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Learn To Play - Ithute Go Tshameka

Uplifting Africa Through Play

In Botswana, 75% of children lack access to early childhood education and 81% of households are women led households, half of which are grappling with poverty. Our mission is to make play-based early learning accessible in Africa through playgroups, training and parenting programmes. Our two-generational approach improves ECE outcomes and family wellbeing while creating livelihoods for women.

HundrED 2022
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2022

HundrED 2021

Parental Engagement

Web presence

2017

Established

13K

Children

6

Countries
Target group
Community
Updated
March 2024
Our vision is to weave play into the fabric of African early learning for every child despite their race, class, refugee status, geographical location or background. We're working with parents, community leaders, employers & educators to shape future generations on the African continent.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

In Botswana, 93% of children under the age of 5 do not have access to Early Learning & fail to reach their potential in cognitive development. Poverty, poor health and nutrition, as well as the lack of early stimulation holds these children back. In 2017, Priyanka founded Learn To Play with the vision to ensure that access to high-quality early childhood education was a right and not a luxury.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

LTP has a two-generational approach to early childhood education through its playgroups and Parent Playbox.

We have five simple steps to opening community based playgroups:

1) Community consultations determine ECE challenges & context.
2) Village Development Committee identified a community location for playgroups
3) Village leadership nominates 10 Maatla Mamas and LTP selects 3 for two weeks of ECE training.
4) Playgroups open and are operated daily by Maatla Mamas
5) LTP virtualy supports Maatla Mamas, conducts site visits and annual impact assessments

The Parent Playbox provides caregivers with the knowledge and confidence on how to purposefully interact with their children, through 52 activities and resources combined with training on how to use them for a year long home-based early learning program. The Parent Playbox prioritises improved ECE outcomes and family wellbeing through access to playful parenting delivering improved social outcomes for caregiver and child.

How has it been spreading?

LTP works in 11 communities with 550 children and 35 Maatla Mamas daily. To achieve universal access to ECE in Botswana, we now work with two local governments to create champion districts with universal access to ECE. Recognising that the scalability of our innovation lies in our training and curriculum, these champion districts will serve as the case study for how we can leverage the LTP training and curriculum to improve quality and increase access across the country in conjunction with our Parent Playbox. We know that partnerships are key to creating meaningful change in Africa so we have delivered educator training and the Parent Playbox to ECD organisations across the continent impacting 150 educators working with over 10,000 children and 270 playboxes reaching 800 family members.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

For organisations who seek to strengthen their play-based programming, particularly in social & emotional development and mindful play, or have a guided approach to a home-based parenting program that improves caregiver confidence for improved parent and child outcomes, Learn To Play offers training and a parenting solution for you. Contact us at priyanka@learntoplay.org to discuss your needs.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Learn to Play is empowering communities by equipping mothers with the knowledge and skills to lead early childhood education lessons and help facilitate enriching play environments. This scalable model changes mindsets on education in lower income communities and empowers women in the community.

HundrED Academy Reviews

This seems highly effective and easily scalable. Empowering mothers to become engaged in their children's education from the beginning is an important way to ensure they continue to feel invested in their educational outcomes, and it seems the mothers here receive a lot of support to do this.

Establishing this innovation in disadvantaged communities where poverty is high and most children don’t have any exposure to early childhood education, is a brilliant idea. This innovation has a high potential to scale as it creates opportunities for children to learn about themselves.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Impact
Scalability
Exceptional
High
Moderate
Limited
Insufficient
Exceptional
High
Moderate
Limited
Insufficient
Read more about our selection process

Media

A big highlight of 2022 was attending the HundrED summit in Helsinki, Finland. Priyanka presented a workshop on learning through play, with a special emphasis on our mindful play programme. We also got the chance to co-present with the wonderful people from BRAC Tanzania and Bangladesh, Susan Bipa and Mofakhkharul Islam. We are so grateful for this incredible experience!
We recently returned from an incredible week in Uganda with Children on the Edge Africa, where we trained 120 teachers on child protection, social & emotional development, mindful play, and creativity for young children. We're thrilled to be part of this incredible impact by partnering with Children On The Edge to nurture every child's wellbeing, giving them a happy and healthy start to life
D-Kar Training - In August 2022 we trained 7 teachers and 3 teacher's assistants in D'kar between Mosaico and the VDC school. In return, they impact over 120 children The Training covered the below modules: 1. Early Brain development through play 2. Motor skills 3. Let's play literacy 4. Let's play thinking skills 5. Mindful play 6. LEGO playbox
Mindful play - Developing our mindful play program for playgroups and educators has been a big highlight. The impact of mindfulness on children is powerful as it helps children calm their bodies and minds. This creates a positive and relaxed environment that can benefit behavior, communication, and emotional regulation.
Dukwi Refugee Camp - Launching and successfully operating a playgroup for refugees
Kavimba Centre 2022 also marked the launch of our early childhood education center in the Chobe Region.
The Parent Playbox 2022 marked the year we joined forces with the incredible team from Kids collab to create the powerful Parent Playbox. Each box is carefully curated with 24 activities to encourage positive parent and child relationships, improve parental engagement, stimulate healthy growth, and improve the quality of ECD at home. This means happier families and lifelong learning!
Dukwi Refugee Camp training
Yoga and mindfulness with mothers and children in an inner city park
Outdoor play with Mamas in Kavimba
Go Baby Go training and resources, contextualised and translated into Setswana for wider accessibility. 
Positive Parenting workshop in Kacgae, a San bushmen community in Botswana. 
COVID-19 Response: Home-Visits
COVID-19 Parenting Tips with University of Oxford and University of Cape Town
The Learn To Play team
Consortium of Pre-Primary Data and Measurement in Africa - Rwanda
Play-At-Home: COVID19 Response
Creating a play-based curriculum
Training over 80 early childhood teachers in rural Malawi
Mobile Mentoring: COVID19 Support to 200 families
Sustainable Play Kits as a COVID19 Response
Nature Play
Food security and sustainable entrepreneurship through organic vegetable farming
Ecostraws made by Mamapreneurs from the Chobe Floodplains
Clean water and hygiene interventions
Mamapreneurs getting certified in First Aid
Mamapreneurs in Six Bricks LEGO Training
Conservation & literacy through stories and hand-painted story-stones
Sustainable numeracy and cognitive development
Fine Motor Mats & Home-made Books
Sustainable Play in a San Bushmen Community
Learn To Play / Ithute Go Tshameka

Implementation steps

Support our work

Click here to donate now and be a part of our impactful work!

Partner with us

If you are interested in partnering with Learn To Play to implement our high-impact programs in your context; receive our Rainbow Play training; conduct research on early learning in impoverished communities; or provide employee provided childcare at your organisation, please get in touch with us at priyanka@rewaedu.org

Consult with us

We can add value to your early childhood programmes, provide parenting support and enhance your community work through our unique Rainbow Play Training, Lego/Duplo Play Box and 6 bricks training and more. Contact us on priyanka@rewaedu.org to find out how we can help you create a more playful, nurturing impact.

Spread of the innovation

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