Kathu Fieldtrip 4: Onsite Demonstrations

During March 2024, the A+ Facilitators headed off to the greater Kathu region for their fourth visit to work with the Cohort 1 ECD centres in Kathu, Kuruman and Olifantshoek. A hybrid approach was employed to extend the normal demonstration session to a workshop model on-site that supports the A+ hands-on learning practice. The local Kathu facilitators had been asked to prepare a Morning Ring and supporting activities, which they then demonstrated at one of the ECD centres over the 5 days. Each of the demonstration groups included children between the ages of 18 months and 6 years. A combination of Setswana and English or Afrikaans (area dependent) was used in the teaching and learning. Staff from participating ECD centres in the various regions were invited to spend the morning observing, discussing and teaching back the learning that they encountered.

Some of the observations that elicited valuable learning opportunities included:
● the Facilitator’s relationship with the children plays an important role in setting the “climate” of the learning environment
● “Tetla” the Setswana word for “allowing” – the teachers giving children time to explore and experiment
● open-ended vs closed questions
● “materials speak to us” – children often view learning materials in a very different way to what the teacher intended
● learning through movement
● music has a positive effect on the children’s mood
● use of outdoor spaces for learning
● children learn from each other when they discuss what they are doing

A highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the moment when some of the local facilitators experienced a shift in their own thinking; ECD learning is not about children giving right or wrong answers to factual questions, but rather about children expressing their own ideas of the world as they see it.