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Chief Albert Luthuli Network of Early Childhood Centres (ECD)

Play Box Postings: 3rd Issue

In Chief Albert Luthuli township, Care for Education works with ECD forums. These forums comprise a group of centres that work together to mobilise resources and share knowledge. The forums enable an interface between many ECD centres and external partners. Chief Albert Luthuli is a suburb situated on the eastern outreaches of Gauteng province, the commercial and industrial hub of South Africa. It is a lower-income working-class suburb (‘township’), comprising small and medium-sized houses, mostly tarred roads, and solid public infrastructure. It is adjoined on the east by an informal settlement. Considerable informal business is evident including stores selling ready food, vegetables, provisions, live chickens, and services providing car repairs, hair styling, and internet services.

Photograph by Rogan Ward (Zero2Five)

A visit to ECD centres in Chief Albert Luthuli included the observation of learning through play activities. At a home-based ECD centre, the teacher confidently demonstrated a repertoire of exercises with her Grade R class of five-year-old children. The lessons involved counting, physical exercise, colours, construction, rhythm, and role-playing. The children used the items from the Play Box in each exercise with familiarity and confidence. They engaged in playful activity communicating with one another and with the teacher. They were clearly engaged in learning. Then the teacher and principal both got on their knees with hand puppets and role-played shopkeepers at a store. Each child came with a different amount of money to buy DUPLO bricks, and each colour was priced differently.

The teacher explained the rationale of each exercise to indicate what domain of learning she was working with. She was confident in using Play Box to focus lessons on the learning domains.

“You can’t teach with blocks only, but you can use them creatively. You can develop learning to cover all the domains. You can do hand-eye coordination and focus. You can do counting and patterns, mathematics. It helps a lot because they (Play Box) are versatile. They can help to accelerate (and remediate) learning. (Because of the training and my ability to use Play Box) I am better equipped.” (Personal communication, March 2021)

Photograph by Rogan Ward (Zero2Five)

Play Box is adding value to learning in impoverished areas, and teachers approach Play Box with inventiveness and versatility. Click here to read the full extract by Gareth Rossiter and more about the resourcefulness demonstrated by ECD centres, particularly during COVID-19.

Upcoming: Thanda Community Centre in Mtwalume (Kwa-Zulu Natal)

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