BuddingQ: The Invisible Pathways to Literacy

South Africa has a known literacy crisis which starts in the early childhood sector. Although efforts have beeen made to increase access to early childhood development, much more can be done to improve the quality of the education received. BuddingQ is a fine motor skills interevention that seeks to address the literacy crises in the foundation phase. 

Children entering Grade 4 begin to learn content, based on the assumption that in the previous three years of school they have mastered reading for meaning. This is not the case in South Africa, where 78% of children in Makhanda cannot read for mean before Grade 4. This puts children on a constant ‘back foot’ for their school career, often leading to academically not coping.

BuddingQ was designed to address this literacy crisis in a play-based manner, where it matters most - in Grade R, while pre-literacy skills are being developed. Volunteers are trained by fellow students who have taken the Community Psychology Elective in their Honours year. Through 15 session in the year, they engage with children to develop their fine and gross motor skills with the aim of improving the foundations required for formal literacy education when they enter Grade 1.

BuddingQ has been running in this format since 2019. 2020 showed significant growth with several groups approaching RUCE to use the methodology in their own partnerships. 

  • The programme is run in 6 schools that have partnered with RUCE
  • 6 additional schools collaborate with other schools, NGOs and university departments
  • 120 RUCE students volunteer in the RUCE programmes
  • 100 volunteers in other programmes
  • 14 Grade R teachers are supported through the programme
  • 300 children are reached weekly through RUCE engagements of BuddingQ
  • Approximately 115 additional children are engaged regularly using BuddingQ methodology
  • There is 1 ongoing research project
  • 200 children are assessed
  • 12 Honours students involved as Community Psychology Service Learning elective
  • 2019 showed significant improvement (20% or more) in most gross motor development milestones



Applications to join BuddingQ are now open until 19 February 2024


BuddingQ Strategic Plan


 For more information contact: Anna Kinsler (a.kinsler@ru.ac.za)

Last Modified: Wed, 07 Feb 2024 15:53:28 SAST