Dlalanathi, in partnership with the Thandanani Children’s Foundation and Singakewnza have designed and implement a programme called PlayMat which focuses on Early Child Development.
This homebased play group programme brings parents together on a weekly basis in each other’s homes to encourage play for learning with their children under the age of 5 years.
All participating moms receive a PlayMat which helps create a safe play space for her and her child or children at home. Moms also learn how to make a number of different toys out of recycled waste materials that teach both fine and gross motor skills.
Layered into this programme are conversations around child protection and positive discipline. “You are your child’s first teacher” is a key message in this programme.
Case study In one community there had been a young pregnant woman who was always present in the PlayMat group meetings except when she had to go to the clinic for a check-up.
When she gave birth to her child, the baby’s father named him ‘ECD’ as the mother was very interested in the programme during her pregnancy. After the birth of the child, the father supported the mother by attending group meetings with her so he could help with activities with their other 4 year old girl.
The father reported that since the mother started attending the programme, he had noticed a great change in her. He said the mother spent more time with their 4 year old daughter and their relationship has improved a lot. “ECD has had a positive impact on her and she had learnt the importance of spending time and bonding with her child,”said the father. They both (father and mother) appreciate being part of this programme as they will be able to raise their kids in a proper and fun way.