Yesterday saw the start of a new Masicorp initiative – a mother & toddler group held in Masiphumelele library. It was another cold winter day where the rain even turned into hail at one point, so a warm and safe place to meet and play was welcomed by everyone.
Parent & toddler groups are a lifeline for parents and provide a great opportunity to mingle with other like-minded mums with children of a similar age to their own. Aside from the social benefits, they also offer a change of scenery for their child, providing ample opportunities for preschool learning, to play with new toys, enjoy new sounds and make new friends.
From observation and studies in the crèches in Masiphumelele it has become apparent that most of the children are not exposed to toys and structured learning at home and that many of the parents have no experience of this themselves. It is hoped that this group will not only encourage mothers to play with and teach their children at home but also help them to see how important the early years of a child’s life are as regards learning.
The group is free and refreshments are provided for everyone. It is operated by a combination of Masicorp volunteers and Xhosa and Shona speaking assistants from the community who are paid for their time. The group is open to all mothers with children under five and we hope to grow it to around 30 children. The inclement weather kept a few people away yesterday but we hope those that braved the stormy conditions will spread the word.
There are a collection of toys and dolls available but also children will be encouraged to undertake some craft work. The mothers are all welcome and encouraged to join in and every session will end with a group song. Here we see just one of the happy faces that can recommend the experience to their friends.