s language skills from an early age.”

A KIKUS training seminar was also held in German at the German international school in Cape Town for educators at German-speaking schools and preschools. German teachers and educators also find that a lack of good language skills often diminishes the performance of their young charges, many of whom grow up speaking two or more languages.

Click here to go to the website (in German) of the Center for Multilingualism for Children (Zentrum für kindliche Mehrsprachigkeit e.V. – zkm).