A few months ago Brent discovered a transaction on one of his accounts that he definitely did not make.
Tap and go …the facts
How to disable your tapped go
As of 2023 the transition of ECD ( early childhood development) which was moved from the department of social development to the department of education, will be in effect in South Africa.
Grade 00 is now compulsory
Parents need to do their homework
- -Qualified teachers who are trained to teach in an ECD environment.
- A school that is accredited and registered with the education department.
- Look for a school that values play based learning and child-led philosophy. Montessori, Reggio Emillia and Waldorf based schools hold these traits.
- Does the school value the students well being as being the most important factorover and above academic results?
- Look to see if the teachers are kind, gentle in approach and caring with positive dispositions. Your child’s teacher will spend the most time moulding them in their still formative years, that experience needs to be a positive, loving one.
- Does the school have and instill a strong sense of community?
- Is the teaching within the classroom fun, engaging, relevant , interactive and based on play?
- What discipline policy is in place. Is the child guided and supported as they grow and develop their social and self- regularly skills?
Industry experts offer rich insights on innovation, resources and support needed now, and into the future.
A group of experts were recently brought together through a discussion, organised by BIC, a world leader in stationery, shavers, and lighters, to address some of the challenges faced in the education sector. The discussion aimed to provide educators with support through insights, ideas, and practical tools.
The discussion was facilitated by the highly esteemed media maverick and current ‘Talk Radio 702’ presenter, Refiloe Mpakanyane, who was joined by all-star panellists. These included: “Swaggy School Teacher,” Sibusiso Masombuka; Occupational Therapist, founder of Nanny ‘n Me and co-founder of Play Sense, Lara Schoenfeld; Counselling Psychologist and founder of Shrink Mama, Reabetsoe Buys, and Journalist, Author and Founder of “The Village” Facebook group, Vanessa Raphaely.
A wealth of invaluable insights were shared by these experts, some of which include:
Communication and creativity are amongst the most important tools that educators need to use to overcome the obstacles that the pandemic still poses to traditional teaching.
Handwriting is pertinent in brain development and should not be replaced with the use of computers as a primary transcription tool.
Establishing a sound routine for children at home is an effective way for parents to compensate for the disruptive changes that the pandemic introduced to their children’s lives.
Creating a supportive group for parents helps to alleviate the burden that they feel and allows them to pool resources to assist their children.
The ‘Swaggy School Teacher’, Sibusiso Masombuka, kicked off the discussion by sharing the most noticeable changes that he has experienced as a result of the pandemic, saying: “Education has transitioned into a different realm for both educators and learners. The most noticeable change was obviously that schooling moved from a physical to a virtual environment. Learners have had to transition from having access to a school library with computers, and a physical classroom with a teacher, to learning behind a screen through online platforms. Even that was only available for privileged learners who could afford to access teaching material online through accessible technology. Many kids were not able to attend classes due to lack of resources. As educators, platforms such as YouTube, WhatsApp groups, or Google Classroom were methods we used to engage with students. Not having all students present on these platforms presented a challenge that we hadn’t faced before.”
In an attempt to maintain the quality of education that his learners received pre-pandemic, and to strengthen the human connection between himself and his students, Masombuka shared the approach he followed as an educator during the COVID-19 pandemic: “I believe that traditional schooling perpetuates the idea that education can only happen at school, when in fact it can happen anywhere and we’re all responsible for it, not just as teachers. I definitely used the change that was enforced on the industry as an opportunity for me to start my own YouTube channel. I knew some of the kids’ parents were able to get the technological resources needed for me to engage with the kids. I also took up the opportunity to teach in various online schools, through which more than three million students were reached and impacted, in the first phase of the lockdown period alone. To reach the kids that did not have the resources, I joined the Department of Education through its Secondary Schools Improvement Programme (SSIP), a GDE supplementary tuition program, which is being implemented on weekends in 298 sites across Gauteng. As a team, we visited townships and rural communities to teach the kids. The project resulted in the development of teaching methods that would allow students to catch up on what they had missed out on during the lockdown period. Underpinning these activities, was the constant communication flow I maintained with the students and their guardians – to ensure a human connection amidst a digitally based world.”
Commenting on the psychological impact of the changes enforced by the pandemic, Counselling Psychologist, Reabetsoe Buys, said: “A lot of research shows that an event of this magnitude is directly linked to mental health. People who struggle with mental health issues find that their symptoms get worse, while those who don’t, often develop issues. It is impressive to see that many teachers, parents and students have done exceptionally well as they adapt to the ‘new normal’ that emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators have looked at new and innovative ways of teaching, while parents have worked on incorporating teaching into day-to-day parenting.”
Buys went on to share her professional insights on what parents can do with their kids at home to compensate for the changes that took place in the education system: “It is important to establish a solid routine for children as it provides them with the safety and the boundaries that they need. Ensuring that the kids take part in family activities is equally crucial. Allowing your kids to spend time outdoors where they can exercise and engage in physical activity, especially those that engage their senses, will help them burn off the energy they built up as well as activate different parts of their brain. The work that the parents put in, needs to be complemented by teachers, who in turn need to make sure that they engage learners with more than just the academic material in the curricula. We need to ensure that children are looked after holistically.”
Commenting on the role of parents in supporting children amidst the pandemic, author, media consultant and founder of The Village SA (a trusted parenting group on Facebook), Vanessa Raphaely, said: “What I hear on The Village every day is that the fear of unemployment and uncertainty has never been as prevalent. As a result of that, many parents have feelings of anxiety and fear that have been misdirected towards teachers. I founded The Village to ensure that parents and teachers alike have a safe space where they can break through barriers and emotions to focus on solutions to effectively support students. One of the most positive outcomes of the pandemic was how parents worked together to come up with innovative solutions to support their children – whether that was through gathering up, sharing the load, or pooling resources.”
As an accomplished Occupational Therapist, Lara Schoenfeld offered her insight on the developmental and long-term impacts of typing in comparison to hand-writing, unpacking further the need for writing to develop fine motor skills, particularly for primary school students. Schoenfeld said: “Handwriting activates specific parts of the brain, which researchers believe are important for learning and memory. Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Dr Colby Wiley, found that when children use handwriting, they’re not only activating the motor cortex because they’re using their hand physically, but are also using the motor planning aspects of the visual cortex as they visualize the letters in their minds. Children would also use the language center of their brain to communicate, as well as the neural senses associated with reading and spelling. This is evidence that it is vital for students to learn to handwrite at school, to ensure that they develop these neural patterns that are beneficial for learning and memory. Writing, particularly cursive writing, also helps stimulate the right and left sides of the brain. Research on brain imaging confirms that this doesn’t happen when children type.”
Schoenfeld sheds further light on the importance of handwriting, stating that it improves children’s literacy as it stimulates different parts of the brain to work together. Similarly, handwriting improves attention and cognition and contributes to self-regulation. It helps children think more freely, brainstorm, annotate, link ideas, and identify important points. Schoenfeld highlights findings of Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology, which suggests that children should first learn printing, as it stimulates the reading centers of the brain, after which they should learn cursive writing, which contributes towards spelling, composing and the ability to be creative. And finally, in late primary school, children can be introduced to touch-typing. Schoenfeld concluded by saying that the result of children using a keyboard instead of learning to write, is a reduction of the developmental aspects which contribute towards brain development.
Commenting on the pressures faced by educators to tailor teaching methods to different students, Masombuka said: “Teaching kids in a way that engages them requires teachers’ understanding of the generation, what stimulates them, and what they respond to. Taking children out to teach them on the field, creating groups where children can learn from one another through peer learning, or using visual aids are all ideas that can be implemented to get more out of students.”
Masombuka shared an experience where his colleague had a challenge engaging with students via Microsoft Teams. He suggested that his colleague conduct the lesson on TikTok instead – which resulted in a phenomenal outcome. Masombuka stressed the importance of being relevant to audiences, as well as being creative and existing in an environment where children are present.
The discussion, organized by BIC, saw tremendous success, and received positive feedback from educators, parents, psychologists, and experts in the industry. Stakeholders have agreed that discussions like these are invaluable and crucial in finding practical solutions to aid teachers, parents, and students as they continue to navigate this “new normal”. The activity reaffirmed the need of educators for access to regular support and useful resources.
These sentiments are aligned to BIC’s greater vision for education in South Africa. Commenting on the initiative, Marketing Manager of BIC Stationery South Africa, Kutlwano Tshetlhane, said: “Education is a part of BIC’s DNA, as we continuously work to improve the lives, spirits and educational opportunities of the children of our beautiful country, allowing them to reach their full potential and imagination. This is what prompted our decision to gather industry experts to address some of the challenges faced by teachers, parents, and children. We aim to initiate conversations that cultivate, support, empower and provide practical tools that would allow educators, parents and students to overcome some of these challenges. We invite like minded individuals to join us on our journey as we write the future of education, together.”
If you would like to view the full roundtable discussion, please see the recording on YouTube here.
BIC is a world leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers. For more than 75 years, the Company has honored the tradition of providing high-quality, affordable products to consumers everywhere. Through this unwavering dedication, BIC has become one of the most recognized brands and is a trademark registered worldwide. Today, BIC products are sold in more than 160 countries around the world and feature iconic brands such as Cello®, Conté®, BIC FlexTM, Lucky Stationery, Made For YOUTM, Soleil®, Tipp-Ex®, Wite-Out® and more. The Company is listed on “Euronext Paris,” is part of the SBF120 and CAC Mid 60 indexes and is recognized for its commitment to sustainable development and education. It received an A- Leadership score from CDP. For more, visit www.bicworld.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube
The world today is changing rapidly. Technological advancements are unlike anything we have seen before. We have entered the fourth industrial revolution and can only speculate about the future of workplaces and the required skill sets.
Children need to prepare for an exciting and tech-driven future, and we need to enable them to acquire the necessary skills to build their careers. The education curriculum is adapting to meet this need by introducing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) in the school syllabus to help children develop creative problem-solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and other vital skills. Many early learning brands like PlayShifu are creating incredible toys that help children master S.T.E.M. and all these essential skills early on.
However, S.T.E.M. is more than learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. At its core, S.T.E.M. is the process of integrating these disciplines to help children develop new ways of thinking that interlink science and mathematics to technology and engineering and how it all fits into our daily lives. This holistic approach to learning encourages children to experiment with concepts and develop critical thinking, logical analysis, curiosity, and inquiry through trial and error.
Although educators and parents are generally aware of the importance of S.T.E.M. and its benefits, until recently, S.T.E.M. initiatives have been limited to children that have demonstrated an aptitude for subjects such as mathematics. Further, funding is often set aside for higher grade levels and overlooking the benefit of S.T.E.M. for younger learners.
When should S.T.E.M. be introduced to children?
Children are naturally curious, explorative, and eager to learn. All these qualities are crucial for S.T.E.M. learning. By their very nature, they are scientists at heart exploring the world around them, organizing items, and trying to figure out how and why everything works the way it does. PlayShifu’s Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto offer children a safe and sound space to play, tinker, and learn. PlayShifu’s Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto offer a safe and sound space for children to play, tinker, and learn.
Introducing children to S.T.E.M. experiences helps establish a critical foundation early on and fosters a positive attitude towards learning. Children as young as three can be introduced to S.T.E.M. learning as suggested by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards, and International Standards for Technology in Education.
What are the benefits of introducing S.T.E.M. at an early age?
From language development to collaborative learning, there are several significant benefits to introducing S.T.E.M. to children at an early age. The most pertinent benefit is that it prepares them for the workplace of the future. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, non-S.T.E.M. occupations are predicted to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028, while the number of S.T.E.M.-related jobs are expected to grow by 9%, creating 10.6 million jobs.
Children who are introduced to S.T.E.M. early on could perform better academically and could pursue a career in S.T.E.M. comfortably. Early S.T.E.M. learning helps develop critical thinking, creativity, and other essential foundational skills. The Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop study asserts that closing the gap between preschool and elementary school practices is necessary to prepare children for a better digital future.
What can parents do to encourage S.T.E.M. learning at home?
Many schools have started implementing S.T.E.M. learning into the curriculum from preschool through to Grade 12. However, parents have an important role to play in encouraging S.T.E.M. learning at home from an early age. Parents’ guidance at a young age could impact children’s attitudes toward learning in the classroom and beyond.
The study from the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop found that many parents felt anxious or lacked confidence in their knowledge of S.T.E.M. and thus found it difficult to implement and encourage S.T.E.M. development at home. Fortunately, more tools like PlayShifu’s Orboot and Plugo are becoming available to help parents foster S.T.E.M. activities at home.
How to introduce S.T.E.M. to young children?
Many innovative S.T.E.M. toys integrate tech seamlessly with rich storytelling and gameplay that encourages curiosity and learning. However, screen time is a major concern among 21st-century parents. Extended screen time is known to cause behavioural problems and sleep disorders.
That said, the focus of screen time is shifting from avoiding screens to harnessing their benefits as learning supplements, providing opportunities to learn through play, and changing the role of children from being passive recipients of information to participants in learning alongside a screen.
PlayShifu’s innovative use of Augmented Reality and tactile toys brings phenomenal educational games for children. These games are driven by hands-on play that enriches and brings new meaning to screen time. They have developed smart S.T.E.M. toys that work in conjunction with a phone or tablet device to help foster critical thinking, grammar, logic, social-emotional learning, cultural awareness, and problem-solving skills. The products have physical components that children can touch, connect, and build with. And the companion app has super fun games that teach children various curriculum-based concepts.
The PlayShifu range includes Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto, which start at R899 and can be purchased from iStore, Takealot, and Toys’R’Us. Designed for ages 4 to 12, all the product platforms are supported by free-to-download apps that work with a range of devices on iOS and Android.
PlayShifu is a leading early learning toy company offering a variety of immersive, educational toys that connect the physical and digital worlds. The play experiences are specially designed for kids ages 4 to 12 years, and build foundational STEAM skills through fun. Founded in 2016 by Dinesh Advani and Vivek Goyal after they saw a need to provide meaningful digital play experiences for their kids, PlayShifu is now loved around the world. With offices in the U.S. and India, PlayShifu products are available in more than 35 countries through online marketplaces including Amazon, and brick-and-mortar locations including Sam’s Club, BestBuy, Argos, Toys‘R’Us, Hamleys, Virgin Media, and Rakuten.
To purchase and find out more, visit PlayShifu.com.
Teaching your child about symmetry doesn’t need to be a daunting prospect.
I made this fun game for Hamish to help him understand the concept of symmetrical objects using a few hand drawn cards and a small mirror.
How to make your symmetrical game
To make your own you will need:
- Small mirror
To make your own:
Cut your cardboard into several smaller cards.
Onto these cards draw half of an object that is symmetrical. Items like faces, flowers,bodies, animals, house, kite, etc work best.
How to play
Once your cards are drawn, show your child how to hold the card right next to the mirror and explain that the mirror will reflect the image, completing the other half of the symmetrical object.
Let them explore on their own with the cards and you can extend this activity by having your child point out other symmetrical objects in the home for you to draw.
You can also introduce a few asymmetrical objects to help to differentiate to your child how to telling an object is symmetrical or asymmetrical .
Using your cards containing both symmetrical and asymmetrical objects, let your child try each card and classify the objects accordingly.
This unicorn fine motor activity is easy to make, great as a quiet time activity and can be brought out on a rainy day to keep the kids entertained.
I’ve also added a few ideas on how to extend the activity for older children.
Make your unicorn
Some of our best moments of play are with ordinary home made games we make.
This morning I drew a unicorn on some old card, Hamish coloured the horn with crayon and then he exercised those fine motor and co-ordination skills as he decorated the unicorns mane with pegs.
To make your own you will need:
- Black marker
- Crayons,markers or paint
- Colourful pegs
How to make your unicorn
To make your unicorn start by drawing a unicorn head shape onto a thick piece of card with the black marker. Add details like eyes, etc.
Cut your shape out.
Let your child colour the eyes, horn and ears with crayon, marker or if you prefer paint.
When the unicorn head has been coloured, give your child a small container with coloured pegs and show them how to peg them onto the unicorn shape to form a mane.
Another great way to use this would be to help your child learn to make patterns by pegging the coloured pegs into a colour sequence.
You could also number the pegs, label them with the alphabet or with your child’s name to enhance the activity for older children.
Last week I showed a lovely set of magnetic learning cards gifted to Hamish and many of you have asked where he got the set.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Ferhensha the dedicated, passionate teacher behind the educational range at Learning through Wood.
Meet the brand
Tell us a bit about your brand
Learning with wood was created to introduce young minds to long lasting and mostly resources made from wood which allow for self teaching and autonomous learning.
With an attempt at marrying structured play and free play or to create a symbiotic relationship between the two, where the resources, through play will teach the child a variety of lessons.
I also wanted for the resources to stimulate on more than one skill at a time.
A set of number pegs will allow for fine motor, cognitive, imaginative, gross motor, listening and a few other skills comprehensively.
What was your inspiration to start your business.
I used to believe I was born to teach to educate young minds, but when I began teaching, I realised that I was actually here to learn and create!
I have learnt so much about children and their ways, I have seen in my almost 13 years of nursery life learning, ‘my’ children learnt and retained lessons the best when they did it through ‘play’ or pretend play of teaching each other, but structured learning is necessary and they need it too.
So all they needed was the right resources to be used during these times and then they would thrive wholly.
I have always made such resources for my classes and now with being in lockdown and what our world is facing, especially with parents having to juggle so much, I thought that this is an excellent way for the children to keep learning on their own with as minimum input from parents as possible.
Homework isn’t important, the understanding of the concepts is.
What is your vision/ mission with your brand
If I can save parents and children from hundreds of photocopied worksheets, more play time and repetition of activities just to allow a child to gain understanding then my mission would be complete and I would have made a big difference with a little resource.
What is your favourite product in your range and why?
The numeracy set. It just offers so much.
A few being:
- number recognition
- Rote counting
- Number conservation
- Number name recognition
- Number name writing
- Number writing
- Imaginative play
- Mathematics concepts
- Less than and more than
Yes, I love this one.
Tell us a bit about yourself- the person behind the brand.
I am in my early 30s, ECD qualified nursery school teacher with a year of psychology.
I’m also a stay at home mum of two little hearts, a 3 year old and an 8 month old.
I have a passion for education in every way you can possibly think it can be used. Education in everything for everyone in the most simplest ways where it is never seen as a task but merely a life experience and one where you’ve received enrichment for your whole self.
What is your favourite quote.
I can’t possibly choose one! But I will share just 2 that have spoken to my life a few times.
Of course I absolute adore Dr. Seuss.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
“I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.”
Nicholas sparks from A walk to remember.
What message would you give a brand just starting out.
Reach out to all your friends and loved ones for help and advice, don’t think you can do it all on your own and have a schedule, don’t let it consume you in those first few months.
Educo Solutions, the organisation that supplies free, accredited education to our country’s youth, has fast-tracked its digital services, launching Educo Academy in an attempt to counter the negative impact Covid-19 is having on the educational environment.
The online learning portal allows all Educo students to conduct their courses remotely and for free, helping them to continue progressing during lockdown.
Educo Academy won’t replace the existing learning centres situated in Alex Mall, Protea Glen Shopping Mall, Diepkloof Library and the newest addition in the Libridge Building, Braamfontein. It is, instead, an easy-to-access tool for students to keep learning whilst locked down, one that they will continue to use at their respective centres when they return to class.
The launch of Educo Academy means Educo is also not limiting its services to the physical learning centres in Gauteng.
“Since we announced Educo Academy last week on social media, we have had dozens of registration requests from potential students all over the country,” says Ayanda Makwanazi. “This bodes well for a mobile platform that aims to provide South Africa’s qualifying youth with much-needed opportunities to up-skill themselves through education, no matter where they live.”
“With Educo Academy, all a student needs is a device to connect to the site,” explains Ayanda Mankwanazi, Educo’s Head of Academics and Facilitation. “This innovation in remote learning opens up our services to the nation. Our existing students can continue their studies uninterrupted, and many more now have the opportunity to join our programme and better themselves.”
In addition to the Q&A function on Educo Academy, each student is assigned to a facilitator who offers support on WhatsApp, either to their group or on a one-on-one basis.
Educo Academy is a positive development that aims to alleviate the stress and uncertainty of these difficult and testing times. It is easy to use and, most importantly, the data is zero-rated, with Educo Solutions picking up all the data costs involved. For the thousands of students currently stuck at home, it offers enormous benefits and hope.
Educo Solutions began registering new students immediately after the launch of Educo Academy, and is encouraging all qualifying South Africans to register and apply for their new 3 -month Digital Business Skills Program.
The course covers a wide variety of skills including Microsoft office and business communication to, and very relevant right now, dealing with HIV and Pandemics in the workplace.
Students will receive a certificate of completion after their 3-month Digital Business Skills programme, as well as earning Unit Standard credits towards a 12 Month National Certificate should they wish to continue their studies.
With youth unemployment on the rise, South Africa’s younger generation are in desperate need of skills that set them apart and enable them to gain access to the labour market.
Educo Solutions is directly addressing the country’s educational and skills gap by providing free, quality NQF and SETA-accredited education to unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 28. And with the launch of Educo Academy any qualifying individual can do this course from their mobile phone free of charge and reap the benefits.
On completion of a 12-month course contract focusing on relevant skills like end-user computing and business communication, these up-skilled graduates find themselves in an ideal position to enter the formal job market and apply for jobs like secretaries, data capturers, admin staff and customer service agents.
- one must be South African
- and between the age of 18 and 28.
For interested individuals, you can register at this link:https://bit.ly/EducoDigital
For more information:www.educosolutions.co.za
As your child gets a little older, you may want to introduce a set of flash cards to help them learn the letters of the alphabet.
You will need
- Cardboard A4, 1 per letter
- Fold each piece of card into quarters and cut into 4 pieces.
You should have one quarter for each :
Upper case letter
Lower case letter
Upper & lower case letter next to each other
Image with word and upper and lower case letter
- Using the marker draw each letter of the alphabet on one piece of card.