~ by Angela Stradford
Early childhood development, a concept that might not be that familiar with our community, is slowly becoming more and more popular. Parents and schools are realising the impact proper early learning has on children.
Osizweni’s Toy Library provides children at the early childhood developmental phase (age 3-7) with opportunities to use a variety of educational toys that have been specifically designed to cultivate their cognitive, social, psychological and physical competencies in fun and interesting ways. The centre is not merely for the purpose of keeping the children occupied outside the conventional classroom. It is facilitated learning through a wide array of educational equipment, guided by practitioners and the Toy Library staff. As the children navigate through the different educational tasks, they acquire skills and competencies (such as sustained concentration; adequate grasp of chronology; resilience; social cohesion; self-confidence) that enhance their school readiness levels, and allow their transition from preschool to school to be less stressful.
On a weekly basis over 30 Early Childhood learning Centres visit the Toy Library in an attempt to benefit from the many educational resources made available to them. On an annual basis, the Toy Library hosts a competition for the top 10 attending Early Childhood Centre’s. These Centres compete against one another in an aim to achieve the following:
- Give learners an opportunity to express themselves by displaying the knowledge and skills they have acquired at the Centre throughout the year
- Introduce learners to healthy competition from a young age.
- To lay a good foundation enabling better progression in life.
- To encourage and enhance the love for numeracy and literacy.
- Encourage and motivate Practitioners through the performance of their learners.
- Allows Practitioners introspection of their work.
Learners compete in teams by taking part in 15 different activities, these activities included puzzles; numeracy worksheets; patterns; Maths lotto; Maths bingo; visual tracking; threading and matching objects. These inter-active activities are either done manually or are computer based.
ECD centres rotate their group of learners between activities. Learners begin the activity at the same time, the top three winners in each activity are selected based on correctly completing the activity in the shortest amount of time. The school with the highest amount of placings wins the overall competition.
This year’s winners for the Grade R group of learners are Illuminate Day Care Centre in first place followed by Bambanani Day care Centre in second place and Isiqalo Day Care Centre in third place. The winners for the age 4-5 group of learners are Ekujabuleni Day Care Center in first place followed by illuminate Day Care Centre in second place and Isidingo Day Care Centre in third place.
”The impact which the Toy Library has on learners is always seen during these competitions. Most of the best performing Day Care Centres are those who are committed and consistent in their weekly attendance to the Toy Library the learners did well and we are very thankful to the Day Care Centres that participated in the competitions” said Maker Masemola, Osizweni Toy Library Senior Practitioner.