Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) has compiled a multilingual educational resources repository that is aimed at assisting Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners and caregivers/parents with content that is suitable for children between the ages of two and seven years.
The repository came as a result of multilingual WhatsApp groups that were created at the beginning of the COVID-19 national lockdown. The groups were started initially to fill the void for BuddingQ children who would not be getting their sessions as a result of the pandemic. BuddingQ is a programme designed to address the dire state of Early Literacy in Makhanda, where many children cannot read for meaning in their mother tongue by the time the reach grade 3. Due to schools being closed under lockdown, Anna Talbot (BuddingQ programme manager), decided to open the WhatsApp groups more broadly to assist parents and caregivers who have young children at home.
“We had maxed out the first group (256 participants) in the first four hours of creating the WhatsApp platform and had to create groups for each language”, said Talbot explaining the buy in the groups received from parents and ECD practitioners around Makhanda.
Each day the multilingual groups received locally produced stories from Nal’ ibali or Book Dash. The groups also received rhymes, some movement/exercise ideas and activities in isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans.
The highest number of participants these groups received was 550. This figure translates to the number of children reached, if not more, depending on how many children there are in each household. The groups ran for 49 days over seven weeks.
RUCE’s repository, all South African content, has enough to keep children going for over a month and is now data free. Here’s a link to the free content https://bit.ly/2Xb3C7e