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Have you decided yet what you'll be doing for 67 minutes on Mandela Day, 18 July?

CapeTalk Breakfast was intrigued to find out that one of the projects that you can get involved in is the creation of 'Calming Kits' for classrooms in the conflict-ridden Cape Flats.

Learning in Reach is focused on developing early learning centres in Lavender Hill in Cape Town. It is currently training 30 pre-schools to tackle trauma that children experience in these areas.

Project director at Learning in Reach, Leanne Reid chats to Kieno Kammies about the concept of calming kits and how you can help.

She says while a great deal of time has been sent on teacher training and improving infrastructure and resources in ECD classrooms there are other key concerns to be tackled.

At the end of the day, if a child arrives at school having suffered from abuse, neglect, walked past dead bodies on the way to school, being bullied on the way to school, living in a horrific environment - when they get to school they are not ready to learn, they are not open to a learning environment, they are operating in survival mode.

Leanne Reid, Project director - Learning in Reach

We cannot teach a traumatised child and that is what we are dealing with in Lavender Hill.

Leanne Reid, Project director - Learning in Reach

They are creating 'calming corners' in the classrooms which has sensory tools to help them calm themselves, like playdough, rain sticks, and finger labyrinths.

The organisation is helping teachers identify the difference between a 'naughty' child and a child struggling to connect and find the right behaviour.

So we don't punish the child and send them to the naughty corner....but try and find out what is driving that behaviour. You have to get them to calm down. They don't have the words at age 3-6 for what they are feeling.

Leanne Reid, Project director - Learning in Reach

The event to put together these kits is taking place on Thursday, 18 July 2019 from 09:30-15:07 at Workshop17 (Watershed) at 17 Dock Road.

Find them on Facebook, read more about the Mandela Day project at Learning In Reach here, and go their crowdfunding page to make a donation to this worthy cause.

Listen to more about this inspiring project play and how you can get involved:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How to help create calming kits for Cape Flats children on Mandela Day

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