A Manenberg early childhood development (ECD) centre is starting conversations and teaching through play.
Established in 2015, the Mustadafin Foundation ECD in Sherwood Park is one of 23 foundation supported ECDs located across Cape Town.
For the past 27 years, the foundation has supported ECDs for children with learning disabilities, owning four of their own centres.
“Most of our learners come from volatile environments, surrounded by violence and abuse, some even experienced some sort of abuse, so we use art as means of rehabilitation, education and communication to help children deal with negative situations, disabilities and trauma,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone, director of the foundation. “Expressive arts or art therapy helps the child release and express feelings they may not know how to let go of. This helps bring a sense of calm to the body and positively impacts mind-set, interpretation of surroundings and emotional state.”
Recently, the Sherwood Park ECD hosted a creative hat-making contest for Valentine’s Day. The children had to enlist the help of their families to make funny hats out of recyclable materials. The initiative was designed as a means of discussing the importance of recycling, but also as a project that would be cost friendly, especially in the light of families who may have lost an income as a result of the pandemic.
“Hosting creative initiatives at our centres allows our little ones to express themselves and ideas without having to put them into words,” says Johnstone.
“Children may not have the language skills to express themselves, but through arts they obtain a voice. Mustadafin ECD centres use expressive arts and art therapy to help stimulate a child’s imagination and creativity to help them discover who they are and how to engage their senses. At our centres, we use the holistic approach, which includes sensory and cognitive development to enhance children’s development and growth.”
The Sherwood Park centre is designed to accommodate 100 learners, but as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the centre has reduced its capacity to 75, with 58 learners currently enrolled.
The foundation relies heavily on donations to keep the schools going.
Contributions towards electricity costs, stationery or personal protection equipment (PPE) would be greatly appreciated.