Playing games improves children’s thinking

Pupils at Malindi Educare Centre in Mfuleni having a good time with health practitioner Anela Kondlo.

Different City departments offered a variety of activities at two preschools last week to encourage learning in a fun way.

Pupils at Malindi Educare Centre in Mfuleni and Rainbow Educare in Green Point, Khayelitsha, were kept busy with edutainment activities involving education, arts and culture, and sport.

The programme is an integrated initiative between the City of Cape Town departments of health, environment, city parks and recreation, social department and all Area East libraries.

The programme is aimed to give young children an opportunity to enjoy the day and socialise with others.

Members from different government departments were randomly assigned to play games with the pupils. Organisers said playing games and working together to colour some of their work was aimed at improving children’s knowledge.

Social Development official Nondwe Senoamali urged parents to always play with their children at home.

She said the importance of play should begin early because it was considered essential by most child development experts.

“The programme is the first of its kind in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni where we brought in most departments to interact with children. It is the City of Cape Town’s initiative to get children working on different activities. As Social Development we also help these centres and make sure that they are registered.”

She said playing and learning while having fun was good for children.

“We want to urge parents to take the files that we gave their children and read the pamphlets that are in there with their children. Should they do that, they will see the difference in their children. They will see how fast they can count and write.”

Vuyokazi Rani-Njambatwa, senior librarian at Khayelitsha library, said the programme was an important way for children and their parents to form close bonds.

“We give them learning materials and other stuff to work on. There are pamphlets and books to fill in at home with their parents too. We believe that the relaxed atmosphere of play allows parents and teachers to interact in new ways with their children.

“The most important thing is that this kind of programme also provides teachable moments for the parent to act on.

“We are truly grateful to the centres for allowing us to be part of playing and teaching new ways to their children,” she said. She said 50 children per educare school was targeted.

Rainbow Educare principal Busisiwe Mehlomakulu said she was grateful for the gesture shown to crèches.

She thanked the City and its departments for taking time to entertain the children.

“It is exciting to see children learning from other people, especially government officials.

“It has opened the eyes of mainly children but I must say even the teachers have learned something.

“These are programmes we need to embrace and should be taken to us quarterly or at least twice a year. But we are truly grateful,” she said.