Welgevallen Community Psychology Clinic’s involvement with the Pebbles
The Pebbles Project is a humanitarian project located in the Stellenbosch area outside Cape Town in the Western Cape Province. The purpose of the Pebbles Project is to enrich the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds with special educational needs, especially those whose lives are affected by alcohol, through providing support and training to local wine farm and township crèches and establishing after-school provision for older children living in the Winelands.
Students from the Masters Programme in Clinical Psychology and Community Counselling are involved in this project. The psychology students provide scholastic and/or emotional psychometric assessments of children who present with learning difficulties and/or psychological problems. The students typically conduct a clinical interview with the parents or guardians of the children, gather collateral information from the child's school and afterschool teachers, conduct a comprehensive psychometric assessment with the child, score and interpret the assessment results, provide feedback to the relevant sources, make appropriate referrals and write integrated psychometric reports – under the close supervision of Dr. Chrisma Pretorius, a registered psychologist and lecturer.
Dr. Pretorius believes that the students' involvement in this project provides them with valuable learning opportunities to apply and integrate their theoretical knowledge and practical skills through delivering a service directly to the community. According to the after school clubs, the psychometric assessments make a significant contribution to help the teachers to address the difficulties that the children present with. The feedback from the wine farms also suggest that the psychometric assessments play a significant role in the transferring of children to schools where they can have the chance to develop to their full potential in an educational environment more suited to their specific needs and abilities.