Cape Town - In an effort to educate her pupils on the history and significance of voting, Grade 1 teacher Carolann Cupido-Saaiers decided to hold a mini-election at the school using cartoons as candidates.
The Scottsville Primary teacher said to make it easier for the children to understand, she used cartoons instead of political parties but took time to explain that parents would be voting for a local government that will be responsible for municipal authority.
“Kids learn through play, so after I explained the history and importance of voting, I set up a practical voting station. I titled the names, made them little IDs, included PPE, and placed the ballots and ballot boxes.”
Asked by the children if they could sit in class if they did not want to vote, Cupido-Saaiers said she contextualised the scenario into real life and said if they did not vote they would not have a say in which cartoon they got to watch.
“I informed them that like in real life, they have the option of not voting but I explained that if they don’t vote for a cartoon and their favourite cartoon is not the winning cartoon then they cannot complain they will have to watch the cartoon vote by their friends.”
Cupido-Saaiers said a lot of things happening in the country could be incorporated into life skills which will contribute to having well-informed young adults in the future. She added that activities similar to mini-voting would combat voter apathy and encourage young people to be politically active.
Grade 1 pupil Cassidy Uren said she felt happy to cast her vote. The 7-year-old said she liked that she had the chance to choose and decide for herself.
“When I am older, I will vote so that I can be a part of making good changes in the country. It’s a good thing to vote for yourself and know how to vote, so that when you’re older you will know what to do.”
Irlandro Jaftha said he was excited to have an ID and take part in voting for his favourite cartoon. Irlandro, who said he wanted to be an athlete one day said he was looking forward to one day voting for the kind of government he would like.
Principal Ashley Mortlock said the voting exercise was well received by the children and was an initiative he strongly suggested other schools use as an educational workshop. He said the exercise improved the children’s understanding of the voting process and would signify why it is important for them to exercise their democratic rights.