The COVID19 Pandemic has severely disrupted education globally, and posed a significant challenge for rural areas that have limited access to electricity and technology.
The Bulungula Incubator (BI) educates nearly 300 children through our Early Childhood Development Centres and the ECD @ Home Project and Playgroups across the four villages of the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area. 1500 learners are supported at government primary schools and 130 learners at the Bulungula College.
When the COVID-19 National Lockdown interrupted the education programmes run by the BI, we looked at the stimulation and education opportunities at home for the children in our communities. We realised that outside of school, many of our children do not receive any support. In response, we have created home learning plans for our learners to continue education while still recognising all the necessary precautions and protocols related to COVID-19 safety. We continue to adapt with our learners as we comply with the South African phased reopening of schools, and unpredictable school closures.
The BI created home learning programmes facilitated by Home Learning Champions (HLCs). The HLCs consist of ECD teachers, IiTablet Tshomiz facilitators, and family members. The HLCs are trained to implement and guide learning activities, as well as trained in strict COVID19 safety protocol to keep learners and families healthy. Learners grouped by the BI, by age and location, gather in a safe spot to complete the home learning activities.
Although the BI Home Learning program started because of the National Lockdown, we want Home Learning to continue after schools re-open permanently. Research shows that children who receive the right stimulation at home at a young age are better equipped to do well in in their school careers. Through the Home Learning project, BI wants to empower parents and carers to give their children the support they will need to succeed at school.