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Helping children to learn at home

Written by: Dale Hes

Littles ones  are being given a headstart in life, thanks to easy-to-use activity sheets that are being made available to parents, free-of-charge. 

With many children ages five and below not being able to access early childhood development (ECD) centres, particularly during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, government is working in partnership with other organisations to give caregivers access to free learning materials that can be used at home.

The Department of Social Development, together with the Department of Basic Education and UNICEF South Africa, have developed the Tshwaragano ka Bana: Let’s Play, Learn and Grow Together programme, to help children stay busy, while learning the essential skills they need for their early development.

The materials are provided in the form of activity sheets which can be downloaded from government and UNICEF’s platforms, and have also been printed out and distributed to parents by ECD centres, or sent to them over WhatsApp.

There are 12 activity sheets available, which cover everything from planning a child’s daily routine, to learning about shapes, healthy eating habits, exercise through play, proper hygiene, counting and other essential topics. The sheets have been translated into all 11 official languages.

The activities are based on the National Curriculum Framework for Children aged from birth to four years, the National Integrated ECD Policy, CAPS for Grade R, as appropriate, and other appropriate resources for this age group.

“The early learning activities are playful and can be easily incorporated into daily routines using low-cost/no-cost resources. The activity sheets enable parents to support the early learning and development of their children while at home,” explains UNICEF South Africa representative Christine Muhigana.

Through the programme, early childhood development learning materials have reached over 683 000 parents and an estimated 940 000 children under five. 

Tebogo Bonolo, owner of an ECD centre in Nelson Mandela Bay, says Tshwaragano ka Bana was a huge help for parents to keep up with the education of their children during lockdown.

“The sheets are very easy for parents to understand and to work through with their children,” says Bonolo.

*To download the Tshwaragano ka Bana activity sheets, parents or ECD practitioners can go to the UNICEF South Africa website at unicef.org/southafrica