On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week, Sea Vista Primary hosted Singakwenza, an NGO from KwaZulu Natal. They were invited by Heart Strings, a group of local women who strive to make a difference in the community of Sea Vista and the adjacent informal settlement. The workshops were attended by more than 30 teachers, volunteers and caregivers working with children in our local schools, preschools and creches.

Singakwenza, meaning “We can do it!” is a non-profit organisation which focuses on Early Childhood Education. They train teachers, parents, and caregivers at a grassroots level to provide fun and educational activities that enable young children to learn through play. They use resources made solely from recycled materials. Eighty per cent of a child’s brain potential, upon which all further learning is built, is developed before the age of four. It is therefore vitally important for children to have as many opportunities to learn as possible.

Sthembile and Joseph from Singakwenza ran three fun and practical Waste2Toys training workshops. Delegates were taught first why learning through play is so important and then how to make toys and learning material from recycling. Representatives made balls, ball catchers, hoop games and skipping ropes designed to stimulate gross motor coordination in preschoolers. Delegates left with their own constructed toys and handouts on how to make other toys, a permanent marker, and a sharp pair of scissors. Sthembile jokingly calls these “Make More Scissors”!

The cost of R150 per delegate was generously covered by a local resident, Blake Schweitzer of African Mining and Crushing. His wife, Elsje, was a willing and valuable participant at one of the workshops having considerable experience in Early Childhood Development.

All Foundation Phase teachers from Sea Vista Primary and several grade 6 and 7 prefects attended the workshops. Mr Koenraad, Principal of Sea Vista Primary, highly supported the workshops. He acknowledged that the development and strengthening of foundational skills in young children of the community are vital to preparing them for formal education. He hopes the prefects will take their newly acquired toy-making skills back home and make more toys in the school holidays – starting tomorrow. So look out for coloured bread bag skipping ropes around town in the coming weeks.

Contact Heart Strings:
Sam 082 897 0470
Kim 074 181 7952
Nicky 083 628 8444