Lockdown is a chance for parents to aid their children’s development using picture books, says an Athlone non-profit.
The Mikhulu Trust promotes early childhood development through something called “book-sharing”, which allows parents, no matter their level of education, to be their children’s first and best teachers.
Four books, What a Mix-up, A Growing Up Day, Hide and Seek, and All’s well that Ends Well, are part of the trust’s four #LockDownBookShare series, and What a Mix-up launched online last Tuesday April 14.
Mikhulu Trust’s CEO, Kaathima Ebrahim, says book-sharing is not the same as reading a book to your child as their books use pictures instead of words to spark discussion between the adult and child.
Book-sharing, she says, is about talking about the pictures in the books, which are designed to help young children – from ages 1 to 6 – grasp the meaning of new words and aid their overall development.
“Our books are developmentally rich, locally relevant, accessible and affordable – and, because of lockdown, we are releasing four books, with book sharing instructions online. In academic studies, book-sharing has been proven to improve a child’s holistic development – especially their emotional, social and cognitive development.”
Child psychologists Professor Lynne Murrray and Professor Peter Cooper designed the visual stories, which were illustrated by South African artists.
Book-sharing helps parents explain difficult situations to their children and it can be an indoor or outdoor activity.
Ms Ebrahim advises parents to follow their child’s interests; respond positively to what their child says; point and name things in the book; and, for older children, ask complex questions to develop their thinking skills.
Visit www.facebook.com/MikhuluTrust for more details.