World Children’s Day was recently celebrated on 20 November to commemorate the date when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We, at HOPE worldwide South Africa, believe that every child has the right to thrive and learn.

Extensive research shows that the first few years of a child’s life are the most critical in their development. This is a time of rapid brain development that determines the future of a child’s ability to thrive and learn. The research also shows that children learn best through play! 

As we enter the holiday season, many parents and other adults who care for children now have more quality time to spend with their children after a busy year fulfilling life’s many obligations. This is an opportunity to strengthen your bond with your child and promote their learning through the power of play by simply engaging in enjoyable, everyday activities together. We call this Responsive and Playful Parenting. Responsive parenting means parents are aware of their children’s emotional and physical needs and respond to them appropriately and consistently. This promotes the healthy development of your child in variety of different ways. Playful Parenting promotes learning which can be as simple as having fun by teaching your child colours while you do the laundry or running and skipping with them to keep their bodies healthy. It can also mean reading stories to your child, which teaches them vocabulary and communication skills, that will help them learn to read and write in primary school.  It can also mean teaching your child about different fruit and vegetables when you go shopping, helping them name their feelings as they happen, and playing games as well as drawing and colouring with them to improve their creativity and future writing. 

HOPE worldwide South Africa has developed a simple, but powerful programme that helps parents and caregivers caring for children from birth to six years old in their Responsive and Playful Parenting. The programme, called the Caregiver Learning Through Play (CLTP) programme, is being run by HOPE worldwide South Africa in partnership with Save the Children, Ntataise and the Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU). It is supported by the LEGO Foundation.

The CLTP programme offers parents and caregivers of young children useful tools, tips and ideas for learning through play. These ideas and tools often include local traditions and customs to make learning enjoyable and relevant and techniques you can use immediately. By enrolling in the CLTP training programme, you will also gain self-confidence, and better knowledge of different forms of play-based learning to assist your child or children to grow as healthy and strong as possible. It will give you skills to support them to have healthy bodies and brains, learn about themselves, express their emotions and develop their social skills. 

The programme also teaches practitioners and teachers who work in early childhood development (ECD) centres and programmes these skills. Focusing on interactive and fun ways to learn, the programme strengthens the bond between caregiver and child and supports the child’s overall well-being, promoting the best brain development for young children. 

There is a free downloadable toolkit of easy-to-follow tips and tricks that are meant to help caregivers and their children connect and learn at home through play. The course has an instant downloadable certificate of completion if you have worked all the way through the eight modules.  To complete a module will take approximately 30 minutes (including the entertaining activity you can implement with your child). We encourage you to improve your skills as a caregiver by registering for, and completing this free online course.

To download the toolkit or register for the online training course, visit: To access the face-to-face training, email:

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