Michelle Martinusen: ”There is a desperate and growing need for remedial therapy. Teachers just don’t have the time to spend with children needing extra attention, and as a teacher I became desperate because there are so few places to refer them to.”
White River born and raised, Michelle has recently returned after spending four years in Tzaneen. She finds remedial teaching very rewarding but says that children need to get through the system and our schools are getting steadily busier and busier. Both teachers and kids have long, full days then face hours of homework in the evening.
Michelle believes that reading is an unnegotiable essential but says that today’s children have lost the love of books and reading. “Reading is the core of everything and to me it is so important that children aren’t reading for pleasure anymore,” she says. “Our children can’t extract information if they can’t read.” She’s noticed a lack of confidence and that children are terrified to read out loud.
“As a teacher my goal is to prepare children for the real world.” We need entrepreneurs – people with confidence. Our kids need to leave the system with their confidence intact so they can apply for jobs, go into a bank and ask for a loan. Take risks and invest in their future.”
Determined to find a learning support unit that didn’t label a child, Michelle spent a year investigating various educational franchises but found them too limiting for a small town. Nothing grabbed her so she extended her research to include teaching aids and programmes that she could run and use to develop her own system. This is when she came across a reading programme called Wise Eye.
Wise Eye scientifically measures reading ability and monitors progress. It’s an intense programme requiring regular attention and takes children from foundation stage to matric. Even adults can benefit from the programme. At the moment, Michelle sees students twice a week at her practise in Nelspruit and the rest of the week is taken up with home visits in White River.
Michelle’s dream for Smart Junction is to create a hub for an assortment of essential support therapies. Smart Reading, Smart Occupational Therapy, Smart Maths, Smart English…the list is long. Once the child has successfully completed the reading programme, Michelle will assess them for competency and then take them back through the previous year’s school curriculum to bring them up to speed. Her focus is on bridging the gap.
Who should contact Smart Junction? Parents. Give Michelle a call if you think that your child is not coping or if teachers mention that your child could do with some additional assessment and support. Look out for behavioural changes and lack of confidence, which are signs of a struggling child. Professionals such as Optometrists, Speech Therapists and Educational Psychologists as well as teachers will refer children to Michelle when they’ve identified a problem. Michelle does a one on one assessment and evaluation and although she does not diagnose dyslexia, she can work with dyslexics.
Isn’t it a relief to know that sympathetic, positive help that refuses to label a child is on hand?
Cell: 082 561 1268