Pioneering educational stay and play sessions, with home visits promoting health and parenting skills
The Trust provides educational stay and play sessions where parents can come to learn how to care and educate their children who are under 6, through play activities. These sessions are called Happy Faces due to all the help, resources and guidance from Claire Thomas (Happy Faces – Glinton).
I am the Mum of Tendai who is 5. There is a very big change in her since being at Happy Faces. She is now eating and drinking using proper utensils, she is now friendly with other children and knows some letters. Please continue to help us that we can know more from Happy Faces.Sarah
This work in Malawi is so important as rural children under 6 years of age are at a very vulnerable age, regarding their health and education.
Generally children are not stimulated educationally and spend most of their time with their peers and have virtually no focussed ‘one to one’ adult contact/input.
Each session has the following components;
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Communication, Language and Literacy
- Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World
- Physical Development
- Creative Development
Greater information on the learning criteria for early years can be found in the Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage: May 2008. Setting the Standards for Learning, Development and Care for children from birth to five.
The team also visit families in their homes as Rhodess explains;
‘The home visits are going on so well & our relationships are growing, as there is now an openness to talk to us about any issue. We have taught health lessons on topics they did not know about, such as prevention of diarrhoea, family planning & having balanced food at every meal if possible. The children and mums come from two different communities. Our hope is the Mums will really care for their children as they start to believe they are a special gift from God and need to be shown love.’
We are starting to see these 2 communities changing their attitudes to young children. We now have a waiting list to join the sessions, which has taken time to develop, as parents could not understand why we wanted them to stay for the sessions. They wanted to drop their children off, but in time they have come to understand that it is really them we are teaching, so they can educate their children.
Unfortunately rural culture tells the mums that because they are not educated, they are not good enough and have nothing of value to share with their own children. Our vision is to train the mums so they feel confident in who they are as a mother and its vital role. Ali ‘The mums now know a number of simple activities that can be done at home, so are teaching their own children. Even the local school is commenting on the difference in the children arriving from Happy Faces. The team have worked very hard to encourage and support the families.’
- Giving confidence to parents to impart knowledge
- Placing value on children as gifts from God
- Using local resources for play activities
- Home visits to develop trust and relationships
- Parents learning to ask questions and make informed parenting choices