Motivational speaker Pamela Broadley has started an initiative at primary schools to help Grade 7s prepare for high school.
The Eagle Programme will run at primary schools for 10 months in group sessions as well as one-on-one sessions. The programme focuses on self-awareness, how to cope with change, teenage pregnancy, subject choices, behavioural skills, support structures, safety, gender violence, and respect.
On Monday December 6, Ms Broadley had her first session at Bokmakierie Primary School where she spoke to the Grade 7s about the transition from primary to high school and what changes they could expect.
She said that many of the pupils were scared of a new school, a new environment, road safety when walking to school, and the influence of drug abuse at high school.
She told pupils that when they walked to school, especially along the main road, they should use the buddy system and walk with a friend.
She spoke to them about organisations that could help them, such as the police, the community police forum, neighbourhood watches, the Athlone police station’s youth desk and more. She also spoke about exploring their talents, and many pupils were amazed at their classmates’ ability to sing and dance.
“They saw each other in a different light. I spoke to them about being an example to the Grade 1s. Parents are so focused on everything else that they forget to pour energy and motivation into their children. They each got a journal to write in, and I played songs – both happy and sad and motivational – which they reacted well to,” she said.
Ms Broadley hopes to roll the programme out at all primary schools as part of their academic syllabus for the year. “The programme is meant to help and complement the academic system,” she said.
She also spoke to pupils about life after high school, career choices and bursaries.
The Athlone police station’s youth desk members will help Ms Broadley, according to the station’s spokeswoman Sergeant Zita Norman.
“They’ve been through high school and they’ve been through the challenges the youth fear now, so they can speak to them about how they overcame that,” Sergeant Norman said.
Bokmakierie Primary School principal Michele Pinto said the programme would help pupils recognise their worth and give them the space to speak about their troubles.
“This is really important to me,” she said. “I could see almost immediately the positive affect it has on the pupils. Pupils are learning how they can improve their own circumstances, what they can expect at high school, and becoming self-aware.”