Harmony Kids Club – For Children and Young People with Special Needs
In Ghana, support and care for children and young people with special needs is virtually non-existent. Children suffering from Down syndrome, autism, various
neurological conditions or any related mental health issues may face difficulties or maltreatment both at school and in the general community. This is mainly due to a lack of knowledge regarding the causes of such conditions. Children with these conditions often do not attend school, and have few opportunities for new experiences.
The aims of Harmony Kids Club are to provide these children with an opportunity for basic learning, socialising, and exposure to English in an environment more appropriate to their needs, whilst providing respite care for parents and caregivers, and raising awareness and acceptance for special needs in the community. The project would particularly suit anyone with an interest in mental health or in education. Previous experience of working with individuals with learning difficulties would be fantastic, but no experience is necessary.
VPWA require multiple roles to be filled:
1 Team Leader
o Arrange a venue, food and transportation for the children
o Manage funding
o To organize and lead team members throughout the duration of the club
o General team member duties in running the club
Multiple Team Members
o To arrive 1-2 weeks before the club in order to assist the team leader with preparation and initial day-to-day planning for the club
o Detailed planning and organization of each day’s activities in advance
o To instruct on, assist with, and participate in various games, teaching, activities and crafts
o To come out to Ghana at points outside of the July/August period when the club usually will run.
o To maintain contact with the children we have already been working with, and their families and immediate community. To use these and other contacts to try to reach other children with learning difficulties in the Pokuase/Amasaman area.
o To visit the children in their homes, either for a short period each morning, or after school, and work one-to-one with the children. Use the same toys and craft project ideas as for the Harmony club, but also incorporate more direct teaching of the basic curriculum as is appropriate for their particular level. An appropriate place in or just outside each of their homes, with a table and chairs, will need to be found to conduct the lessons, and it is important that the child is not disturbed by siblings or other children from around the area during the lesson. Resources for teaching at a basic level for children with learning difficulties are available online, as well as behavioral techniques for working with them, but as you will be alone with the child, this project might be best for someone with at least some experience of children with learning difficulties.
o To update the children’s profiles as necessary.
Previous activities used in the club target certain skills and behaviors:
o Group interaction - nursery rhymes, action songs and group games such as “Simon says” and “duck, duck, goose” to encourage social interaction, turn-taking and speaking in English
o Association and memory –association games of word with pictures (e.g. calling out a country, running to the corresponding flag), matching identical pictures followed by “pairs” game (remembering where matching pairs are within a grid)
o Number recognition – Association of the verbal word, written digit and numerical concept
o Fine motor coordination – use of play dough, drawing, painting, basic writing and physical activity such as races or relays (egg and spoon, balloon under legs/over head, filling water bottles using sponges, throwing and catching)
o Creativity and initiative – various arts and crafts activities (encouraging individual ideas and selection of colour, type of crafts etc)