Young children learn through play. It is an essential and natural part of their early development. In our community, our Nomakhayas facilitate playgroups for young children (aged 0-3) twice a week. Through play, children develop problem-solving skills as they stack blocks or figure out how to fit shapes together. They expand their vocabulary while they play with new toys and describe their actions. They acquire essential social skills, learning to cooperate, share, and empathise with their peers. 

But playgroups are not just about the children. Parents and caregivers gather, too, creating a network of support. It’s a time when they can share experiences, seek advice, and form bonds with others navigating parenthood. Nomakahays also use the time to discuss important health topics like breastfeeding and keeping children up-to-date on immunisations and clinic visits. They ensure that parents and caregivers feel confident in their child’s early education and health. 

We have found that the children participating in our playgroups are better prepared for preschool, starting at age 3.

Some sessions, Nomakhayas will host toy-making workshops with parents and caregivers. They use recycled materials to make shakers, bean bags, or balls. These workshops create toys for children to use at home and lay the foundation for parental and caregiver involvement in their child’s educational life. 

Our Nomakhayas receive training in disability awareness, allowing them to identify early signs of developmental or physical delays in children. Early intervention and support can make a big difference in a child’s life. These playgroups allow for early observation and linkage to care if needed. 

Playgroups are often the first and most important structured learning environments for young children. They are simple, low-cost, and VERY cute. We paused our playgroups during the COVID-19 lockdown, but they were revived by popular demand from the parents/caregivers in our community.