“In my culture, children are often left to look after themselves from a very young age. That’s how I was brought up. So when I had my daughter, Thandi, I did not spend much time with her. I just left her to play by herself.” Said Nomphilo, a young mom in the Midlands area.
Her sister had told her that she had become concerned with the way she showed no affection towards her daughter and had suggested talking to Thandanani Children’s Foundation about their Early Childhood Development program which is catered towards teaching moms how to interact and teach their young ones.
Nomphilo reluctantly attended a class and was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. She was taught to focus on the interaction with her daughter. The class worked with her on how to make toys with things lying around the house, even waste such as empty plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, to help Thandi develop motor skills and start developing her mind. In the beginning Thandi just held the objects, not knowing what to do with them. However she has developed quickly and can do things like counting, building and matching shapes. Nomphilo started to feel more connected to her daughter and their relationship has since developed and there is more love, affection and interaction. They have play time together every day and even the children fom the neighbourhood come and join in.
As part of our Family Strengthening Program we facilitate a Home Based ECD (Early Childhood Development) Program for caregivers and children under the age of 5. This program creates understanding of basic early childhood development concepts and a culture of engagement between caregiver and child. It teaches caregivers the importance of intentional play and demonstrates how to make educational toys and games using waste and everyday objects in the home.