On World Play Day, HOPE worldwide South Africa announces a new, national Caregiver “Learning Through Play” project with support from the LEGO Foundation.
HOPE worldwide South Africa (HWSA), is a national, non-governmental organisation that works in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector in 7 provinces in South Africa. We are partnered with Save the Children South Africa, the Ntataise Trust, and the Early Learning Research Unit, and with funding from the LEGO Foundation with the goal of providing Caregiver Learning through Play (CLtP) training and support to 600 000 caregivers and ECD practitioners over 4 years.
The science is clear, children learn best through play, and primary caregivers are their first and most important educators. The evidence that primary caregivers who are dealing with environmental and other stress are less likely to be able to interact playfully with their children, regardless of how much training they receive on learning through play, is stark. Caregivers facing conditions of stress or distress do not engage in positive parenting practices and may in fact engage in harmful practices.
Unfortunately, millions of children in SA are being robbed of their learning potential primarily due to poverty, a lack of access to early learning play opportunities and “toxic” stress as experienced by their primary caregivers. This project seeks to address this dire situation, by creating a scalable model which government and other stakeholders can use to create a play movement in South Africa.
“Through the partnership, we aim to affect a significant shift in caregiver behaviour and their perception of learning through play to accelerate the benefits of playful learning in South Africa,” said Dr Marc Aguirre, Country Director & Regional Technical Advisor at HOPE worldwide South Africa.
Learning through play is an enabling, motivating and transformative process for children and their caregivers to prepare children for lifelong success.
“We want to empower children to become their best future selves by developing the skills needed for a changing world through playful learning. And we know learning through play is only possible if caregivers – the key contributors to a child’s early development – can unlock the power of play to give children the best possible start in life,” said Kerry Kassen, Director, LEGO Foundation in South Africa.
“Powerful partnerships like the one we have with HWSA are critical in achieving this. We’re partnering with HWSA
to increase the understanding of the benefits of playful learning, and to strengthening caregivers’ capacity to provide early stimulation, play and responsive care.”