Learning through play encouraged for early childhood development
aRe Bapaleng is a Sotho word which means “Let’s play”.
"Learning through play forms a big part of the way children develop, especially in their early years, and this is the core of what we are trying to communicate to primary caregivers. Play sparks imagination, enhances creativity, problem-solving capacities, promotes teamwork, and instils empathy," said Standard Bank and the Seriti Institute, partners in the aRe Bapaleng programme.
They added that the Covid-19 pandemic had left the ECD sector in a dire situation.
According to the South African Congress for ECD, the sector is under threat as many of the ECD centres have not reopened since the lockdown imposed on March 27. This has left roughly 175 000 ECD practitioners without an income.
This negative impact has been more prevalent in poor or marginalised communities.
The aRe Bapaleng programme is specifically targeted at supporting under-served communities in Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.
The townships include Soshanguve, Temba, Stinkwater and Hammanskraal. The project has expanded into Alexandra which is in the City of Johannesburg municipality and the Midvaal Local Municipality.
As part of creating ECD awareness, Standard Bank and Seriti negotiated a 25-minute radio show on Moretele Community Radio (Moretele FM) to talk about the aRe Bapaleng programme. The show is hosted every Tuesday from 10.30 to 11.00 am and there are also live reads on air three times a day from Wednesday to Friday.
Seriti has also partnered with the Grow App to provide a platform where primary caregivers can access ECD content on their smartphones using media and digital platforms.
Primary caregivers have also been equipped with resources that could help with the development of their young children while they are at home. These resources are available on the Seriti website.