Did you know that almost 80% of a person’s brain potential
is developed by the age of 4?
This was the main message for the ‘Waste to Toys’ workshop which, as the names suggests, was all about making resources from waste or junk materials.
Singakwenza: a South African company, travelled up to Zambia to spend the
day with us and show us how easy it is to make school resources that are free, educational and sustainable.
As well as the three Beyond Ourselves schools, ten other local community schools were invited to join us. It was a very empowering morning and we all ended the day with our heads full of new ideas and feeling motivated to get creative.
Every person was given a pair of scissors and a black marker pen and told that these would be the only ‘tools’ we needed.
The number washing line in this picture has been made from packaged cardboard and the pictures taken from free supermarket leaflets.
So clever, simple and free!
Each activity was designed with specific Early Childhood Development goals in mind. So we progressed from making rocket balls – that tested our gross motor skills to writing our initials on the top of fruit packaging with used matchsticks -that helped with our fine motor skills.
Poking holes with a matchstick developed the muscles young
children need for holding a pencil.
With each activity and new creation the emphasis was on developing the skills that children would need for reading, writing and maths later on.
We couldn’t make everything in one morning and so spent some time looking at resources already prepared such as this ‘shoe tying activity’
Overall the day was a huge success. Singkwenza shared with our teachers the skills and ideas needed to make their own toys and school resources. The teachers went back to their schools with easily-replicated sustainable resources and ideas for making many more.
However the best part was the knowledge and understanding of the importance of play for a child’s early development. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.
During our training we did little writing but learnt a great deal through the making, discussing, playing and problem solving with our peers.
Check out the video on the Singkwenza website to see their training in action.