What are they: Fun activities to facilitate or stimulate learning in small children through relating to familiar adults in a familiar setting and language.
During the activity time small children participate together with an older person from their family. This person could be a mother, grandma, an aunt, a sister or a father, uncle, brother or grandfather.
Why do these activities together?
- It is important for the development of the child to be able to play and talk together.
- Children learn most things, including social skills, from a familiar person in the family (e.g. be careful, listen to the authority figure, wait your turn).
- Children learn best in their own familiar language, which the adult also speaks well and can speak naturally with the child.
- Adults who are not literate yet will also be doing the activities and will benefit from them.
Why use the child’s first language as much as possible?
- Children learn best in their own language.
- Children feel more at ease when their own language is spoken.
- People will be stimulated to talk more with each other.
- It improves a person’s sense of self-worth when their language is considered important enough to be used in activities like this.
(If the facilitator does not know the language being used, he/she might try to learn it, just like children need to learn the national language in school in order to communicate and function there.)
The way things are done will be different for each particular group due to:
- age differences; some groups might be mostly very young children, other groups may have nearly school-aged children;
- different levels of development;
- choosing to do things that you (facilitator) know the children like doing;
- choosing to do things that you like doing;
- knowing what is important for the children to know at a certain point;
- a flexible program: use a Bible story or not, when you choose to eat a snack or when there is free play;
- choosing what order to use the games in, depending on the local situation.
Each session will eventually include something parents and children can also do together at home.
- Children learn best if the things they learn elsewhere and at home are the same.
- Other family members will see what can be done at home (and in the home language) to help children develop and learn.
- Everyone in the home will be stimulated to talk and do things together, which is very important for the development of young children (who observe and learn a lot in the early years at home).