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Education And Training

Empowering parents as primary caregivers

In a bid to harness the influential role of homes in shaping a child’s learning journey and the vital role of parents in fostering cognitive, motor, and social skills through interactive play, a series of engaging parental workshops were orchestrated, late 2023. By empowering parents with knowledge and practical skills, this initiative aims to contribute to the holistic growth of children the Northern Cape communities of Kuruman, Kathu, and Olifantshoek.

“I have learned a lot from the training and most significantly the importance of play. Playing is very important to our kids because they learn from playing inside and outside, they gain more experience, and they can also make memories through this. The training also showed us how to engage with our children at home, which has helped me to get to know my child better,” said parent Malebogo Baithei, one of the 54 participating parents.

Focused on empowering parents as primary educators, these sessions unfolded as a pivotal component of Kathu Solar Park’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, launched earlier in the year and funded as part of its overarching socio-economic development programme.

The dynamic sessions were strategically designed to equip parents with the tools to actively stimulate learning and positively influence their children’s education. Recognizing parents as a child’s first teacher, the workshops delved into the critical role parents play in the ECD process.

The aim is for parents to share the knowledge gained with other parents and family members, particularly if they find it beneficial. While there isn’t a formalized mentor programme within this project, the training provided to principals and teachers encompasses strategies for ECD centres to enhance parent engagement. It also guides them on fostering effective collaboration with parents, encouraging them to actively participate in their child’s learning.

Participants enthusiastically engaged in discussions highlighting the significance of play in ECD and explored practical examples to seamlessly integrate playful learning into the home environment. The workshops emphasized the use of everyday materials that can be repurposed, rearranged, or deconstructed, fostering a creative and stimulating atmosphere.

“We know that parent involvement not only strengthens the parent-child bond but also provides a foundation for essential life skills.  Furthermore, research consistently shows that when families actively engage in a child’s education, development and learning performance improves. Hence, this initiative recognizes that parental involvement should be founded on a safe, supportive environment, positive attitudes, and appropriate learning experiences,” concluded Cheryl Persensie, Economic Development Manager at Kathu Solar Park.

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