The Playdough Curriculum
A mission to make “distance” learning possible in all homes
Distance learning is the buzzword, as many schools and parents shift to e-learning platforms and tools. For many South Africans, however, taking on “home” schooling is just not an option. For vulnerable individuals, school is not just a place to access education or literate adults but also a place to get a meal.
I’ve been busy with our Mindjoy mission, thinking about this question: How can we support parents with learning at home? Surely, getting devices into homes and wifi is not the only way? Besides, learning is happening all the time; children learn through play, right? Would playdough be something engaging for children and support parents across the socio-economic divide?
How do we create more accessible distance learning? Playdough is a medium that children can’t keep their hands off, no matter if those children are from Oranjezicht or Khayelitsha. We’ve put together The Playdough Curriculum, variety of CAPS aligned literacy, numeracy, and creative activities primarily focussing on Grade R’s but included is something for kids ages 9–99 too!
We’ve also made an ebook for those connected digitally. You can print the PlayZine at home and share it with those who don’t have access. We’ve also included the recipe so that those who receive will be able to make more. We’re hoping you will join our mission to get the Playdough Curriculum into all homes! Below is the story of how we got the Playdough Curriculum started.
The DBE has responded to the COVID-19-crisis by saying that they could not take on the challenge of feeding children. NGOs and CAN (Community Action Networks)have been popping and stepping up in taking up the challenge of nourishing children and adults in vulnerable communities.
It is from these action network groups, that, The Playdough Curriculum has emerged as a way to make learning at home for even children in vulnerable communities. Two weeks ago, Adi (my fellow creative education enthusiast) forwarded me a message from a lady named Beth, who posted a message on her OZCAN group. Beth, a former teacher who runs the Shine Centre at Goodhope Seminary, shared a novel idea for communities to make playdough for vulnerable children.
Beth had also been thinking similar thoughts as I had, in response to Beth’s request, the Oranjezicht CAN made 150 balls of playdough for sharing with the Athlone CAN.
Beth’s message got my brain turning, and Adi was excitedly making playdough with her kids…Playdough is cost-effective to produce, most of the Grade-R curriculum can be covered creatively with playdough all we need is a cost-effective way to print and share the activities. Intro, Kathryn another passionate educator and admin of the Education-CAN who also makes these pretty cool little books called zines. A zine is one piece of paper folded into an 8-page book! Kathryn formatted my Playdough Curriculum into a zine, and so the PlayZine was created.
This week Beth delivered the Playdough Curriculum and a batch of playdough for 25 of Spar Vredehoek’s children’s employees. You too can share the Playdough Curriculum with families, communities or CAN’s to making joyful learning happen in all homes around South Africa. We’ll share a new PlazyZine each Friday, that way you have the weekend to make and distribute them to community projects near you and time to enjoy making playdough with your own children.