Early childhood development extension programmes
Garden to Kindergarten
Most children enjoy playing outdoors, digging and planting. Gardening teaches children where food comes from, how it grows and stimulates an interest in healthy eating. At Afrika Tikkun ECD centres, children are encouraged to play, plant, and grow vegetables and fruits and are taught the basics of organic home food gardening. Understanding of the plant lifecycle, from seed to food bearing plan, watering, and caring for the garden teaches the children to take care of their environment too.
In disadvantaged communities where families live below the breadline, children often do not have access to toys designed for their educational development. Each Afrika Tikkun Centre of Excellence has a fully equipped toy libraries with toy librarians who manage the toys for internal play sessions and for outreach to other ECD centres nearby.
In partnership with Education Africa, the Afrika Tikkun ECD centres include an integrated marimba music programme where children learn to play the traditional African version of a xylophone. Developing self-esteem, discipline, and cultural appreciation as well as learning teamwork skills, the programme impacts language development enhancing proficiency in English, fine and gross motor abilities, and creates an awareness and appreciation of music and movement.
This programme supports the growth of social-emotional skills such as empathy, in children. Brought into the classroom as friends, the dolls tell stories about their lives, mirroring the details of the children’s own lives, and engaging the children for advice. Crafted to represent the children at the centre, Persona Dolls are used to teach children social skills, conflict resolution and develop problem-solving abilities.
Play is not only a child’s right, but also provides a fertile ground for stimulating learning and honing skills. South Africa was the first country in which UNICEF and The Lego Foundation, in partnership with the South African Government, launched their global partnership to support learning through play. Afrika Tikkun ECD centres integrate Lego play into the daily curricula to help establish fine motor skills, stimulate a passion for learning and refine skills needed later in their learning journey.
In a world where digital literacy is a part of everyday life, teaching children the necessary skills to navigate this environment is integral to their success. Tablet literacy programmes deliver access to a wide variety of learning programmes and tools, while reducing the need for bulky and expensive textbooks. Pre-schoolers in the Reception class, the year before entering formal schooling, spend time learning via tablets to launch their digital skillsets.