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How to improve your child’s early childhood development

Earlier this year, the department of Basic Education announced that Grade R will now be compulsory for all children.

More than 60% of pre-schoolers in South Africa will start big school at a massive disadvantage.

A recent survey found that 65% of children aged 4-5 years old are not meeting the expected early learning or physical growth standards for their age and will start Grade R at a considerable disadvantage to their peers.

The Thrive by Five Index, the largest preschool child development survey in South Africa, also noted that this disadvantage will have long-term implications for the educational growth of these youngsters.

What this survey has set out in stark numbers, is the fact that early childhood development (ECD) is crucial to the long-term academic and social development of our children.

ECD, simply put, is a series of guidelines to help children reach developmental goals appropriate to their age, and these include movement, nutrition, proper sleep, and limited screen time.

“A child has to be introduced to skills such as literacy and numeracy at an early age. This is crucial to their development as it lays a strong academic foundation for the future” says Nkazimulo Moyo-Zitha Head of School Achievement.

SPARK Schools shares the following 7 positive tips on promoting your child’s Early Childhood Development:

How do you promote your child’s Early Childhood Development:

  1. Scholars aged 3-5 years should also move for 180 minutes of the day. 60 minutes or more of this time should be spent on vigorous/energetic play. Sitting time should not exceed 1 hour, while screen time should also be capped at an hour.
  2. Active play should include fine and gross motor skills (building puzzles to jumping). These skills also promote problem solving, early maths and literacy skills and emotional functioning.
  3. Read to your child. It will develop their language, vocabularyproblem-solving skills, imagination, and emotional intelligence. Reading also provides an opportunity for asking your children questions and developing their thinking skills.
  4. Art is a great place to start when stimulating creativity. All children are drawn toward creating their own artwork. Art activities include drawing, painting, cutting, tearing and pasting pictures.
  5. Limit tv or tablet screen time. An hour a day is more than enough for small children, and make sure it’s appropriate content, and content they can engage with. Children’s television programmes are designed to engage with children, watching a soapie does nothing for your child.
  6. Let your child resolve conflict independently. Parents are often guilty of taking decision making abilities away from their kids, let your child resolve issues on her own.
  7. Let your child play. Playing is the single most important learning tool for young children, if they play outside, they engage with nature, they touch and experience textures, they engage their creativity and they learn to solve problems.

With the world constantly evolving. It is important that children get a strong academic foundation, as this sets them up for success. Grade R is a great way to lay a good academic foundation for your child and SPARK Schools believes that these tools and tips will help parents get their young ones ready to meet the challenges of big school.

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