LETCEE celebrates World Play Day

2018-06-13 06:00
LETCEE toy library.PHOTO: THABILE CHONCO

LETCEE toy library.PHOTO: THABILE CHONCO

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WORLD Play Day was celebrated on May 28, where the importance of the enjoyment and fun of playing (ukudlala) is celebrated.

The opportunity to simply have the freedom to play, so vital for a child’s developmental milestones, is often absent from the lives of many children.

In many instances, children in impoverished areas don’t ever have access to the luxury of toys whereas, in affluent societies, children’s lives are often over- subscribed by formal activities or screen time.

Both of these scenarios have a detrimental effect on the basic joy of childhood.

“At LETCEE, learning through play is at the heart of all our non-centre based Early Childhood Development services. It’s what gives life to our programmes,” stated LETCEE head Mary James.

LETCEE has developed a satellite network of shipping containers converted to serve as toy libraries in outlying areas.

These nodes of play and early learning are equipped with toys and learning resources aimed at stimulating childhood development in the early stages of life.

Toy libraries are run by trained ECD practitioners, called toy librarians, who prepare daily play sessions for children in the community who do not attend other ECD activities.

Through the all-important activity of play (in a safe and secure environment), a parent or teacher can see if a child’s growth and developmental milestones are being reached.

It is therefore vital that parents encourage their children to go out and play in order to develop muscle tone, co-ordination­ and strength in preparation for the development of the fine motor co-ordination needed during formal schooling.

Playing, for a child between the ages of two and five years of age, develops the important skills of communication, socialisation and creativity.

At present, LETCEE has six fixed toy libraries in five outlying communities, as well as two mobile toy libraries. The mobile toy library vehicles, manned by LETCEE trained facilitators, travel out to the most remote and isolated areas.

These mobile units bring playful learning to children who would otherwise have no access to the opportunities on a regular basis.

“We are proud of the important, unique role that our Toy Libraries play in our communities”.

“They afford numerous children safe places where they can realise their right to play in a supervised, caring environment where they feel safe at all times,” added James.

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