Access to formal Early Childhood Development services is limited in the Gamagara Municipality and it is for this reason that REISA has put in place a programme to build capacity amongst parents to help ensure that children are better prepared to enter Grade 1.

Earlier this year, REISA announced the launch of its Flagship ECD Project, focused on a Parental Involvement Programme incorporating two key initiatives, namely ‘Bringing Parents to the Education Table’ and ‘Mentor Moms’. These trained mothers are now building on the skills that they have already been taught to facilitate Play Group Sessions within their respective communities and to encourage environments that are conducive to meaningful play between parents and their children.

Working within the communities of Debeng, Sesheng, Mapoteng, Olifantshoek and Siyathemba, the Play Group Sessions will take the form of weekly two-hour sessions, facilitated by Mentor Moms. Parents and their children will participate in purposeful play activities to develop cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills.

“The trained community Mentor Moms are being capacitated and supported throughout the implementation of the programme and will receive a stipend for each Play Group Session that they facilitate,” said Veronique Isaacs, Regional Community Operations Manager for REISA.

The progamme has very clear anticipated outcomes, namely to reinforce the message that parents are their ‘child’s first teacher’; offer space that is conducive to meaningful play between parents and their children, whilst encouraging parents to spend quality time with their children; building community relationships; and inspiring the creative use of everyday objects to teach.

This programme will also further boost the confidence of the Mentor Moms, whilst providing a small additional income and increasing their employability in the future. Similarly, parents are expected to benefit from an increased sense of community confidence whilst collecting ideas on constructive play activities and growing their confidence in playing with their children.

“At the end of the day, our most important beneficiaries are the young children who will be developed to have adequate emotional, physical and social skills to prepare them for Grade 1,” concluded Isaacs.


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