Play Box Postings: 1st Issue
The trees have grown. With consistent care and support, saplings grow into substantial trees.
Photograph by Rogan Ward (Zero2Five)
Attridgeville is a township to the west of Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city. It was established as a settlement for African workers in 1938. Now it is a well-developed suburb with relatively good roads and infrastructure. There are high levels of unemployment, particularly among youth. This is a feature across the country. Most children in Attridgeville attend one of the many ECD centres in the township. These are generally accommodated in modest homes.
Play Box has largely developed in ECD centres rather than in schools. The ECD centres in Attridgeville are organised through ECD forums. After providing initial training and distributing Play Boxes, Care for Education (CfE) provides training and support to ECD centres.
A day-long visit to two ECD centres included the observation of a range of playful learning activities in both settings and four key informant interviews with the CfE trainer responsible for the area, the two principals, and a teacher.
“When I learnt (through using LEGO) how to play with the children in the classroom, this made all the difference. Before I used to find teaching these children exhausting. Now I catch the energy the children have around learning and playing and have more energy to give back to them.” (Personal communication, March 2021)
Some of the key findings included:
Teachers demonstrated multiple uses of the PlayBox in their classrooms with high levels of fluency in conducting these lessons.
During the lessons observed teachers showed a repertoire of lessons working with the different learning domains.
Children engaged with the PlayBox learning with enthusiasm and interest.
Teachers understood the benefit of using learning through play.