Children: Bright Start
The best counsellors for the children are their parents, we then have to support them to support their child.
An estimated 3.5 million children in South Africa are living HIV-exposed, but uninfected. Research is finding that these children are at an increased risk of cognitive delay as compared to their HIV-unexposed peers.
At One to One Africa, we believe that every child deserves to reach their full potential. Through Bright Start, an innovative programme that was initially piloted in Crossroads (a township on the outskirts of Cape Town), we are engaging with caregivers of children aged 2-5 years to help support their cognitive development and to encourage stronger caregiver-child attunement. The programme is open to the caregivers of any children in this age range, irrespective of their HIV exposure status, and our primary objective is to support those children who are most vulnerable to cognitive delay.
Unlike many early childhood development programmes that are facility-focused, Bright Start provides space for caregivers to be at the centre of the intervention. They build parenting skills, learn how to engage productively with their children, and see how making the time and space to learn through play can have a remarkable impact on a child’s mood, development and behaviour.
The caregivers are led through 8 toy sessions with our trained facilitators, after which they get to keep the toy and bring it home to use with their children. The toys have been carefully selected to be used educationally and in low-resource settings. They speak to the developmental milestones that the children in the different age groups are working towards.
Caregivers and children reached in the pilot phase of the programme
of children showed an increase in words and skills through the programme
of caregivers reported that their children were happier after going through the programme
of caregivers said they noticed increased self-confidence in their children through the programme.
One to One Africa is supporting vulnerable children and their caregivers to not only survive, but to thrive.
1. Develop a ‘toy toolkit’ designed for graded learning that encourages one-to-one time with children and their caregivers as they play together in a step-by-step fashion.
2. Train more facilitators to deliver regular sessions for children and their caregivers.
3. Implement the programme in new communities where a need has been identified.
4. Incorporate Bright Start into existing programmes, such as Enable.
What have caregivers said about Bright Start?
“They have encouraged us to keep it at our minds that we can actually raise our child on our own and make them be future leaders.”
“I have learnt that education starts at home rather than looking at it from a distance. A child should also learn at home so that they become used to the process of learning. Therefore, we should take responsibility as parents so that we don’t give the teachers all the responsibility. These are our children at the end of the day.”
“Bright Start has assisted me in being a real parent. I have also learnt that everything starts at home before it spreads outside.”