Introducing a global initiative to end discriminatory mindsets

Posted on November 24, 2022

Thinking Schools South Africa (TSSA) was privileged to present the TSSA Spring Roadshow in collaboration with Leslee Udwin, founder of Think Equal. Think Equal is a global initiative to end discriminatory mindsets and the cycle of violence experienced across our world, and to ensure positive life outcomes for our children. The Thinking Schools Roadshow was hosted by Cornwall Hill College on 5 September 2022.

Upon receiving the invitation to attend the Thinking Schools Roadshow, Prof Keshni Bipath made funds available for two lecturers and two postgraduate students to attend the event. Ms Nadia Swanepoel and Ms Francinah Masola represented the Department of Early Childhood Education and the students who attended the event included Ms Tamika Roopsingh (MEd), Ms Chandri Veraart (BEd Honours) and Ms Suné Haasbroek (BEd Honours), who shared their experience of the event as follows:

Ms Suné Haasbroek:
‘The curriculum of Think Equal is planned precisely to transform education, foster radical and critical thinking, change mindsets and, most importantly, to celebrate our differences. We as teachers, and everyone else, have a duty to care for and love ourselves and others. I will always remember the information Ms Leslee Udwin shared with us, and I see it as my duty to improve the well-being of all the learners I work with. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to be part of this workshop and would like to thank Ms Nadia Swanepoel for including me. I would also like to thank Thinking Schools South-Africa for hosting this amazing Spring Roadshow in Gauteng.’

Ms Chandri Veraart:
‘The Think Equal Roadshow had an immense impact on not only my teaching career, but also on my personal life. It reminded me of the immense impact educators have on the development of learners during the early developmental years. I have learned about the necessity of teaching learners about the importance of equality, respect and compassion from an early stage as these values are important building blocks for a good character, which will have a positive impact in society for years to come. I will definitely make the values encouraged by Think Equal part of my life, career and classroom.’

Ms Tamika Roopsingh:
‘I thoroughly enjoyed listening to what Leslee had to say regarding the Think Equal Programme, which equips young children between the ages of three and six years with skills, tools and resources to build character and instil essential values and morals. I believe that this programme should be introduced as a compulsory subject alongside numeracy, literacy and life skills. Many schools have different ways of teaching young children character development; however, as Leslee mentioned, these are not sufficient in our current shocking and unpleasant environment. Based on my personal experience, I have to agree with her. Many learners are not taught how to apologise, share, be kind, etc.

The introduction of such a programme can have lasting benefits for our young children—benefits that will bear fruit as they grow older and eventually enter adulthood. Furthermore, being a researcher in the ECD faculty and focusing on children from birth to the age of four years I believe that this programme can be used to achieve miracles.'

- Author Ms Nadia Swanepoel, Ms Suné Haasbroek, Ms Chandri Veraart and Ms Tamika Roopsingh

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