The Unlimited Child Media Update 2014

Links to web content:

Ultimately the best birding book yet: http://www.iol.co.za/travel/travel-tips/ultimately-the-best-birding-book-yet-1.1759513

The Letter Box – Birders Delight: http://www.theletterbox.co.za/index.php/the-hotblog-stand/34-book/2175-birders-delight 

Radio broadcast:

RSG – The Unlimited Titans – 15 August 2014

SAFM – The Unlimited Child – The Unlimited Titans – 17 August 2014

RSG – The Ultimate Companion – 18 August 2014

 

The temperature was over 30c. It was humid too, but the important work of shifting lives at crèches in the Groutville area of KwaZulu-Natal went on.  In small buildings with metal roofs, larger buildings with cooler tiled roofs and in buildings that barley had a roof, crèche caregivers who have trained in The Unlimited Child’s innovative rapid action early childhood education programme  continued  their amazing work enthusiastically.  The young children in their care responded with equal, if not more, enthusiasm.

It seems no coincidence that this energy and dedication to quality education is happening in Groutville. This was the area that the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize laureate iNkosi (Chief) Albert Luthuli called home.  iNkosi Luthuli, often acknowledged as one of Africa’s best known leaders of his time, had a strong commitment to education; he trained as a teacher initially, before becoming a lay preacher.  Today a museum dedicated to iNkosi Luthuli is located on the spot where he lived; close to the crèches where The Unlimited Child’s exciting education programme is implemented with passion and enthusiasm.

IMG 4983 300x143 Hot or not, The Unlimited Child keeps on learning

2014 Groutville Crèches 19 Feb 0 300x200 Ten facts about early childhood development as a social determinant of health

Fact 1

Brain and biological development during the first years of life depends on the quality of stimulation in the infant’s environment—at the level of family, community, and society. Early child development (ECD), in turn is a life long determinant of health, well-being, and learning skills. Taken together, these facts make early child development a social determinant of health.

Fact 2

Addressing Early Childhood Development means creating the conditions for children prenatal to 8 years to thrive equally in their physical, social/emotional, and language/cognitive development.

Fact 3

Safe, cohesive, child-centred neighbourhoods, communities, and villages matter for early child development.

Fact 4

In order to improve the state of early child development, global communities need to continuously improve the conditions for families to nurture their children by addressing economic security, flexible work, information and support, health and quality childcare needs.

Fact 5

Barriers of access to programs and services that have been demonstrated effective in supporting physical, social/emotional, language/cognitive development for ECD need to be removed.

Fact 6

Children require stimulating, supportive and nurturing care when their parents are not available. High quality childcare and early childhood education can improve children’s chances for success in later life.

Fact 7

Early child development is a cornerstone of human development and should be central to how we judge the successfulness of societies. Measuring the state of early child development with a comparable approach throughout the world will provide a way for societies to judge their success.

Fact 8

Success in the area of early child development requires a partnership, not only among international, national, and local agencies but, also, with the world’s families.

Fact 9
Many in the international development community agree that child survival and child development are not in conflict but program financing in the international development community has not yet reflected this understanding.

Fact 10

Among all the social determinants of health, ECD is the easiest for societies’ economic leaders to understand because improved ECD not only means better health, but a more productive labour force, reduced criminal justice costs, and reductions in other strains on the social safety net. National and international fiscal and monetary institutions need to recognize that spending on early child development is an investment and incorporate it into policy accordingly.

 

Source: World Health Organisation (WHO): http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/topics/child/development/10facts/en/# (accessed 27 Feb 2014)

Get Rights Right!

IMG 4993 300x200 Get Rights Right!

As societies become more involved in conflicts, experience bigger gaps in income between the rich and the poor, and are subject to higher levels of crime and violence, the very fundamental rights of children are often forgotten, or take a ‘back seat’.    Society often forgets that children have universally entrenched rights. These rights matter and are there to remind us how important and special all children are and how we can act to maximise their potential.  Here at The Unlimited Child we work with children every day through their crèche based caregivers.  Almost all of these children experience a wide range of hardships daily. Even just getting to their crèche each day is a challenge for many of them.  For these and many other reasons, understanding, accepting and acting in ways that absolutely ensure that the rights of children are met are central to our work.

Because this is a universal issue that has been the focus of attention for decades now, we are fortunate to have easily accessible tools to help us get this right.  One of the most widely accepted of these tools is the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, signed by the United Nations on 10 December 1959 (as Resolution 1386 – XIV). The document goes back even further, with a history embedded in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child signed in 1924.

The United Nations Declaration of Rights of the Child (1959) lists ten basic rights. These are, in simplified summary version (adapted from the Plain Language Version of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 1978):

1.       Rights for children exist no matter their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinions or other opinions are. The rights also transcend where they were born and who their parents are.

2.       The right to grow and develop both spiritually and physically in ways that are healthy and normal, and where this can happen freely and with dignity at all times.

3.       The right to have a name and to be recognised as being a member of a country.

4.       The right to special care and protection; to food that is nourishing and to housing and medical services.

5.       Disabled children have the right to special care, no matter what their disability is.

6.       The right to love and understanding (where possible and preferably from parents and family, but where this is not possible from government).

7.       The right to be able to attend school for free, to be able to play, and have an equal chance to develop and learn to be a responsible and useful member of society.

8.       The right to be among the first to get help in a crisis situation.

9.       To be protected against exploitation (eg child labour) and any form of abuse.

10.    To be taught about peace, understanding, tolerance and friendship among all people.

It is important that we remind ourselves of these rights; to take a good look at them from time to time and assess the extent to which each of us are ensuring that these rights are met (and to plan and do the things we need to do to guarantee the rights are met).  At The Unlimited Child each of these rights are very important to us. Our work is specifically focussed on rights related to education, play, development and learning.  We also work to ensure that while at crèches, children experience their right to love and understanding from their caregivers.  In our work to ‘shift lives’, we work with crèche caregivers and partner organisations to ensure that not only are the rights of children recognised, but also put into place. We also work towards a position where through receiving a sound foundation in early childhood development, children grow up being aware of their rights and what they can do to ensure they are met in their families, communities and broader society.

As the last day of the Unlimited Child’s four-day training programme in Port Shepstone swings into action the games are out!  The training programme, a partnership between The Unlimited Child, Network Action Group and the DG Murray Trust, trains crèche caregivers in the use of a specially designed educational programme, which includes a range of educational games. These games are just a part of a kit of educational equipment and an integrated isiZulu language guide that each crèche will have when all staff have completed the training.

 In the picture below, a group of crèche teachers were fascinated by a game demonstrated by The Unlimited Child team member Hlengiwe Dube (far center in black and white stripe top).  Group members were deeply engaged in the process of learning about this and other educational games, and practiced using the games amongst each other. 

 At another table participants led by another of The Unlimited Child’s team members, Mthoko Zwane were learning how to use large blocks as part of their crèche educational programme.  Making direct links to the daily programme content in their manuals, participants were soon able to grasp the relevance of the blocks and how working with the blocks at their crèches  will be both exciting and very educational.

Hlengiwe and Mthoko are amazingly enthusiastic and committed programme monitors and trainers. For both of these young team members early childhood development is something they are very passionate about. Their passion is evident in how they keep teams moving forward enthusiastically during the challenging training program (and through the long, hot and humid days in Port Shepstone in February)! Enthusiastic participants often break out in song, adapting their songs to match the training equipment or educational toys they are learning about at the time.

 Well done Hlengiwe and Mthoko!

 It is (not) all a game: Learning through play  The Unlimited Child

Hlengiwe Dube from The Unlimited Child leading a training session with a group of crèche teachers from the Ugu District in KZN.

Blocks and books 300x225 It is (not) all a game: Learning through play  The Unlimited Child

Hands on learning with lange blocks, linked directly to content in the programme manual that crèche teachers will use when they are back at their crèches.

MthokoPortShepsFeb2014 225x300 It is (not) all a game: Learning through play  The Unlimited Child

Mthoko from The Unlimited Child talks enthusiastically to a group about using the programme manual to its maximum when back at their crèches.

 

 

Beanbags, hula-hoops, balls and monkeys all under a big tree in hot and humid Port Shepstone. This is all part of a normal day’s training for caregivers from 42 Ugu District crèches. The training is facilitated through a partnership between The Unlimited Child, Network Action Group and the DG Murray Trust.

 While crèche caregivers were learning how to use the educational equipment that comes with The Unlimited Child’s kit and manual, a family of inquisitive and excited monkeys watched from the branches of the big tree that was shading the training group from the harsh summer sun. The monkeys ran back and forth along the branches, almost replicating the actions of the trainers, who were showing the group how to engage young children in ways that maximize use of both their left and right-sided strengths and potential. As two of our trainers, Frederica and Mthoko, balanced along (and hopped across) lines in the sand, young monkeys in the tree above learned to balance along narrow branches and even a telephone line as if they were taking part in the lessons too!

 The group of crèche caregivers, now on their third full day of training started the day talking about how excited and eager they were to use what they were learning once they were back in their crèches.  Prince Mdunjana who is a caregiver for 3-4 year old children at Ekuthuleni Crèche located between Margate and Port Edward is the only male caregiver on the current course.  Prince said that he was very interested in learning that “we each have a ‘middle line’ and that this is important to learn about balance”.  He was also “happy to learn more about the hula-hoops in the kit and (he hopes) that we will now have more hula-hoops at our crèche so that we can use them with all our children”.   For Prince a highlight of the course thus far was that “we share things about what we do in our crèches, and then we learn together to do it better through using the book and tools here during the training.”

Our four-day interactive training programme in Port Shepstone is almost over.  We have learned lots during this time but there is always more to learn.  It won’t be long before we are back in Port Shepstone working with caregivers from crèches across the Ugu District to ensure that through high quality training and support we make positive shifts in the lives of our communities in the area.

beanbagsportshepfeb20141 225x300 Lessons under the big tree with the monkeys – a truly coastal KZN experience!

Mthoko teaching caregivers how to use bean bags and hoola hoops

hopsfredeportshep20141 225x300 Lessons under the big tree with the monkeys – a truly coastal KZN experience!

A group of crèche caregivers, with trainers Freda and Mthoko, learning about using outdoor equipment, under a shady tree in lush Port Shepstone

 Lessons under the big tree with the monkeys – a truly coastal KZN experience!

Learning how to use hula-hoops and other exciting outdoor equipment. Learning can be fun.

 Lessons under the big tree with the monkeys – a truly coastal KZN experience!

Mthoko from The Unlimited Child keeps his eye on the ball as he trains the team in how to use a range of exciting outdoor equipment.

Lives are being shifted in the Ugu Dustrict of KwaZulu-Natal! From Monday 10 Feb 2014 to Thursday 13th Feb 2014 an eager group of crèche caregivers from the Ugu District of KwaZulu-Natal were trained in Port Shepstone by The Unlimited Child’s team of trainers.  The training is part of an innovative partnership between The Unlimited Child, the Network Action Group and The DG Murray Trust. This partnership is truly shifting lives.The training used The Unlimited Child’s exciting rapid impact programme that ensures that caregivers are equipped with knowledge, skills and materials to use effectively in their crèches within a short space of time.  

 

 Shifting lives in Ugu District, KwaZulu Natal

Bongikile Xolo: One of the crèche caregivers of The Unlimited Child

Among the trainees was Bongekile Xolo, supervisor of Dumezulu Daycare Crèche in waXolo, Ward 8, Ugu Dstrict.  Bongelike was very excited about the training. In particular Bongekile loved the isiZulu “Practitioners Guide”, an innovative, easy to use book that sets out daily activities for an entire year of productive and exciting crèche activities.  Bongekile’s crèche has been open for four years, and she feels that this is an amazing moment in enhancing her crèche programme and is excited to get back to her crèche and implement the programme.  Bongekile  was also enthusiastic about the pictorial ‘daily programme chart’, which sets out in clear and simple images an ideal daily crèche programme that  both crèche caregivers and children can understand and follow.

 

After training the crèche caregivers, The Unlimited Child’s Monitors visit crèches regularly to provide ongoing support and to ensure that the programmes are being implemented as best possible

 

 

Our Caregiver Tells Us Her Story…

IMG 9811 224x300 Our Caregiver Tells Us Her Story...

Meet Eunice- one of our caregivers who has been with us since we started this project. Eunice is a caregiver at one of our crèches in Embo called Embo Child Educare Centre. Eunice has ample teaching experience as she started her first year of teaching in 1992, 21 years ago. Her crèche became a part of The Unlimited Child project 5 years ago and to date, she has 72 children in her school.

We got the wonderful opportunity to interview Eunice. Here is what she had to say:

Eunice, what is your favourite thing about teaching?

What I love most about teaching is seeing the child develop as a whole. Seeing them develop emotionally, cognitively, and physically.

What motivates you to get up in the morning and teach children?

Ahhh, i just LOVE children. It’s my passion and I love watching them grow in their skills. Children are my passion and that passion is what motivates me to do my job everyday. I can honestly say that teaching is mine and my family’s ministry- my whole family are involved. My husband, Patrick, helps me everyday and on the weekends my two daughters and Patrick and I, are working in the è

What 5 words best describe what teaching is about?

Passion, love, patience, focus, and dedication.

What challenges do you face within your crèche?

The biggest challenge is finance. I feel restricted by the lack of money in my crèche. I can’t get qualified teachers to assist me as they all expect a salary which I can’t afford to pay them. Another challenge is nutrition. Most of my children come from poor families who earn R1000 a month. When I ask the parents for some extra money so I can feed the children a balanced diet, they all say no because they can’t afford it; so I end up feeding the children starchy food and I worry about them not receiving a balanced diet with fresh fruit and vegetables.

What are the biggest need areas in your crèche?

Financial support, cleaning things to clean the toilets and basins, fresh fruit and vegetables. Volunteers  are also welcome so if someone wants to volunteer for a week- that would be a huge help to us!

What advice do you have for other teachers out there?

Don’t teach for money. Teach because it’s your passion. If you just have passion for children then you have what it takes. When you are teaching, it’s very important to leave your personal problems at  the door as the children need your fullest attention and devotion.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Yes I’d like to tell the young teachers that they must always be willing to learn. No matter how old you are- you can never stop learning. I get the opportunity to train other teachers in Early Childhood Development and it excites me to see so many younger teachers. I love training them and imparting my knowledge, vision and passion to them so that they can take our children further in Education.

 

Thank you so much to Eunice for allowing us to interview her. Should you wish to support our crèches, please contact us at info@theunlimitechild.co.za

 

Spring The Unlimited Child Catherine Deane

garce21 225x300 Flower Girl Dresses, Catherine Deane, and Spring Grace Buchan 223x300 Flower Girl Dresses, Catherine Deane, and Spring grace2 232x300 Flower Girl Dresses, Catherine Deane, and Spring grace11 219x300 Flower Girl Dresses, Catherine Deane, and Spring

To welcome in Spring, our very own ambassador, Catherine Deane has created a Pinterest page filled with her new flower girl dresses for children. Cathrine Deane has been developing a flower girl dress line (their first time doing children’s clothing) for their customer BHLDN (Anthropolgie group) and we jumped on the opportunity to celebrate Spring by showcasing her new dress line for children with pictures just for you! Please go visit her Pinterest page for some Spring inspiration, compliments of Catherine Deane.

Catherine Deane is also currently selling their bridal collection with them so if you are a bride-to-be you definitely need to have a look.

The beautiful girl featured above is Grace Buchan- Catherine’s niece and inspiration for the new line.

What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

The Unlimited Child Pretend play Nadia Lubowski

Children love to play and can keep themselves busy for hours playing with their favorite toys. In fact, Pretend play is a vital component of childhood development and every parent should be aware of just how important this time is for their child. We have asked our Educational Expert, Nadia Lubowski- Director of the Anton Lubowski Educational Trust some questions on the importance and benefits of pretend play…

pretend play 31 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important? pretendplay42 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

What is Pretend Play?

Play acts as a key signifier in Early Childhood Development. A lot of the research mentions the importance of play, which is something that has been known since Aristotle’s time and since then has been taken up by a long list of theorists. The general consensus is that the optimum learning environment for children is play-based and non-directive. The questions remains, is there an accurate understanding of play-based learning? Do we understand exactly what it is? For the Child? For it to be beneficial? Even though it is a general consensus, some researchers raise a concern that the quality of the learning experience can be compromised if it is not understood.

How important is it for a parent/adult to join in on pretend play?

Allowing a child to play, explore and discover is one aspect of play-based learning. Another aspect is to structure the learning experience in order for the child to develop cognitively in a way that it is able to reach abstract levels of problem solving and critical thinking. The orientation to learning is what begins to lay these foundations. The level of control and interference the adult has is a crucial aspect of the play-based pedagogy. A parent can join in on pretend play yet only if they are invited to do so.

What are some basic toys that I can give to a child to enjoy their pretend play time?

A child’s natural expression is to play. The child will play according to what is available or accessible. If you provide highly developed educational material for the child, with mediation from a peer or adult, is likely to play with it in a specific manner. If you give the child dolls and blankets it will play in one way and if there are no toys, only some stones and water, the child will play in another. All of these types of play are vital and perform a specific role in development, but we cannot expect that all scenarios will place a cognitive demand on the child. Each one has a distinct purpose, and the toys, materials and equipment you provide for play depend on what type of play the child needs to engage in.

How do I encourage my child to share their toys with other children?

Sharing of toys is a skill that is learned. Before the age of three it is not possible for some children. Depending on the context, a child may be fighting for the toy because it has no others. The encouragement needs to come from the adult when sharing has occurred to show that it is the favorable way of behaving.

What are the benefits of Pretend Play?

The benefits of play are plentiful. Play allows a children to express themselves, play provides opportunities to learn social interactions and behaviors, play presents opportunities for learning, and play gives an adult an occasion to observe and understand the child in a profound way. Play provides an opportunity for the adult to ‘listen’ to children.

Thank you so much to Nadia Lubowski –Director Anton Lubowski Educational Trust for answering these questions for us. Should you have any more questions please email them to us at info@theunlimitedchild.co.za and we will be sure to get our experts to answer them!

pretend play2 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important? pretendplay23 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

pixel What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

Children love to play and can keep themselves busy for hours playing with their favorite toys. In fact, Pretend play is a vital component of childhood development and every parent should be aware of just how important this time is for their child. We have asked our Educational Expert, Nadia Lubowski- Director of the Anton Lubowski Educational Trust some questions on the importance and benefits of pretend play…

pretend play 31 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important? pretendplay42 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?

What is Pretend Play?

Play acts as a key signifier in Early Childhood Development. A lot of the research mentions the importance of play, which is something that has been known since Aristotle’s time and since then has been taken up by a long list of theorists. The general consensus is that the optimum learning environment for children is play-based and non-directive. The questions remains, is there an accurate understanding of play-based learning? Do we understand exactly what it is? For the Child? For it to be beneficial? Even though it is a general consensus, some researchers raise a concern that the quality of the learning experience can be compromised if it is not understood.

How important is it for a parent/adult to join in on pretend play?

Allowing a child to play, explore and discover is one aspect of play-based learning. Another aspect is to structure the learning experience in order for the child to develop cognitively in a way that it is able to reach abstract levels of problem solving and critical thinking. The orientation to learning is what begins to lay these foundations. The level of control and interference the adult has is a crucial aspect of the play-based pedagogy. A parent can join in on pretend play yet only if they are invited to do so.

What are some basic toys that I can give to a child to enjoy their pretend play time?

A child’s natural expression is to play. The child will play according to what is available or accessible. If you provide highly developed educational material for the child, with mediation from a peer or adult, is likely to play with it in a specific manner. If you give the child dolls and blankets it will play in one way and if there are no toys, only some stones and water, the child will play in another. All of these types of play are vital and perform a specific role in development, but we cannot expect that all scenarios will place a cognitive demand on the child. Each one has a distinct purpose, and the toys, materials and equipment you provide for play depend on what type of play the child needs to engage in.

How do I encourage my child to share their toys with other children?

Sharing of toys is a skill that is learned. Before the age of three it is not possible for some children. Depending on the context, a child may be fighting for the toy because it has no others. The encouragement needs to come from the adult when sharing has occurred to show that it is the favorable way of behaving.

What are the benefits of Pretend Play?

The benefits of play are plentiful. Play allows a children to express themselves, play provides opportunities to learn social interactions and behaviors, play presents opportunities for learning, and play gives an adult an occasion to observe and understand the child in a profound way. Play provides an opportunity for the adult to ‘listen’ to children.

Thank you so much to Nadia Lubowski –Director Anton Lubowski Educational Trust for answering these questions for us. Should you have any more questions please email them to us at info@theunlimitedchild.co.za and we will be sure to get our experts to answer them!

pretend play2 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important? pretendplay23 300x225 What is Pretend Play and Why is it so Important?