Teachers taught how to use dolls in lessons

Mitchells Plain Educare Forum facilitators and participants, Grade R teachers from Metro South Education District at a Persona Doll Training (PDT) workshop.

Mitchell’s Plain Educare Forum chairperson Karrimah Jacobs and secretary Soraya Abbas facilitated a diversity workshop with Grade R teachers, from Metro South Education District (MSED) at the department’s local office in Lentegeur on Tuesday March 19 and Wednesday March 20.

The training was funded by Persona Doll Training (PDT), a non-profit organisation promoting the development of positive self-identity, values and empathy in children.

It builds on universal story-telling traditions to promote inclusion, and tackle issues of prejudice and unfairness.

Ms Jacobs said it was an inaugural training, in line with early childhood development (ECD) migrating from the Department
of Social Development to the national Department of Basic Education.

“We took this opportunity to be proactive and start our relationship building with our colleagues,” she said.

Carmen Niekerk, deputy chief education specialist for ECD in the MSED said the two-day training was “very powerful.

She said participants shared personal experiences with other participants, which evoked suppressed feelings.

“They now have a better understanding of how the pupils in their care feel when marginalised, bullied and stereotyped,”she said.

Persona Dolls are life-like, culturally appropriate girl and boy cloth dolls.

Each doll is given a “persona” or identity, and transformed into a unique personality with a cultural and social background, family situations, abilities and disabilities, fears and interests.

The non-profit organisation trains adults working with children in ECD centres, schools, homes and communities to use the interactive Persona Doll approach to raise and discuss sensitive issues like racism, xenophobia, sexism, abuse, physical appearance, HIV and health issues, sexual orientation, culture and faith, social class and disability.