In May the ECD CoP and the Early Grade Reading Community of Practice hosted a joint CoP for the first time. Covid-19 has disrupted our sense of normality; with this in mind, the purpose of this meeting was to look at how organisations are supporting caregivers and caregivers’ responsiveness. It was an opportunity to speak about what support CoP members need and what support can be offered. The presenters at the CoP were Kaley Le Mottee from the Ntataise Network as well as Vuyelwa Mbalekwa from Shine Literacy.
Ntataise is an independent not-for-profit organisation which was founded in 1980 and has for the past 40 years been instrumental in supporting the provision of quality ECD programmes in marginalised communities across South Africa.
During lockdown Ntataise has implemented a number of interventions. One of these is the dissemination of home learning activities. These consist of short video clips targeted at practitioners and their interaction with children. They have been repackaged into text for caregivers to explain how to use items found in the home for learning. These activities are shared through WhatsApp, the Ntataise network and social media. They include educational games with movement and play, so that children continue to have fun and learn through play. These activities also help parents connect with their children through play.
Ntataise typically has face-to-face workshops and is now having to make use of digital tools such as:
– WhatsApp is being used as the primary communication platform. It is used to send video
clips etc., facilitate small group discussions, and to submit activities; more specifically,
trainers are able to monitor across groups and instantly respond. WhatsApp is also useful for
practitioners as they have access to the content and can go back at any time to read over it.
– Google Meet is being used to introduce topics and have interactive conversations. It is good
for psychosocial support of practitioners as they connect with peers.
– Google Forms is being used for monitoring (asking for feedback on activities) and to submit activities and host surveys.
The aim of Shine Literacy is to encourage a culture of reading by supporting schools to become hubs, creating reading opportunities for children and supporting families through the school and
surrounding community. Shine Literacy works with the teachers and the programme is volunteer
based. They have 1500 volunteers in 73 schools in the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-
Natal and Gauteng.
Shine Literacy has not been able to have access to the schools and has had to get permission from Principals in order to contact parents. Its Family Literacy Workshop has been reworked during lockdown so that resources are still available. Shine Literacy provides the following:
– A morning training session to prompt parental awareness. Parents are asked to think about what children are learning, how they are learning, and about the learning environment. The aim is to move parents away from projecting their own schooling and how they learned onto their children, and to take into account new ways of doing things. This session was initially for Grade R and Grade 1 parents, but has since been broadened to incorporate the whole Foundation Phase.
– Shine Literacy at times conducts paid-for workshops/staff development, covering the home/school link and the importance of constant communication with the school in support of the learners, and why literacy, reading and language matter. The methodologies for reading are shared reading/shared story time and paired reading. Everything is embedded in the Shine ethos so that the emotional “container” is kept for parents to realise that a conducive environment is a good start.
To access the resources shared and an in-depth account of the discussion, please see meeting highlights here.