SiyaDlala SiyaFunda highlights importance of learning through play

SiyaDlala SiyaFunda, a campaign that highlights the importance of learning through play, was launched at Workshop 17 in Rosebank on Thursday.

The campaign is an international movement that encourages parents and caregivers to recognise the benefits of play, dedicate more time to play with their children, demand more space and time for play to happen in their homes, communities, and classrooms.

It was started in 2019 in Columbia, Rwanda, and Brazil in Latin America.

SiyaDlala SiyaFunda has come together with other partner organisations running play-based programmes on the ground and is now launching a national radio campaign in all South African languages, together with social media activations.

Television news personality and author of a new children’s book in 11 official languages, Nzinga Qunta, was the host of the event where there was a panel discussion, a storytelling session, and play exercises.

Campaign director of SiyaDlala SiyaFunda Thuli Mkhwebane said: “The world has shifted dramatically over the last year with Covid, and never before has children’s development and learning been so important. Parents, teachers, systems, and governments must rethink how children learn and play under these changing circumstances.

“We’re excited to keep exploring not only immediate solutions to help parents and caregivers prioritise play for development, but also work with schools and decision-makers to change our education systems and communities for the better, to be more creative, innovative, and holistic.”

The second part of the SiyaDlala SiyaFunda campaign is the “Mzansi Playdate”, which will encourage South Africans to take part in a national playdate. Parents and caregivers will be encouraged to be proactively involved in play activities that drive learning and a heightened interaction with the world they live in.

Author, storyteller, and director Gcina Mhlophe, an ambassador for SiyaDlala SiyaFunda, said: “Until we see a brighter future in our children’s eyes, not much of what we do today has any value. Kids need to learn in a fun environment so they can acquire diverse skills through play. SiyaDlala SiyaFunda liberates kids from learning life lessons in structured, rigid environments only.”

The SiyaDlala SiyaFunda radio campaign will officially kick off on June 27 on all SABC African languages’ radio stations. The six weeks’ campaign will feature weekly 24-minute episodes that cover diverse issues around the benefits of learning through play.

Also Read: Nzinga Qunta releases children’s book in 11 official languages

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