Singakwenza…from a dlalanathi pespective

A dlalanathi perspective on working with Singakwenza…by Linda Smallbones.

It’s early on a Monday morning and we’re all just starting to gather at the venue, getting ready for our workshop. We unload our car, the two of us each having an armload of stuff – shew, this is quite the load for a morning workshop I think as we cart it into the silent, dusty hall.

In rolls Singakwenza, their double cab bakkie packed to the rafters with…recycling! But it’s not actually recycling at all. It’s TOYS! It’s access and opportunities to PLAY! As dlalanathi we are a two-person strong team today. They’re a four-person team and we soon see why. There is a lot of recycling that goes into making toys, but the team unpacks it with efficiency and apparent ease. They’re a team, they’re committed, they’re cheerful and open, and it is a joy to work with them. By the time they have unpacked, the hall is full of colour and the dust seems to have blown away and it is most definitely no longer silent but full of laughter!

This one day workshop we’re running together is actually the start of a working partnership that is ongoing. That’s almost 4 years of working together with one of the most innovative, creative NGOs in KZN. They’re professional and have I mentioned committed? Many times over these years I have seen various members of the team in and outside of working hours, going where they need to go to promote Early Childhood Education and Development, with the same cheerfulness and commitment as I witnessed in that first workshop we facilitated together.

They’re the early learning experts and dlalanathi brings our expertise in parenting and emotional communication through play. Our joint capacity building in home-based, parent-led play and communication is a win-win combination. Using relationship and play to stimulate early learning at home is our joint passion and focus of our partnership.  Together, we promote stimulation for young children, many of whom don’t have access to early childhood education. We promote play, protection and stimulation in the home. No fancy programmes or toys required, just the significant caregiver and his or her willingness to sit on the play mat with his/her child and make an opportunity for shared joy together. We believe in promoting relationship between the caregiver and their child, of the importance of their interactions as their child’s first teacher. We desire to leave the caregiver with a sense of confidence to play with their child in such a way that their relationship is strengthened, the child’s cognitive, emotional and social growth is being stimulated and they are having lots of fun together!

dlalanathi have been honoured to work with Singakwenza. We’ve had our professional skills stretched and enjoyed learning from our complimentary practices as NGOs. Together we’ve learned about what has worked and not worked in piloting a brand new home visiting ECD programme. It’s been fascinating, frustrating, stretching and encouraging by turns, as with anything you attempt for the first time…..this is, of course, the way with all the BEST kind of learning!!!