Bitou 10 Foundation’s Journey with TIME Resources

We continue shining a spotlight on partners who adapt our programmes to meet their needs.
Before Covid-19, the Bitou 10 Foundation in Plettenberg Bay implemented the Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) for their tutoring programme but during Covid, the organisation decided to purchase TIME resources to provide much-needed intervention for children. Initially, schools struggled to involve parents.

Now, they provide TIME for selected Grade R and Grade 1 learners, specifically those who lack support at home. The tutors act as intermediaries between the school and parents, conducting parent sessions and sharing tips via WhatsApp.

Sooneela Naina from the foundation states, “What we found out was that the little ones are so bright. They engage with their parents and they become the teachers.” Read More



From one great programme to the next!

Lebone Centre in Makhanda used to run Wordworks’ Ready Steady Read Write but have now moved over to using the Wordworks TIME programme, expanding on the resources they provide the children. Lebone Centre is making use of the TIME programme for their tutoring.
Lebone Centre was already providing TIME materials for the Grade R classes at two schools. While they tutored selected Grade 1’s from these schools, they felt it was good for continuity since the children were already accustomed to the programme when they received it as part of their home programme in Gr R.
Adre De Jongh who works at Lebone says “The way TIME is set out- it’s straightforward and not a lot of training is needed. Volunteers, children and their parents enjoy working with the materials”
*The Wordworks TIME programme (Together in My Education) was developed with RED INK for parents, caregivers and tutors of children in Grade R and Grade 1 with fun, informal activities that can be used at home and in after-school programmes to build language and maths foundations. The programme has been rolled out to thousands of families in the Western Cape and Winelands.
To find out more about our TIME programme, visit the link below:



A day of celebration: Malmesbury ECD teachers graduate from Little Stars

It was a happy day filled with pride as Early Childhood Practitioners from Malmesbury received certificates for completing the Little Stars programme. The programme helps pre-Grade R teachers working with 4–5-year-olds strengthen language and literacy in their classrooms.
The walls proudly displayed learning materials created by the teachers during 8 sessions, now actively used in their classrooms.
Emmalina Smith from Wonderland Educare shared, “I’ve learned exciting ways to make storytelling fun, using resources like Puppets from Wordworks. I also know when and how to do these activities. I enjoy making my own classroom resources now, which I didn’t do before. My work has become easier because of this programme.”
The programme is supported by Sanlam Foundation, while Wordworks is responsible for training. The teachers are then supported by Wordworks’ Early Literacy Specialist through site visits, teach back sessions where the teachers are observed and supported where there are challenges.
What has been achieved through this programme is evident in the images below. Congratulations to all our Graduates!



The Million Words Trust Empowers Early Literacy in the Langeberg Through Wordworks Home School Programmes

In recent months, the The Million Words Trust has demonstrated its commitment to implementing Wordworks’ Home-School Partnerships and Every Word Counts programmes in the Langeberg. The programme offers practical strategies to support early language and literacy development in the critical years of early development.
Actively encouraging participation, the Million Words Trust urges mothers to attend the workshops with their children if necessary. The workshops often happen in an informal setting such as one of the participants’ stoeps. These sessions provide a friendly environment where children can bring their toys and engage in playtime, fostering a supportive atmosphere for mothers to explore the enriching content of the Wordworks Programmes.
The heartening scenes from these workshops, often set in an informal and nurturing environment, are depicted in the accompanying pictures below, supplied by The Million Words Trust.



*Think Equal programme in high spirits!

Our Think Equal partnering schools have been making the most out of the programme, and we have the pictures to prove it! Danie Ackerman, Delft North, and Hazeldene Primary Schools have spent time teaching their learners about growing into kind and understanding members of society.
The Grade R classroom at Danie Ackerman PS in Somerset West is filled with joyful, proactive learning as teachers make use of the resources and the learners participate in group activities.
Hazeldene PS has reached Lesson Three of week 18 of the programme! Learners learn about similarities, differences, and the importance of being kind. By listening to the story ‘The two birds and the baby swan’, they learn about turning strategies into practice.
At Delft North the lesson we captured was all about kindness! Learners are encouraged to not only show kindness to others, but to themselves as well. The ‘Kindness Garden’ activity encourages learners to show kindness in any way and place they can. Read More
*Think Equal is a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme, in partnership with Wordworks, is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:





More celebrations! Do More Foundation practitioners graduate from our Every Word Counts Programme

Recently, Wordworks celebrated the graduation of practitioners from the Do More Foundation, marking the culmination of 8 sessions held once a month since March of this year. The practitioners participated in Every Word Counts (EWC), a Wordworks programme consisting of 8 sessions per year, held monthly. The EWC programme provides practical ideas for supporting the development of early language and literacy, across two age bands: pregnancy to 3 years and 3–5 years.
During the initial two sessions, practitioners undergo training for the EWC programme. The rest of the sessions include ongoing support and mentoring to reinforce their skills. The graduation was a notable occasion. One practitioner proudly showcased resources she had personally crafted over the past 8 sessions. She demonstrated how she integrates these materials into her classroom, emphasising a significant shift in her approach. Previously, she didn’t allow children to interact with books and resources, but she now recognizes the positive impact of creating an engaging learning environment for children.
Faith Shabangu, Wordworks Early Literacy Specialist, was present at the graduation ceremony. She expressed that, “ECDs teachers are now capable and supported through the training we provided. If you thoroughly train practitioners in their specific context and provide sufficient support, they are empowered to respond effectively and offer valuable support in the classroom.”



HSP graduates celebrate more than themselves!

Dalubuhle, Groenberg, and Pelican Park Primary Schools held momentous graduations for their parents who committed to the Wordworks Home-School Partnership (HSP)* programme. Each group had individuals with unique skill sets but all attended the programme with the same goal in mind: to broaden their knowledge about how to support their children’s learning at home!
Dalubuhle Primary School had an impressive 13 graduates and they showed up to the event aware that they had achieved something great! In black graduation gowns, the graduates celebrated themselves and each other.
Pelican Park had 11 graduates with the attendance of Teacher-facilitators Nicole Davids, Judith DelCarme, and Mariam Samsodien. Appreciation for the facilitators was shown when they each received a bouquet of flowers! Pelican Park PS principal, Mrs Moonsamy, also attended the event.
Groenberg PS had a graduating class of all age groups, reminding us all that the HSP programme is fit for everybody! With a strong group of 8 graduates, Groenberg PS presented their graduates with their certificates on a day dedicated to celebrating their commitment to the programme.
* The HSP programme consists of 8 weekly sessions that give parents time to practise what they have learnt. The HSP programme creates a learning space for parents in which to share knowledge and ideas about children’s language and early literacy development, and then implement these ideas in a fun and informal way, at home.
If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit the link below:





Wordworks works towards inclusion for all in education

November is National Disability Awareness Month and we would like to remind you that inclusion needs to take place within every sector, including education. There are thousands of different disabilities out there, each one affecting an individual’s life in various and unique ways. With the theme of ‘Consolidate and Accelerate Rights of Persons with Disabilities into the Future’ for 2023, this month is all about making positive change right now in order for individuals with disabilities to live a better life in the future.
In order for children with disabilities to live a fulfilling life with equal opportunities, we need to ensure that the education system is designed to accommodate all sorts of disabilities. By doing this, we will not only be providing these children with equal opportunities, but we will also be creating inclusion and a place of understanding and safety for them.
Wordworks has embarked on a year of research and development to adapt the successful and well-received Grade R Home Language programme to suit learners with special education needs.
As technical partners with the Gauteng Department of Education, JET and official donors, we are working closely with the GDE and sector specialists on this project. The adaptations will include suitable changes and additions to activities, materials and resources, and will serve Grade R learners across four main special needs areas.



Wordworks’ ECD Team Triumphs in 2023 Support Visits!

In a whirlwind October, Wordworks’ Early Child Development (ECD) team wrapped up their 2023 Support Visits with success. The team navigated a month of intensive refresher training sessions and support visits in KZN, EC and recently concluded the series in their home province,Western Cape.
Focusing on the implementation of our Little Stars and Every Word Counts programmes, the team visited practitioners from Food4Thought and just recently the Do More Foundation. This hands-on experience provided invaluable insights into the challenges faced on the ground, celebrating successes and fostering reflective moments.
Sudika Martin, Wordworks’ Early Literacy Specialist, shared her reflections: “It was a beautiful experience, filled with learning opportunities. The practitioners’ reflections were heartwarming, reinforcing that our work is making a meaningful impact.”
Congratulations to the ECD team for their dedication and resilience. Your efforts resonate, and Wordworks is proud to continue making a difference in communities, one visit at a time!



Wordwork’s *AASA project takes off the ground!

Wordworks held its first *Anglo American South African (AASA) Education Programme teacher orientation workshop this past Saturday. The workshop was to introduce teachers to our Stellar programme, to the resources that will be provided to them and to prepare the teachers for the implementation. The programme ensures that children in mining communities experience well balanced, active, creative, and effective comprehensive Home Language and Mathematics learning.
Wordworks, with Red Ink, is running this project in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. It aims to improve the educational outcomes of learners in local mining communities of De Beers and Kumba in the Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape provinces.
Phase 2 of the programme is being implemented in three AASA business units, reaching 85 primary and high schools located in rural communities. It focuses on early learning, including Grade R, and utilises a Whole School Development model. Wordworks is the lead agent on the implementation of the Grade R component.



Think Equal makes trees exciting for children!

Paul Greyling Primary School has been running the Think Equal programme and today we want to share a Think Equal lesson on trees with you! Watch how this programme makes trees exciting for children through education. Teacher Hester Horn has been implementing and teaching the programme.
The lesson was amplified by moving from the classroom to taking place under a tree, demonstrating one of the many roles that trees play – providing shade! The children also learn about the importance of trees for the sustainability of the lives of insects and other animals such as birds.
*Think Equal is a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme, in partnership with Wordworks, is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below: 



Lights, Camera, Action! Stars shine in the classroom

The teachers, parents, and learners of Belvue Primary School were interviewed on their participation in the *Think Equal programme, and everybody was ready to shine! Leslee Udwin, director of Think Equal, commissioned the filming of 2 schools in the Western Cape to show the impact of Think Equal in the schools running the programme.
The interviews included Leslee Udwin, 2 teachers, 2 learners from Belvue PS, and Wordworks Early Literacy Specialist Faheema Hassiem. The interviews advocate for the programme which focuses on social and emotional learning and how young children benefit from this programme. The questions explored their experience of using the Think Equal programme, what they have enjoyed the most about the programme, and what they do to help them stay calm when they are feeling overwhelmed.
*Think Equal is a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme, in partnership with Wordworks, is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:



Our Home-School Partnerships (HSP) Teacher-facilitators have worked towards certification!

Each year, new Wordworks HSP teachers have to attend 7 online training (18 hrs in all). They then run 8 parent sessions after school hours (2 and half hours each). They then compile Portfolio of Evidence that Wordworks evaluates against planning, implementation, reflection, parent feedback, learner impact, and teacher growth as part of the portfolio criteria.
On 1 November, the teachers who qualify will attend the HSP online graduation ceremony and receive their HSP Teacher- facilitator certificate. This qualifies them to run the HSP course with parents. We are proud of these teachers who have put so much into the compilation of their portfolios!
About our award winning programme: The Home-School Partnerships programme is designed for Foundation Phase and Learning Support teachers to facilitate a space for parents in which to share knowledge and ideas about children’s language and early literacy development.



Celebrating Collaboration in the Literacy Sector: Yizani Sifunde (Come, let’s read!)

“In East London, a group of children are giggling their way through an isiXhosa book, being read to them by their ECD teacher. In Queenstown a “story sparker” is listening to a young boy retelling a story that he had been read, in his own words. These children and adults have all been part of the Yizani Sifunde (Come, let’s read) project – a special reading and early literacy intervention project.”



Strengthening Partnerships and Fostering Literacy: Wordworks Networks Refresher Trainings in KwaZulu-Natal

Wordworks embarked on a journey to KwaZulu-Natal to conduct a series of refresher training sessions and learning and support visits. The focus of these sessions revolved around the Little Stars and Every Word Counts programs, which had made a significant impact on early childhood literacy in the region.
The team was excited to renew its connections with dedicated partners, share insights, and explore new ways to enhance early childhood literacy in the region. As these refresher sessions unfolded, Wordworks reinforced its commitment to nurturing a culture of literacy and learning, ensuring that every child in KwaZulu-Natal had access to quality early childhood education.
The Refresher Training sessions served as vital touchpoints for Wordworks to re-engage with its partners and offer support in the ongoing implementation of their programs.
These collaborative efforts not only enhanced the partners’ expertise but also allowed for the exchange of best practices, ideas, and experiences. This two-way learning process contributed to the continued improvement and adaptation of the “Little Stars” and “Every Word Counts” programmes to the unique needs of KwaZulu-Natal’s early learning community.



Wordworks Early Literacy Festival held at Siyafuneka Primary School in Worcester

Here are some picture highlights from our Early Literacy Festival held at Siyafuneka PS in Worcester this weekend. We had fun and were inspired while sharing early literacy activities and stories with teachers, parents and young children to encourage families to play a stronger role in their young children’s learning.
We were beautifully entertained by the award winning Siyafuneka PS Choir and Gumboot dancers, and Drum Majorettes from Mooi-Uitsig in Ceres.
Thank you to Siyafuneka PS for generously hosting us. Also Diana Niemand (Foundation Phase Coordinator at WCED), Ms Hanelie Botwe (WCED Subject Advisor), and special guest speaker Babalwayashe Molate (Associate Lecturer in the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research at the University of the Western Cape) for their inspiring and educational presentations. Exciting storytelling from Rose Matshikiza & Unathi Mapongwana with Reading Champions from the Library sector wrapped up the day.
Our grateful thanks to these generous donors: BOS drinks, Food Lover’s Market, WB Outyds & Nuwerwets, Tandym Print and Mr and Mrs Moonsammy from Itemba for stationery.


Telling children stories repeatedly until they are familiar with them helps improve their memory and confidence as storytellers. When they can remember a story well and have gained the confidence to retell it, they can add their own sounds and expressions to it. This is one of the ways the Yizani Sifunde Literacy Project is moulding future storytellers.
Yizani Sifunde is a collaboration between Wordworks, Nal’ibali, Book Dash Book Dash, funded by Liberty Group SA

What a way to end a day of training!

We are just about halfway into a 5-day training stint with team members from the North who will be working on the Anglo American South African (AASA) Education Programme.
Wordworks, with Red Ink, is running this project in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. It aims to improve the educational outcomes of learners in local mining communities of De Beers and Kumba in the Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape provinces.
Enjoying the fresh sea air yesterday: (L-R) Norah Mobayi (Limpopo), Sindisisiwe Molefe- AASA Project Manager, Adell Lebaba (Rustenburg) Lucy Raludzwidzwo (Bochum), Cheryl Thomas Wordworks Educational Specialist and Nomfundo Mkhatshwa (Kuruman)



Fostering quality ECD in South Africa through the SARAECE Conference

Partnerships were forged, knowledge was shared, inspiration was kindled, and actions are being put into place.
In the quest to ensure quality early childhood development (ECD) in South Africa, collaboration and knowledge sharing are of utmost importance. The recently held “Quality Early Childhood Development in South Africa” conference, held in partnership with the South African Research Association for Early Childhood Education (SARAECE) and the College of Cape Town – Inspiring Minds, embodied this spirit of cooperation. With the theme “Connect, share, inspire, act”, this conference served as a space for ECD stakeholders to share and engage in ideas that will result in action.
At the heart of Wordworks’ participation in the conference was the sharing of our programmatic work. Wordworks’ Every Word Counts and TIME (Together in my Education) programmes have garnered the interest of organisations focused on parent development at the conference. The inclusion of board books in these programmes has been particularly well-received. These books serve as affordable resources that parents can use at home to enhance their child’s early literacy skills. The enthusiasm for such practical tools reflects the commitment of organisations and practitioners to empower parents in supporting their children’s development.
Our team says that meeting new people and NGO partners and sharing what we do is always a highlight; but the research presentations at the conference enables us to take what we have learned to further support the ECD sector, especially the ECD practitioners.






We’re here with another round of heart-warming Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme parent graduations. Today we want to show appreciation for Teacher-facilitators from Paarlzicht Primary, Parkview Primary, and Sonderend Primary Schools.
During this 8-week programme the parent participants are shown how to assist their children’s early literacy development at home with learning activities and educational games. These Teacher-facilitators voluntarily work after hours to work with interested parents.
Paarlzicht Primary School and Parkview Primary School both had a group of 9 participants who completed the HSP programme. They explored ideas of learning through play, and reading with their children during some of the sessions. Sonderend Primary School had 7 graduates. The determination that parents show to find ways to help their children learn is shown by one of the graduates who travelled with her 2 children every single week to attend the sessions.
If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit our website.



Harriet Gilbert’s inspirational journey with our Home-School Partnerships programme

In the face of adversity and unexpected challenges, individuals often discover their true passion and strength. Harriet Gilbert, a dedicated Grade R teacher at Saxonsea Primary School, is a shining example of someone who not only overcame obstacles but also found her calling in the field of education during the challenging year of 2020 when the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Passion for Child Development and Teaching
Before her current role as a Grade R teacher, Harriet had a background in Early Childhood Development (ECD). Her love for nurturing young minds and helping them grow was evident from the start of her career.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, Harriet, like many parents, faced the daunting task of ensuring her two boys received a quality education while staying safe at home. “During this time, I had to apply for home-schooling for my two boys due to safety precautions. I did not know where to start as my oldest son was in Grade 3 and my baby boy in Grade 1”, said Harriet. She was in dire need for the right resources and support to navigate the unfamiliar world of home-schooling.During this period, Harriet learned about the Wordworks’ Home-Schools Partnership (HSP) programme through an invitation from Saxonsea Primary School. The HSP programme aims to provide parents with the tools and guidance to support their children’s early learning. Through this programme, Harriet managed to gain valuable insights and teaching techniques that sparked her children’s love for spelling and reading.
A Transformative Experience
Witnessing the positive impact of the HSP programme on her children’s literacy, mathematics, and life skills, Harriet was determined to complete it. As the pandemic progressed, Harriet’s dedication and passion for teaching only grew stronger and it was during this period that she secured a contract position at Saxonsea Primary School in 2020.
Inspiring Others and Giving Back
Harriet’s journey didn’t stop there. Fuelled by her passion for child development and teaching, she decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in education. Her determination to share her experience with other parents and inspire them to equip themselves to change their children’s lives and their communities led her to become a facilitator of the HSP programme.
A message to other parents
Harriet is proud, not only of her personal achievements but also her ability to give back to her community and inspire others. Her journey has shown that with determination, resilience, and a passion for what you do, you can accomplish much. Her message to other parents is clear, “You can do anything if you are content in what you do. Don’t let circumstances get in your way of becoming who you are meant to be and, most important, always believe in yourself”.
Harriet Gilbert’s story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the unwavering spirit of individuals who choose to make a difference, no matter the challenges they face.





Belmor Primary celebrates HSP Graduation and community engagement

In a heartwarming and inspiring event, Belmor Primary School recently celebrated the graduation of their Wordworks Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme. This year, the school faced challenges in getting parents actively involved, but they found a unique and impactful solution by training their dedicated Teacher Assistants. These young and enthusiastic individuals are determined to make a positive difference in their community, which grapples daily with many challenges.
One interesting aspect of the group is the presence of the only male member, who adds diversity and a fresh perspective to the team. However, it’s not just his gender that sets him apart; it’s the shared commitment to transforming the lives of the students and the community at large.
The HSP programme at Belmor Primary School stands as an example of how a school can adapt and thrive in the face of challenges. By recognizing the potential in their teacher assistants and empowering them to become active contributors to the education and welfare of the students, the school has created a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond its walls.
Belmor Primary School is not just celebrating a graduation; they are celebrating a community united by a shared vision of a better tomorrow.





Our partnership is showing impact in the Eastern Cape!

#YizaniSifunde recently hosted the Yizani Sifunde (YS) Children Literacy Showcase at Queenstown Library, EC.
The lively event gave ECDs and YS reading clubs an opportunity to showcase the impact the project has had in improving children’s reading and storytelling skills.
Yizani Sifunde, a collaboration between Wordworks, Nal’ibali and Book Dash, funded by Liberty Group SA , is proof that through working together, literacy organisations can have a great impact in improving literacy levels in South Africa.



Wordworks’ First Early Literacy Festival – aimed at inspiring families to play a stronger role in their young children’s learning.

Wordworks’ First Early Literacy Festival – aimed at inspiring families to play a stronger role in their young children’s learning.
Instead of sharing how we feel about the Festival, we are sharing extracts from some WhatsApp messages sent to us by attendees after our event on Saturday at CHS Life Centre:
‘Your programme yesterday was very im
pressive, and the kids were overwhelmed with all the activities presented.”
‘It was a wonderful event, well planned out and informative.’
‘It was an awesome event and experience for our parents.’
‘I want to say to u thank you very much the function. It was very very amazing. we all liked it so much. Me and my child had today a good and happy day, really. The kids were singing and dancing.’
‘I have to thank u for an awesome time spent with all u lovely people. May God bless everyone for putting your best foot forward in education and having the children/community at heart.’
Over 300 people attended the event, and we could not have managed without with all the generous donations and support we received. Our grateful thanks to:
HCI Foundation Golden Arrow Bus Services BOS Food Lover’s Market Intellectual Risk Solutions, City of Cape Town Crowd Control, Tandym Print, Sumaya & Ederies Abrahams, Fairlands Retirement Village Knitting Club. Women of Hope, Kuils River Library Knitting Club, Dawn Smith, Andreshir Josias-Skei, Sian Whitten, Hawel Quinn, Shaun Hashe
Our partners in literacy development as exhibitors: Nal’ibali Read to Rise Mellon Educate Sikhula Sonke Early Childhood Development, Mikhulu Trust Funda Wande City Library and Information services.
Special speakers and performers: Dr Shelley O’Carroll, Dr Xolisa Guzula, Almaret du Toit, Xavier Januarie, Square Hill, Delta and Chumisa Primary Schools, Tracey Muir, and Blaq Pearl. Blaqpearl Foundation.
More pics from this exciting day will be shared tomorrow! Please check in again.




Nal’ibali Literacy Story Festival

Nal’ibali organized its first Literacy Story Festival and Wordworks was there to support. We were inspired by the children participating in the Poetry, Storytelling, Drama, Dance and Singing categories.
Wordworks had the opportunity to engage with parents about our programmes and we were able to distribute flyers to those who wanted to learn more about our work.


Day 1 of the annual Literacy Association of South Africa conference wrapped.

The theme is Literacy in Practice: Possibilities for Praxis. From 8-10 September at Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
Engaging. Connecting. Learning. Sharing.


Changing lanes with the Public Library Sector

Wordworks has shared our *TIME Home Learning programme at the Public Library Seminar being held over the two days in Cape Town this week.
The Seminar -Libraries Changing Lanes – is a groundbreaking event addressing the unprecedented challenges and changes faced by public libraries in recent years that have deeply affected the profession and services. This seminar (with wide-ranging participants and exhibitors) is providing an opportunity to reflect on the experience and to share best practices and innovative solutions to enhance the services provided and to remain relevant.
In this context, we are sharing our*TIME programme as a useful resource in library after-school programmes with young children or in their work with parents. We discussed practical applications of TIME in a public library setting, and participants received their own set of TIME materials.
We are thrilled that the participants found the workshop very valuable. They articulated how they could use the activities in a library setting, and felt that we have given them many ideas of what is possible. They loved the activities and the games. One librarian said that they would bring in the parents of the children and do the activities with them as well.
*Our TIME (Together in my Learning) Home Learning programme is a set of daily story-based language and maths activities that can be used in after-school programmes to build early literacy foundations in Grades R and 1. The activities are aligned to the CAPS curriculum and complement what is being taught in the classroom. TIME is for parents, caregivers and tutors.


Embracing Emotional Learning at school

One of the participating primary schools recently had a wonderful *Think Equal lesson that leaves what we hope will have a lasting impact on the learners.
The lesson was centred around the story “Passing Clouds”, and its powerful theme: “Feelings come and go, just be calm and let them pass.” The students delved into the story’s world, learning to understand the nature of emotions. One of the learners even shared their interpretation of the story, highlighting how the character’s tiger (referring to anger) is going to come out as a reaction to provocation by another character.
The teachers went above and beyond to ensure the lesson’s objectives were met. They skillfully guided the students through discussions, helping them grasp the essence of emotional resilience and self-awareness. To wrap up the lesson, the Mood Meter was brought into play, giving learners a tool to recognize and navigate their feelings.
*Think Equal is a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme, in partnership with Wordworks, is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:


False Bay Echo shines light on parents going the extra mile!

“Twenty-one parents whose children attend Kleinberg Primary School have completed an eight-week programme to help them support their children’s language and early literacy development.

Kleinberg Primary School principal Denzil van Graan said the parents had diligently attended weekly Saturday morning sessions of the Home School Partnership programme run by Wordworks and had graduated on Saturday August 12.

Wordworks is a non-profit organisation that focuses on early language and literacy development in the first eight years of children’s lives.”

Find out more by reading the article here.



Empowering early learning: Wordworks and Mainstream Renewable Power Collaborate in Loeriesfontein

Wordworks and Mainstream Renewable Power have united their efforts to create a positive impact on the community of Loeriesfontein. This partnership aims to equip ECD practitioners in Loeriesfontein with the essential tools and knowledge required for the successful implementation of Wordworks’  Every Word Counts and Little Stars early literacy programmes. 

The rural community of Lorriesfontein faces a significant challenge with very limited access and participation in Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes due to the financial constraints posed by social ills. Recognizing the crucial role of early education, the project has played a pivotal role in nurturing ECD champions. This effort began with a partnership with the Centre for Early Child Development and later extended to Wordworks. These emerging champions are now assuming roles within the local primary school system and are also actively involved in organizing free play groups for the community, implementing Wordworks’ Little Stars programme into their activities. The project’s impact lies in its capacity-building initiatives, empowering individuals to become advocates for early childhood development. This is what Wordworks Early Literacy Specialist, Sudika Martin had to say with regards to what the children are gaining from these activities, “When we revise new vocabulary from Little Stars stories during site visits, we see clear evidence that the children are benefiting substantially from the two-week cycle and that their vocabulary is growing.”

Visits to an ECD centre, a primary school, and a community playgroup that have been implementing Little Stars programme into their activities have allowed Wordworks to witness the positive impact it has on the beneficiaries – young learners.  Reflecting on these visits, Natasha Rosen, a Wordworks Early Literacy Specialist says, “The site visits gave me a clear understanding of how the programme is being incorporated into their activities and where I can offer more support to the practitioners.”

On completion of the programme, participants are honoured with a certificate of attendance, validating their commitment to enhancing early childhood development through this initiative.

By focusing on early literacy development and empowering ECD practitioners, this joint effort is paving the way for a brighter future for the children of Loeriesfontein.

Find out more about our Every Word Counts and Little Stars early literacy programmes, click here.





Have you seen Yizani Sifunde’s hanging libraries?

Attendees of *Yizani Sifunde’s training sessions (parents and ECD practitioners) that go on to start a reading club in the community receive a starter-pack of 25 books for each child attending their reading club, a hanging library (see pictures) and other useful training materials and support.
Yizani Sifunde’s vision is to provide communities in the Eastern Cape with high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) training, an abundance of books for the children and their families, and long lasting literacy practices for the community and family. The project is all about infusing the whole community with books, and this is one of the ways we do that.
NOTE: Free reading and story-sharing resources in different South African languages can be accessed on at zero data cost. More than 500 free Book Dash books in various languages can be read online at Wordworks’s Little Stars programme for pre-Grade R teachers, designed to strengthen language and emergent literacy in pre-Grade R classrooms, can be accessed here:
*Yizani Sifunde is a collaboration between Wordworks, Nal’ibali and Book Dash, funded by Liberty Group SA.



Home-School Partnerships continue to empower and celebrate Parents!

In a heartwarming display of dedication and growth, parents from Muhammadeyah and Irista Primary Schools and Clever Heads, recently celebrated their graduation from the Wordworks Home-School Partnership (HSP) programme. The graduation celebrations marked a significant milestone in their journey towards becoming more informed, engaged, and supportive parents. The achievements and success stories of these parents shine a spotlight on the power of perseverance, collaboration, and the transformative impact of educational initiatives such as our HSP programme.
Coming from different walks of life, these parents gather in their respective schools with one goal in mind – to learn how to assist their children’s early literacy development informally and at home with learning activities and educational games.
Speaking on the impact of the programme, Wordworks Early Literacy Specialist, Lavinia Davis says about Muhammadeyah: “ (It was) an awesome occasion. It was inspirational to see all levels of stakeholders at the Graduation….Trustee Board Chairperson, Principal, SGB Members and Foundation Phase Teachers.”
Among the significant factors of completing the programme, is the Teacher-facilitators’ unwavering commitment and support that plays a pivotal role in the programmes’ success. These parents’ journey stands as a testament to the importance of determination and the vital role of a supportive environment.
One parent stated, “At first, I felt overwhelmed with all the information, but HSP has given me so much knowledge. I am now more confident and capable of using this knowledge to be a super parent!”
As we celebrate these parent’s successes, let us also reflect on the broader significance of these achievements – the enhancement of parenting skills, the creation of a supportive network, and the collective commitment to nurturing a brighter future for our children. The graduation events not only mark an end to a programme, but the beginning of a lifelong journey of empowered parenting.
Visit the link below to find out more about our HSP programme:




Southern Mail features HSP graduation

“Proud parents at the Muhammadeyah Primary’s Home School Partnership graduation stood tall when they received their certificates on Saturday August 5. Caregivers, grandparents and guardians had attended a course facilitated by NPO Wordworks’ mentor Lavinia Davis. A few parents shared their experiences while doing the programme. Shameemah Holliday, said: “I noticed that I could relate to the other parents as we all had a common concern. Wordworks supplied us with educational material which was taught to us by the teachers and facilitator of Muhammadeyah. The classes taught me to have patience with my child as she’s not on my level. Also that positive calm communication is one of the key factors when interacting with our little ones.””


Wordworks mentors ECD practitioners in the Metro South Education District

These 21 pre Grade R practitioners from 14 ECD centres have monthly workshops where they engage in sharing best practices, addressing challenges and guiding each other through our Little Stars programme that they are implementing in their classrooms.
“The training is very informative. It brings more clarity and ideas on how to plan and teach the (Little Stars) stories to the children”
“Today was interactive and had useful practical ideas that will inspire class activities.”
Wordworks conducts a blended training model with these practitioners, combining an online course, with face-to-face sessions.
See more about our Little Stars programme here:


Wordworks participates in the WCED’s Broad Management and Leadership (BML) strategy planning

Team members, Colleen Diedericks and Paulene Solomon, were invited to join a panel of principals, teachers and other education partners at this event.
The aim was to get insights and perspectives from those working ‘in the trenches’. The panel was posed the following questions:
*What youth engagement strategies contribute to the improvement of the throughput rate?
*What opportunities in the current education system are explored and utilized to improve learning outcomes?
*What is the single idea you want to share with the WCED Top Management Team to direct their thinking?
Wordworks highlighted the importance of quality Grade R classroom programmes and parent engagement to lay solid foundations for early learning.


Who is Anonymouse?

The story of Anonymouse, enjoyed in Grade R classrooms rolling out the *Think Equal programme, encourages little ones to perform acts of kindness around the school and classroom. They also see how these small acts of kindness can inspire more.
*Think Equal is a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme, in partnership with Wordworks, is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:


A priceless competency: young children learning how to identify and manage their emotions.

“My son said he drew himself under a rainbow because he’s happy, and the people around him are sad because of the storms they carry around inside them. Apparently they grow up faster and understand more than we thought possible!” Mother of *Think Equal Grade R learner.
The schools running this programme share pictures of the programme in action.
*Think Equal is a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme, in partnership with Wordworks, is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:


Wordworks Team Building!

Four times a year, the Wordworks Team takes time from our busy programme work to relax and connect with each other in a fun way.
Last week, some friendly rivalry spiced up our interactions at Hint Hunt at the Waterfront! We came away physically tired, but with lifted spirits, and ready for the next set of challenges.


After School Programmes (ASPs) offered by early literacy organisations.

Read The Learning Trust‘s latest learning brief that explores literacy in the After School sector.
Wordworks, Shine Literacy, Nal’ibali and Funda Wande’s After School Programmes are featured in this article, showcasing resources that emerging ASPs can integrate into their programmes.
Read the article here:
Find out more about the Wordworks TIME programme here: available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.


Teachers step up for Grade R Academy Training

38 Grade R  teachers and assistants from AZ Berman, Welwitschia, Vuyani, Gardenia and Belhar primary schools are part of Social Innovations Grade R academy after school programme run by Social Innovations. Wordworks is presenting early literacy training for these schools. Earlier in the year, participants were trained on our TIME Home Learning Programme which they use in their after-school programmes.

Our recent, lively follow- up session focused on the importance of supporting young children’s oral language, phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge, emergent reading and writing skills and partnering with parents in order to develop strong early literacy foundations.

Wordworks’ mentors will continue to visit the Academies to support teachers and assistants in the implementation of the TIME Programme.

Faheema Hassiem presented information on our TIME programme. Participants looked for good moments in a TIME Read Aloud story that can prompt open-ended  questions.

To find out more about our TIME programme, visit the link below:



Wordworks and other special guests were  invited to address teachers at a Methodist Church of Southern Africa seminar*. We presented on the topic of laying the foundation for literacy in the early years.The seminar was attended by more than 50 teachers from both primary and high schools. We spoke about the essential role played by both the school and the home in building literacy skills.

The teachers were excited to understand the teaching and learning processes to ensure that learners acquire the foundational skills to become confident and competent readers and writers. 

The teachers could identify these struggles in their learners. They expressed that most of the children have gaps in their learning because they lack a foundation in early literacy. Wordworks presenters, Bukelwa Yuze, Gaynor Cozens and Colleen Diedericks enjoyed sharing our work with the passionate teachers.


Western Cape Education Department director, Berenice Daniels spoke on iInclusive and specialised education support. She mediated the CAPACITAR toolkit which provides teachers with tools for their wellbeing. Teachers enjoyed the practical exercises for themselves and their learners to relieve stress and the challenges of life.

Rodney Van Staden, a teacher from the Athlone School for the blind, informed the audience as to the challenges in education that blind people face and the efforts to overcome them. He showcased his musical talent as a gateway he uses in his teaching.

Florence Vermeulen, a passionate teacher from Luckhoff Secondary school, demonstrated tools and skills he uses in his classroom which motivates and uplifts his learners. He had everyone energised with his uplifting teaching tips.

*Planned by the Education Desk of the Methodist church of Southern Africa. 

Click here to find out more about our programmes



Wordworks supports ECD practitioners in Malmesbury…continued

Wordworks is currently implementing our Little Stars programme to improve the practical implementation of early learning programmes in Malmesbury, Western Cape.
Our training will help early childhood development (ECD) practitioners effectively implement our Little Stars programme in ECD centres.
We recently (5th July) had our fourth training session with the Practitioners where we focused on noticing print and encouraging emergent reading. The practitioners engaged in making board books that will be added to their reading corners.
During our second visit to the ECD centres, the facilitators demonstrated a few of the Little Stars activities in the classroom. This was to provide further implementation support to the practitioners and it gave them an opportunity to ask questions relating to implementation challenges and also sharing new ideas and best practices.
Pictures: Wordworks’ Sudika Martin demonstrated telling a story using sequence pictures (Badisa, Malmesbury).
*This project is made possible by the support of the Sanlam Foundation.
If you are interested to know more about our Little Stars programme, please visit the link below:


Wordworks celebrates Nelson Mandela Day 2023 

The 18th of July,  on Nelson Mandela Day, the Wordworks family spent the day putting together gifts that will be given to boys and girls at our Early Literacy festival on the 26th of August in Worcester and on the 16th of September in Cape Town. The gifts include books for ages 0-5 and 5-8 as well early literacy development resources.

Wordworks director, Mammuso Makhanya shares what Nelson Mandela day means to her and the organisation:

“The 18th of July is so special here at Wordworks, like it is every year as we remember our founding father Nelson Mandela. He has taught us to do our best, to give to others without expecting anything in return. He said there can be no greater gift than giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return. This is a Motto that we hope to uphold and do our best every year to honour Nelson Mandela, and today our team excitedly gave of their time and effort into doing our bit to contribute to the legacy of Nelson Mandela. We had fun putting together crafts that help improve early literacy development, which really honours our mission, ensuring that we’ll be able to change lives through early literacy. This continues not just on the 18th of July, but every single day. As Wordworks we believe that we need to honour Mandela by what we do, what we give and how we learn.”


Wordworks and Yizani Sifunde partnership featured in GO!&Express 

“Yizani Sifunde (isiXhosa for ‘come, let’s read’) is a special reading-intervention project involving three prominent SA literacy NGOs — Book Dash, Nal’ibali and Wordworks — and made possible by the Liberty Community Trust. The project is aimed at early childhood development (ECD) and since its inception in 2021, has provided more than 3,000 young children from communities in East London, Elliot and Komani with high-quality storybooks in their home language, isiXhosa.”

Read the full article here.



We’re back with another round of inspiring Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme graduations. Today the spotlight is on Forest Heights Primary School, Fairview Primary School  and Saxonsea Primary School. During this programme the participants gain knowledge about how to assist their children’s early literacy development at home with learning activities and educational games.


A group of 23 participants completed the HSP programme at Forest Heights Primary School. They explored ideas of learning through play, and reading with their children during some of the sessions. 23 parent graduates posed with their Teacher-facilitators and Forest Heights Primary School Principal. Learning resources that were made by the participants were put on display. These can be used at home to assist their children in their early literacy development. 


The  9 HSP graduates of Fairview Primary School were welcomed  and celebrated by having their hard work on display during the graduation.  The 9 graduates posed with their graduation certificates and Little Books. The participants had their folders and learning resources  on display. HSP Facilitator Berenice Smith, shared information about what the participants learnt in the sessions. Fairview Primary School’s Deputy Principal Mrs. Patti Harris, spoke to the graduates and congratulated them.  One parent said she was so inspired by the HSP Programme that she is determined to go into ECD. 


Saxonsea graduates showed up ready for the celebration in fancy dress and graduation gowns!  The parents shared their ideas on how they would like to play a role and uplift their community. The MC of the day also completed the training this year. He said what surprised him was the fact that the presenters’ technology knowledge was astounding.

If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit our website.



The ex Breede River Winelands Rotary Club braving the cold in the name of changing lives through literacy!

Wordworks enjoys success we’ve been able to achieve via the implementation of our programmes by our partners and our network at large. There is, however, nothing that makes our work more worth it to us than seeing our partners or those who benefit from our programmes taking ownership in the true sense of the word.
Today, we would like to shine a spotlight to the long time implementers of our Every Word Counts Programme (EWC), The ex Breede River Winelands Rotary Club in the Winelands.
No amount of June rain or floods could stop the Club from delivering the EWC programme to parents and caregivers of Bonievale, the Station, Mountain View, and Uitsig communities.
What was more encouraging to us was how the facilitators explored other ways to use our materials beyond what they were initially intended for.
In the photograph, we see one the groups engaging with a colouring activity using a fish picture. The team repurposed the picture to make it a puzzle resource where parents and children can engage their children in addition to the original colouring activity.
Original, simple, fun, accessible and relatable – this is what we strive to achieve and communicate through our programmes and resources, and we could not be more proud of The ex Breede River Winelands Rotary Club for understanding the assignment!


Dr. Shelley O’ Carroll wins the Early Literacy award

In 2021, Wordworks and Literacy Association of South Africa (LITASA) established the Shelley O’Carroll Early Literacy Award to honour Dr Shelley O’Carroll’s pioneering contribution to the field of early literacy. The award is presented annually at the LITASA conference.
We warmly welcome everyone in the literacy community to nominate worthy candidates. Nominations can be made via this nomination form. The deadline for nominations is 24 July 2023.
Nominate a candidate that you think meets the criteria, using this form:


Wordworks shares early literacy materials with Grade R teachers

Wordworks was provided the opportunity of displaying our early literacy classroom and parent support materials at the WCED CAPS training for novice Grade R teachers at Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI).
The Grade R teachers use the Wordworks Stellar Programme (ELIT) to teach Language in their classrooms. The teachers were excited about the revision of the Stellar materials which now includes 19 story-cycles.
We also displayed our pre-grade R Little Stars Programme language material currently being used in many ECD centres and pre-Grade R classes to teach language and literacy.
The teachers were keen to know more about the Wordworks Programmes TIME (Together in My Education) and HSP (Home School Partnerships). These programmes engage and provide guidance to parents to support their children’s learning.
You can find out more about our programmes here:


How our Little Stars programme is used in the classroom

The Wordworks Little Stars programme aims to equip ECD practitioners responsible for pre-Grade R classes with exciting and fun story-based learning materials. They receive six teacher guides mapped to the six Early Learning and Development Areas (ELDAs) of the National Curriculum Framework. Each teacher guide offers three stories with attractive classroom resources AND lesson plans for two weeks’ teaching, linked to each story.
Teacher training builds on the foundations of our Every Word Counts Programme, offering teachers the opportunity to implement the programme in a cycle of preparation, teaching and reflection that builds their confidence and develops their expertise. Resources are produced in three bilingual versions: isiXhosa/English, Afrikaans/English and isiZulu/English.
In the image, you will see a demonstration by our partner organisation, Impande South Africa on how our Little Stars Programme is implemented in the classroom.


Make your own learning resources!

Wordworks partner, Lulamaphiko in KwaZulu-Natal, uses our “Make your own” booklet to capacitate ECD practitioners on how to make their own early learning resources, to be used with children in the classroom.
This group of 20 practitioners from 20 ECD centres in Mbazwana was trained on our Every Word Counts (EWC) programme for 0-3 years. They attended all 5 sessions and tasked to make their own items using the booklet. They created these beautiful baskets themselves and shared them in the workshop.
They will be implementing the information and the ideas that they got from the workshop in their ECDs.
You can purchase the “Make your own” booklet here:, along with other Wordworks resources.
There are also many ideas for making your own Play and Learn resources on our website here:


TIME home visits are in full swing.

The Wordworks TIME programme (Together in My Education) was developed with RED INK for parents, caregivers and tutors of children in Grade R and Grade 1 with fun, informal activities that can be used at home and in after-school programmes to build language and maths foundations. The programme has been rolled out to thousands of families in the Western Cape and Winelands.
We want to find out how the programme is working in homes.
Due to TIME being a “low-touch high-scale” programme, Wordworks is not in direct contact with TIME families. So at the beginning of 2022 we have introduced a “TIME Study” that tracks the progress with a selected number of families over a two year period.
In 2022, our 6 field workers sampled 36 families with Grade R children and had two interviews with them: one at school (March), and a second one at home (August). In 2023 most of the children have progressed to Grade 1 and our follow up visits are currently taking place.
During our visits to families we interview the caregiver, and where possible, we ask the caregiver and child to demonstrate how they do a TIME activity. Other strands of the research study include engagements with the teachers, as well as periodic assessments of the children’s literacy and numeracy achievements.


Three schools hold celebratory graduations

We are delighted to share our latest Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme graduates with you. We want to celebrate the hard work of 3 schools: Capricorn, Silversands, and Helderberg Primary. During this programme the teachers shared knowledge with parents about children’s development in early literacy and numeracy so that they are able to assist their child/ren at home in these important aspects.
A group of 20 participants completed the HSP programme at Capricorn Primary School. Teacher-facilitators said that the participants were determined to make a difference in the lives of their children and children in the community.
The HSP graduates of Helderberg were welcomed by a red carpet and refreshments that the staff of Helderberg put together. Helderberg principal, Ms Hendricks and HSP coordinator, Ms Allistacia Dollie joined the graduation. Graduates received their certificates and a little book. The school donated gift packs which included another book. A grandmother who graduated said that what children learn now is completely different to what she had learnt during school. The sessions have helped her learn new ways to help her grandson at home.
Silversands Primary School graduates were joined by their principal and Wordworks Teacher-facilitator.
Parent: “This Programme taught me to have more patience with my children…we play and have conversations, we have routines now to do activities at home and we are bonding now”
If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit our website.



Wordworks supports ECD practitioners in Malmesbury

Wordworks is currently implementing our Little Stars programme to improve the practical implementation of early learning programmes in Malmesbury, Western Cape.
Our training will help early childhood development (ECD) practitioners effectively implement our Little Stars programme in ECD centres.
Wordworks has facilitated 3 training sessions thus far with 5 ECD centres: Wonderland Kleutersskool, Badisa Carney’s ECD, Esterhof Kleuterskool, Masakane Dagsorg, and Bambino’s Creche.
We were happy for the inspiration we were able to share. Some practitioner reflections:
“The instructors presented the class well and the fact that they are going to be holding hands with us during the learning process makes me feel motivated. I have learnt a lot and feel inspired”
“Sometimes, one feels like giving up on your dream(s) because of certain issues one experiences in one’s career… But then you attend a workshop such as this one which uplifts you again and gives you a different perspective on life. Then you realise that you have a purpose in a child’s life”
The Wordworks ECD trainers visited each of the participating centres to offer further support where needed.
During our first visit, we looked at our Little Stars programme resources that they received in the training workshops. We also looked at resources which they already had, that support literacy development in the classroom: reading books, posters and charts with songs and rhymes, and writing apparatus that encourages drawing.
This project is made possible by the support of the Sanlam Foundation.
If you are interested to know more about our Little Stars programme, please visit the link below:



Catching up with our Social Innovations Grade R academies.

We are almost at the end of Term 2 and Wordworks could not be more proud of what has been achieved by one of our TIME after-school implementing partners, Social Innovations.
Social Innovations runs Grade R Academies in 5 schools: AZ Berman, Belhar, Welwitschia, Gardenia and Vuyani Primary Schools. Teachers and their assistants are equipped to use the TIME programme in this after-school programme. For three days a week, there is an hour dedicated to TIME focused activities: Story time, Drawing and Writing, Looking and Listening, Games and Shapes, letters and numbers. Teachers and assistants are also encouraged to send Guides home to parents and the learner books or at least some of these activities. 
If you are interested in our TIME programme, please visit the link below:
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:



This year, Wordworks is partnering with Think Equal – a story-based global programme that teaches 25 vital social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three to six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The programme is being taught by Grade R teachers in selected schools in the Western Cape.
These heartwarming photographs show some of what the learners have been up to, and what the programme has been teaching them! Equality, understanding emotions, and so much more.
If you would like to know more about Think Equal and its global partnerships, please visit the link below:


Yizani Sifunde collaborates with ECD centres, parents, and communities to tackle literacy challenges facing various communities in the Eastern Cape. 

This June, Yizani Sifunde will provide communities in the East London and Komani areas with high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) training, children’s story books and tools to start a reading club. Read more about Yizani Sifunde’s community training here…/literacy-project-joins-hands…
Yizani Sifunde is a collaboration between Nal’ibali, Book Dash and Wordworks, funded by the Liberty Group SA.


Wordworks and Do More Foundation bring practical workshops to Worcester.

Wordworks (WW), Do More Foundation, and The Learning Initiative (TLI) are working together to improve practical implementation of early learning programmes in Worcester. The parties are collaborating to provide an ECD training programme in Worcester focused on early literacy and numeracy development. This will help ECD practitioners effectively implement the Wordworks’ Every Word Counts programme in ECD centres.
Wordworks has facilitated 3 engaging, hands-on and practical workshops and will continue for the remainder of the year with monthly workshops. This will include 30 ECD practitioners working with the Every Word Counts materials. The ECD practitioners are equipped with the necessary skills to build language-rich, interactive learning environments in the classroom. The training sessions were attended by 5 support professionals from The learning Initiative (TLI) and 2 developmental practitioners from LIMA Rural Development.
Wordworks is proud of being part of this initiative, especially in a time where our country is in a great need of quality interventions that can address the challenges faced by our early learning landscape.


Three beautiful HSP graduations

May has been a month of graduations for our Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme. During this programme parents are upskilled in Literacy and Numeracy skills to assist their child/ren at home in these important aspects.
10 Hillwood parents graduated from the HSP programme. The Guest speakers included the Deputy Principal, Mr Klein, the Foundation Phase Head, Mrs Botha, a parent and also the Wordworks Representative, Lavinia Davis.
One of the parents thanked the teachers and facilitators, “ I am a capable parent now…I can help my child, we as parents know how to connect with our children now…Thank you teachers”
The Heideveld graduation had a total of 9 graduates, The Principal, Mr Desai, thanked the parents for the effort they made and also emphasised that they should share the knowledge they gained during the weekly sessions with family, community and friends.
Square Hill had 11 graduates complete the HSP programme. Wordworks mentor, Mrs Gaynor Cozens, congratulated the parents on their achievement, as this was their special moment. She thanked the teacher-facilitators for their hard work and efforts in making the programme a success.
If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit the link below:



The Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA) and the National Association of Social Change Entities in Education (NASCEE) are hosting a “Collaboration in Philanthropy” workshop where funders and NPOS are converging to share lessons, successes and how to collaborate meaningfully.
Seen here are participating leaders from Wordworks, Nal’bali, The Learning Trust, and Zenex.

Floreat Primary School graduation

The month of May started off with a bang for Floreat Primary School as 22 parents graduated from the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme. The programme was facilitated by a team of Floreat Primary teachers at the school. The guest speakers at the graduation included a Wordworks Early Literacy specialist, Ntsiki Ntusikazi, The principal Mr. Isaac, one teacher facilitator and a parent.
One parent shared how they felt about the programme, “This programme has helped us to interact productively with our kids. It is saving our kids from gangsterism and many terrible things happening in our communities because we sit with them and not for school work only but for conversation as well.”
If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit the link below:

Sid G Primary School parents graduate in the Home-School Partnership programme

The parents of Sid G Primary School flocked in numbers this past weekend to celebrate their completion of the Wordworks’ 8 week Home School Partnership Programme (HSP).
Parents were welcomed into a venue full of displays and artwork which showcased the work that had been put in and achieved in the past 8 weeks.
The programme’s purpose is to empower parents and caregivers of children in Grade R and Grade 1 with activities that can assist them in being better support structures to their children’s learning journey in a fun informal way. With the support of the school, the participants attended the workshop once a week over 8 weeks where they were trained by Teacher Facilitators on fun ways they can engage their children in a way that helps the child make good progress with school work.Read More The Sid G Rule PS continues creating a space and providing support to the participating parents. The school has been participating in the Home School Partnership for a number of years now and each year produces parents who speak volumes about the kind of impact the programme has had, not only on their children but on themselves too.
A parent that works as a cook at a creche in the area says her attitude and manner towards the children has changed positively. She even pops into the classes and gives the newer teachers on what she has learnt on this course.
One by one, parents took to the front to receive their well-deserved certificates. A joyous and encouraging Saturday morning well spent, honouring these brave teachers and parents who are determined to make a difference in themselves, community and most importantly, our future leaders.
Find out more about our HSP programme by clicking on the link below:

“Teach back” approach training with Nal’ibali’s Story Sparkers and Literacy Mentors (LM). 

Wordworks recently conducted a 2 day”teach back” approach training with Nal’ibali’s Story Sparkers and Literacy Mentors (LM).
Nal’ibali has been piloting the use of the Wordworks’ Every Word Counts (EWC) programme resources and materials in 2 of their community based projects: Lesedi Solar Park in Northern Cape and Letsatsi Solar Park based in the Free State.
Below are some of the visuals taken from training.
To find out more about our EWC programme, please visit the link below:

Chumisa Primary School graduation 

Chumisa Primary School showed how proud they were of their Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme graduates with their principal, vice principal and HOD (head of department) attending the event. The graduates successfully completed 8 sessions with Teacher-facilitators to learn how to support their children’s learning informally at home.
The school had 9 HSP programme graduates who were accompanied and guided by 5 Teacher-facilitators and 2 Teacher-facilitators in-training.
A graduating grandmother shared how the programme helped her, “Affirming and positive words to children, good talking time, reading to children can improve language, playing with children develop small and big muscles.”
If you are interested in our HSP programme, please visit the link below:

Grade R intervention in the AASA Education Project

Wordworks is excited to be part of the Grade R intervention in the AASA Education Project (see the implementing partners listed in the post below).
Grade R is such an important bridge between ECD and Grade 1, and we are looking forward to making an impact in this intervention with our new partners!

Who is Mammuso Makhanya?

Who is Mammuso Makhanya?
An insightful and engaging interview with Wordworks director, Mammuso Makhanya, featured in Hashtag Nonprofit.

Happy families and teachers at Tuscany Glen Primary School!

Featured today is a wonderful graduation ceremony for 10 parents and caregivers that took part in Wordworks’ HSP (Home-school Partnerships) programme at Tuscany Glen Primary School. The graduates successfully completed 8 sessions with Teacher-facilitators to learn how to support their children’s learning informally at home.

Tuscany Glen principal Carol Ritchie, 6 Teacher-facilitators, and family members of the graduates all celebrated together.

The graduates gave heart-warming testimonies, sharing the journey of their growth during the course.They also shared how they used the learning materials they had made for the development of their children’s literacy. A beautiful family moment called “Interact with your child” completed the ceremony.


Home-School Partnerships Programme gets featured in the Southern Mail!

Square Hill Primary School’s Home-School Partnerships Programme graduation was such an exquisite event that newspaper, Southern Mail featured it as one of their stories!

“The caregivers and parents worked with teacher-facilitators to help their children learn at home through fun interactive activities to improve their literacy. The graduation took place on Saturday May 20 and parents are encouraged to take part to bolster foundation phase learning and to support informal learning at home.”

Read the full article here.

Wordworks’ Stellar Programme thriving in Zimbabwe

Our longtime partner, Jo Labouchere has been implementing the *Stellar programme in Zimbabwe for 12 years, with her latest contribution being at the Jabulani Reading Centre where she’s been implementing the programme since last October. The Children in the Wilderness organization (CITW) founded the centre with her.

CITW’s main aim is to improve the literacy levels of both the school children from the Jabulani community, as well as that of the older adults who were never given the opportunity to go to school when they were younger.  

The Stellar impact at the Centre

Speaking about the impact of the Stellar programme at the centre, 21 year old Jennifer Tafuma (one of the mentors at the centre) says, “There has been a gradual change in children’s performance in terms of reading and writing.Read More

The REP shines light on the Yizani Sifunde project

Yizani Sifunde is a collaboration between Nal’ibali, Book Dash and Wordworks, funded by the Liberty Group SA. The project aims to increase the amount of books available to children as well as to grow their early literacy. 

Newspaper, The REP featured Yizani Sifunde on their website. 

Read the story here.

Children learning how to become compassionate, confident and resilient members of society.

196 Schools, 606 teachers and approximately 18 000 Grade R learners in the Western Cape will be impacted by our ground-breaking partnership with Think Equal – a story-based international programme that teaches 25 social and emotional learning skills and competencies to children aged 3 – 6 years old. These include self confidence, self esteem, kindness, empathy, resilience, inclusion, and many more.

Over the last few weeks, we trained teachers from the Cape Metro South, East and North Education Districts on how to run this Programme in their classes.

Prior to this, we also held online sessions to provide Foundation Phase Department heads with the Programme overview and to offer support for implementation at their schools.

Read more about Think Equal here:

Early literacy in the spotlight

“Concerns have been raised by early childhood organisations regarding the development of children who are six and younger.”

Innovation Edge has launched a campaign to find and fund products or services that aim to improve pre-school teachers’ support of early literacy development for 4- to 6-year-olds in South Africa’s impoverished communities.

Read more about what Wordworks, the Centre for Early Childhood Development, and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) have to say in response to early childhood challenges in South Africa. 

To read the full article, please click on the link below:

This year’s story sparkers are on fire!


In February, a team of 12 freshly recruited Story Sparkers were trained on how to implement the Yizani Sifunde project in the Eastern Cape. The project aims at strengthening early literacy development in the early childhood development (ECD) sector.


1.Over the next 10 months, they will be engaging in communities around East London and Queenstown, running weekly storytime sessions in ECD centres allocated to them. Read More

Local makes it big!

Square Hill Primary School held a certification event on the 21st of May for parents and caregivers that completed the Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme! The celebration was filled with enthusiasm and pride, but what boosted this feeling was a feature in the Southern Mail newspaper!

The article shines light on the amazing work that this school did with the Wordworks HSP programme. 

To read the full article, click here.

An exciting and groundbreaking partnership!

Wordworks has partnered with Think Equal – a story-based global programme that teaches 25 social and emotional learning skills and competencies to help children aged three-six through their early childhood education to increase positive life outcomes. The project will support Grade R teachers in the Western Cape.
The launch of this partnership took place this month at Monte Vista Primary school with 262 attendees including Western Cape Education Department (WCED) head office, district teams, school management teams and Grade R teachers..
Wordworks director, Mammuso Makhanya delivered the welcome. Almaret Du Toit, WCED Chief Education Specialist, highlighted the WCED partnership with Wordworks and emphasised the importance of this programme with its roots in mental health and social justice.
Leslee Udwin, founder and Executive chair, explained the origins of Think Equal highlighting their mission of achieving a global system change in ECD through social and emotional learning. Sasha Lawless, Think Equal’s global programme coordinator, unpacked the elements of the programme. The Wordworks team presented the steps for implementation in the Western Cape and our role in supporting the Grade R teachers.Read More
Colleen Diedericks, Wordworks’ programme manager says, “As Wordworks, we are excited about training over 600 teachers on the story-based Think Equal Programme which will teach learners skills which include self confidence, self esteem, kindness, empathy, resilience, inclusion, and many more.”
The programme will be delivered across 3 education districts in the Western Cape- metro North, metro South and metro East.
196 schools, 606 Grade R classrooms, and 18 000 children will be reached this year. The aim is to increase these numbers each year.
Teachers will be provided with resources of narrative picture books, activities and lesson plans.
Find out more:

Education Day: dedicated NGOs need help creating a bright literacy future for SA

A total of 78% of Grade 3 pupils can’t read for meaning, while more than 30% are illiterate. These are damning statistics – especially since R351 billion was spent on education in 2018.

Fortunately, on International Education Day, it’s heartening to know there are several NGOs and non-profit companies – which need constant public support, monetary and otherwise – that are on a mission to end the illiteracy epidemic in South Africa.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Wordworks conducts ECD study in partnership with British Academy and Stellenbosch University

Wordworks’ Little Stars story-based language programme has been used in training for Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners in the Western Cape. 

The training process and results have been developed into a study, in partnership with the British Academy and Stellenbosch University. 


The study aims to strengthen language and literacy teaching in pre-Grade R through training ECD practitioners on a story-based language programme. It will assess the impact of the resource-based training on practitioners’ knowledge and practice, as well as on children’s language and early literacy skills. 


Mother-tongue early language and literacy training empowers children and parents

“Following an eight week literacy training programme which commenced in August this year, twenty Loeriesfontein parents proudly graduated. This is a massive boost for literacy in this rural Northern Cape town as it not only builds confidence amongst parents but will have a direct impact on foundation learning, as literacy is a key driver for both language and mathematics.”

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Graduation pride at De Doorns Primary for Grade R learners!

Ntsiki Ntusikazi, one of our Early Literacy Specialists gives us insight into the graduation, “Learners and parents were over the moon on this special day. During the year, it has been good to witness the amazing confidence of the Grade R TIME longitudinal study parents, in supporting their children’s learning at home. They kept on updating WW by consistently sending videos working with their children.

Wordworks is conducting a 2-year longitudinal study with 37 children and 67 parent/caregivers using our TIME (Together in my Education) programme at home. 4 of the 37 children that are a part of the study attend De Doorns Primary.

Wordworks was invited to address the group, and we used the opportunity to talk to the plus minus 120 parents who attended the graduation. Bukelwa spoke to parents about the importance of supporting children’s education at home and told them about our programmes that help parents to support children’s learning at home.

See more about the TIME and Home-School Partnerships programmes here:

Developing kids’ language

“We teach children from Grade R through to Grade 3. By focusing on the younger grades we hope to eradicate problems that might arise later on. A child cannot successfully complete their school career unless they are first able to read and write,” says Tina Harcourt-Wood, the Wordworks facilitator at Capricorn Primary School.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Little Stars zones in on Western Cape Districts 

Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners have graduated in the Little Stars Programme. Little Stars has been developed by Wordworks for language and literacy learning in pre-Grade R using a story-based language approach. Since the start of implementation in two Western Cape Districts in February 2022, Wordworks has  conducted training sessions, classroom observations for implementation support, Interviews with ECD practitioners, principals and district officials.

The funding for this project is through the Old Mutual Foundation to run the Little Stars Pilot projects in two Western Cape Education Department (WCED) districts. Through the project implementation Wordworks will assess the impact of the resource-based training on practitioners’ knowledge and practice as one practitioner shares, “I am feeling much more positive in myself when I need to tell the story to my group. Then what I did before I attended the little star group.” Wordworks has also used the project to assess children’s language and early literacy skills with the help of the practitioner’s feedback, “every day you learn something new about the program and it helps us with the children’s language development.”Read More

Reading Begins at Home

‘Children who learn to read and write successfully don’t only have good teachers at school, they also tend to be those who have benefited from critical early learning experiences from birth to five years…Research has shown that skilled reading and writing depends on oral language abilities that begin developing from the earliest days in a child’s life. Through nurturing relationships, critical brain connections are made that support a child’s language development from birth.’ – Shelley O’Carroll

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Ready, Steady…action!

Our Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) team held a celebratory graduation ceremony yesterday for all the new RSRW Programme coordinators. The event took place live on YouTube, and backstage, the cameras and the excitement  were rolling! The event also applauded coordinators that have been working with the RSRW programme for five or more years! Wordworks’ RSRW Programme manager, Paulene Solomon elaborates on what this accomplishment means: “Participants who complete Coordinator training are equipped to train tutors to work with Grade R and Grade 1 children using the RSRW Programme, to set up and manage a RSRW site and to administer early literacy assessments.”

Wordworks director, Mammuso Makhanya sent a few words that were shared with the audience, “Congratulations on successfully attaining this important milestone. As Wordworks we are highly blessed to add another cohort of graduates into our reach.”Kerry Saadien-Raad says that practitioners are “the ones that keep the spirit of the programme alive and through doing this touch each of the children you work with.” RSRW coordinator graduates were encouraged to send in pictures of their lessons.Read More


How you can be part of the solution to our literacy crisis

Why should YOU help to solve our literacy crisis?

You may think, ‘Why is this my problem? I pay my taxes and education is government’s responsibility. Isn’t this the work of NGO’s, philanthropists and CSI departments? How will I know my money will be well used?’ In this article, on Giving Tuesday, Wordworks Director Shelley O’Carroll responds to these questions and provides some practical ways for you to contribute. She challenges all South Africans to become part of the solution, and talks about why giving is important for those who give.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Wordworks Early Childhood Development (ECD) team celebrates partners and graduates!

Wordworks’ (WW)  Early Childhood Development (ECD) team held a stunning 3rd Community of Practice Session and graduation ceremony for our partners who have been using the WW Little Stars (LS) and Every Word Counts (EWC) programmes. These are part of our early literacy development programmes. WW partners had the opportunity to present information on how they used the programmes and what resulted from incorporating them into classrooms.Read More


‘Early literacy and numeracy starts in the womb’

More than 30 students were awarded certificates for successfully completing an Every Word Counts course in early numeracy and literacy…The course was presented by the Foundation for Community Works (FCW) in collaboration with Wordworks and the Do More Foundation.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Zero2Five Trust takes November by storm with the help of Wordworks and Biblionef South Africa!

One of Wordworks’ Early Childhood Development (ECD) partners, Zero2Five Trust has claimed November as their training month in the last few years and this year they are using the month to conduct workshops for their Ethekwini ECD centres, at the Baby Bear Creche in Nt’Shongweni. 

The training is for over 120 ECD sites that use resources that were donated by Wordworks and Biblionef South Africa. 

Wordworks ECD specialist, Faith Shabangu, shares how Wordworks feels about the workshops, “Wordworks is excited that Zero2five makes every effort to bring high quality ECD programmes, delivered by skilled practitioners to the communities they work in.  We wish you all the best for all the November training sessions.”Read More


Inkwenkwezi Society looks up

The Inkwenkwezi Society aims to implement change through the use of preventative resources provided by national NGOs – such as Wordworks and Shine, to enhance the individual strengths of pupils as well as promote their mental well-being and resilience in schools around Grahamstown…at the end of a child’s programme, there is a notable difference in their self-esteem in that the students are more capable and confident in reading, writing and speaking in English. In addition, the programme has had a positive impact on each child’s sense of self-worth as they feel they have role to play in the classroom and want to be there.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

A celebration of Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme Teacher-facilitators!

The 2022 HSP programme Teacher-facilitators graduation has taken place and there is so much to share about this momentous occasion! 115 Teachers-facilitators from 29 schools took part in 7 online sessions of training to prepare for workshops with parents to support their children’s informal learning at home. Teachers ran 8 sessions with parents and submitted a portfolio of evidence. The portfolio reflected their insight into the HSP programme and also the growth of parents.The graduates, Wordworks, and special guest speakers all came together to celebrate this achievement through an online graduation.Read More

‘Ready Steady Read Write’ helps Kranshoek kids

‘The ‘Ready Steady Read Write’ programme has been piloted at Kranshoek Primary to selected Grade R and Grade 1 learners during this year’s first two terms… (Bitou10 Foundation) expresses sincere gratitude to  Wordworks for making a life-changing impact on the development of learners and teachers in Bitou.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Implementing Wordworks ECD programmes in KZN

Lulamaphiko’s 2022 Classroom Library Project followed a  Wits University research  project in 2021 that aimed to get children to build the habit of borrowing books to  read at home. The project has been drawing on the Every Word Counts and Little stars programme.  Speaking about how the programmes have helped the project, Director Lynn Stefano had this to say “EWC and Little Stars have helped us to understand how children begin to learn to read and write, and the important role that educators and parents play in supporting these skills to emerge over time.  We believe that Gr R is a critical transition year between home and/or pre-school and Gr 1.  Unfortunately, many Gr R teachers are not supported or equipped to make the most of this year, so learners start Gr 1 having lost many opportunities to put in place reading and writing skills needed in  ‘big’ school”. According to Lynn, the Foundation phase teachers they work with now have a better understanding of how to encourage their young learners to begin to read and write.  They understand the importance of drawing as one of the foundations of writing and children delight in new opportunities to read and draw.  Read More

Empowering parents of ECD kids

‘A parent is a child’s first teacher.’ Parents in the Langeberg are being encouraged by their children’s ECD teachers to create informal learning opportunities with their young children at home, using the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme.”

To read the full article, click on the link below:


Wordworks evaluates its TIME parent programme

The Wordworks team is conducting a field study of theTIME (Together in my Learning) programme. Wordworks knows how important it is to get feedback from parents and caregivers as the programme was also developed with the intention to make it easier for parents and caregivers to bond with their children through their education. One parent shares, “We do TIME at least three times per week and we love it. It is our special time together. It is very well set out, easy to read and follow. V. loves all the activities, there is nothing that he doesn’t like. He will come home from school and immediately ask which TIME activity we are going to do today”Read More

Project fosters good relations

‘Parent Thabisa Mathebula said the programmes not only helps her to effectively assist her child, but strengthened their relationship. “Through this course, I(have) learnt how much we as parents neglect our children. I have a new born baby and sometimes I would brush off my child because I am busy with the baby. This has helped me identify those things and be more involved in her school work,” she said. She said she has also learnt to take the child’s opinions into account and be more considerate.’

To read the full article, click on the link below:

Wordworks learns on the other side of the world!

Two members of the Wordworks team, three teachers and a Rotarian had the privilege of visiting Sweden and working with Rotary International. Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help build peace and goodwill. One of the Rotary Foundations Programmes include the Vocational Training Teams (VTT) where groups of professionals travel abroad to share their expertise and to learn more about the best practices.

Rotary District 9350 from South Africa and Rotary District 2390 in Sweden, arranged for a team from South Africa, to visit Sweden in October 2022. The aim was to learn more about how schools in both countries support literacy and basic schooling in pre-school and early grades in primary school.Read More

Yizani Sinfunde visit

Our visit to communities in the Eastern Cape that are a part of the *Yizani Sifunde project helped us understand the logistical challenges that come with distributing thousands of books into the homes of children – but also, it has confirmed that the project is impacting the ECD practitioners and children deeply.

As our training partners on the project, Khululeka and ITEC are facilitating training, support and materials dissemination to 47 ECD practitioners. Our learning visits with our partners have taken us as far as Mdantsane, Kwelera and Burgersdorp!

Asanda Mpahla and Katherine de Wet attended a training session at ITEC, visited ECD sites, and interviewed practitioners and caregivers about their experience and understanding of the project. It was encouraging to see how the children confidently chose which Book Dash book they wanted to read. They continued to swap the books for new ones after ‘reading’ them.Read More

Sharing our work at the 2022 Literacy Association of South Africa (LITASA) conference

Wordworks is presenting on some important developments in our programmes in line with the conference theme “Rethinking literacy and pedagogic agency in the 4IR”.
Papers/workshops presented by Jacqui Botha, Natasha Rosen, Magali von Blottnitz, Katherine de Wet & our director, Mammuso Makhanya:
** Materials access in the digital age: hybrid offerings rooted in human connection
** Activating teachers and parents for home learning: lessons on pedagogic agency
** Bringing a Wordworks online selfstudy training course to ECD practitioners: a snapshot of pilot
** A practical introduction to the TIME programme: an early grade home learning innovation for scale

Changing the narrative in the ECD space

‘It has not been an easy journey because you have mothers who are old enough to be my mother and having to trust me with their children. There is also the discomfort that comes from the fact that I am a man but I believe that in a way, I do play a father figure role as well, especially to those children who are raised by single mothers’.  

The Early Child Development space is a predominantly female one where thousands of parents put their trust in the hands of trained female ECD practitioners, but Siya’s story is of a different kind.

We met him at a Wordworks’ event for ECD practitioners to learn a little bit more about him.Read More

The development of ECD practitioners takes centre stage in year long research study

“I thought I knew everything about storytelling but in this training I have learnt that there are many ways of telling stories such as singing songs, role play, drawing and using sequence cards”.

Wordworks, in partnership with the British Academy and Stellenbosch University, is embarking on research aimed at strengthening language and literacy teaching in pre-Grade R through training ECD practitioners on our Little Stars story-based language programme.
36 ECD practitioners working from under-resourced communities were recruited through Wordworks’ partnership with Sikhula Sonke and Ikamva Labantu (Khayelitsha) and Inceba Trust (Paarl) to participate in the first round of training from February to August this year.

The study will assess the impact of the resource-based training on practitioners’ knowledge and practice as well as on children’s language and early literacy skills. The results of the study will be shared in early 2023. In August, Wordworks held graduations of the ECD practitioners from Paarl and Khayelitsha to celebrate their participation in the study.Read More

Great-grandparents, grandparents and parents – all dedicated to supporting the little ones’ learning at home!

Another special Home-School Partnerships (HSP) certification event!

Levana Primary School is another of Wordworks’ valued, long-term partner schools. It is lovely to see a great-grandfather and a great-grandmother (pictured) who took the 8-week course to benefit the young ones in their care at home!

Congratulations to Teacher-facilitators, parents and caregivers, who give up their time after hours to make these workshops happen.

Our STELLAR Programme goes back to Zimbabwe

Jo Labouchere, one of Wordworks’ training partners, recently continued in-person Stellar Programme training with teachers and mentors in Zimbabwe. She went to several schools around Victoria Falls, and travelled further afield to work with ECD and Grade 1 teachers and deliver books to schools*. She also worked with mentors (a mix of school leavers and parents) who will help implement the Stellar Programme as a literacy intervention – even up to Grade 5!

Jo says: “It has been incredible to see the different schools and work with some amazing teachers. Many of the schools are in remote areas with no access to materials… Teachers often do not have basics like chalk, pens or text books provided, and children walk vast distances to get to school.

Some feedback on the training:
‘I am fully equipped to teach both Tshivenda and English using the materials I have been given. I will also support teachers who remained behind to make teaching more meaningful’. Read More

This story will warm your heart

Madwaleni Hospital in the Eastern Cape believes, as we do, that ALL children have the right to be exposed to a language rich environment, including those who have developmental difficulties.

They train the caregivers, therapists and ECD practitioners of affected children at the hospital and surrounding communities, on the Wordworks EVERY WORD COUNTS (EWC) Programme, and LITTLE STARS classroom-based programme.

Caregiver training encourages book reading with their children (even those who have disabilities like cerebral palsy and need to be in special positions like in a ‘Waskom’ or lying down on their backs. Caregivers are also  trained in the CP (cerebral palsy), T21 (Down’s Syndrome) and SAM (severe acute malnutrition) groups regarding play.

Madwaleni also trains community service speech and occupational therapists working in other hospitals in their district to support their services and provide them with EWC materials for caregiver training. 

Wordworks in Gauteng

Wordworks has broadened its horizons to support early language and emergent literacy teaching in the Gauteng Province. Wordworks has been appointed the Language technical partner to the Gauteng Grade R Improvement Programme and has been responsible for materials development as well as the training of trainers, which started in the 4thTerm of 2021.  

The  Grade R Home Language Improvement Programme is fully *CAPS-aligned and designed to strengthen the oral language and emergent literacy of Grade R learners. It is organised into  two-week cycles of teaching  built around a story which is brought to life for the learners through fully interactive activities.

The programme is supported by the following resource components that were developed in close collaboration with the GDE: A Concept Guide which sets out the educational and curriculum principles that underpin the programme design; Read More

The first thousand days of a child’s life

Through presentations and events Sikunye spreads the powerful idea that churches can play a unique and significant role in the First Thousand Days (FTD) of a child’s life.  Sikunye is an initiative of The Common Ground Church together with church leaders and congregants.

This week Wordworks and Nal’ibali were guest speakers at one of their big biannual events. Wordworks’ presentation focused on TALKING and emphasised that communicating with your baby helps the baby’s brain to grow.

Our Early Literacy Specialist, Faith Shabangu, presented on behalf of Wordworks, and she says,Read More

Teamwork leads to change

Heideveld Primary School held their Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme graduation recently. As well as graduating parents, six newly trained HSP teacher-facilitators were celebrated as well! This occasion was attended by all the HSP facilitators, trained and established, standing together with parents as a team 

Parents were passionate about sharing the fun they had with their children. They embraced  learning through playing. The facilitators prepared 3 easels with newsprint paper in the playground for parents to reflect on their learnings (see frame 3). They worked in groups and gave feedback on the poster they made. A good advert for their community to see the impact of the programme! Read More

A celebration filled with sweet treats and proud hearts!

Square Hill Primary School held a certification event on the 21st of May for parents and caregivers that completed the Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme! 

Square Hill began with 20 participants attending the workshops and ended off with a bang, with 14 of them graduating. 6 HSP teacher-facilitators conducted the eight sessions with the parents on Saturday mornings. Square Hill HSP coordinator, Juliet George describes her approach with the teacher-facilitators: “We actually split our sessions up between the facilitators so that each of their home lives weren’t drastically impacted. We also had a lot of group and interactive work.” 

At the function, the deputy principal Imelda Nefdt acknowledged the parents’ efforts on behalf of the school. Colleen Diedericks attended the graduation on behalf of Wordworks and spoke  about the important role that the teachers of Square Hill have played in supporting parents to assist their children’s early literacy development and thereby uplifting their community. Read More

South African NGOs coming together for early literacy development!

Nal’ibali, BookDash, and Wordworks have partnered in the Yizani Sifunde project, funded by Liberty Community Trust, which focuses on improving early literacy in the Eastern Cape. The project has been working in communities from East London, Sterkstroom, Molteno and Burgerdorp. The consortium aims at strengthening early literacy development in the early childhood development (ECD) sector. 

Since the initial implementation in 2021, Yizani Sifunde has reached over 1400 children. ECD centres have received resources from our classroom-based programme for pre Grade R, Little Stars, to implement in the classroom. Children have also received storybooks from BookDash in their home language to take home and read with family, as can be seen in frame 1. This has also encouraged more practitioners, parents and caregivers to start reading stories to young children, highlighting the importance of reading in their home language.Read More

Laying the Foundation for Functional Literacy in the Early Grades

School Leadership Forum(SLF)has partnered up with Wordworks (WW) to curate an early literacy online course for educators. This course, Laying the Foundation for Functional Literacy in the Early Grades, is accredited with the South African Council for Educators (SACE). Attendees are awarded with 10 points.

This course consists of four sessions that will be running until mid-August. Session 1 took place on the 26th of May and focused on strong oral language as the foundation for literacy.

Teachers that attended the first session enjoyed the Wordworks videos that were used during the session. The Wordworks facilitators in frames 1 and 2, prompted discussions after which the participants engaged in chat groups to take the conversations further. It is anticipated that these online discussions will only improve as they warm up to each other over the course of the sessions.Read More

Online learning in the 21st century!

The Wordworks (WW) programme, Ready Steady Read Write (RSRW) is now in its  second year of using a dual online training model. This includes an online Learning Management System (LMS) on which users can complete the self-study programme at their own pace.

Face to face training is always great, but online training also has its benefits as we reach more participants across the country. WW has recreated the programme to fit into an online course. With this online course, participants are given the opportunity to complete the course in their own time, processing and grasping the concepts..

Newly recruited coordinators are registered by their organisations and schools to learn online how to run the RSRW tutoring programme. The programme comes with targeted reading and writing skills that work as solid support for Grade R and Grade 1 learners.Read More

Creativity and literacy – a successful relationship.

Creative Skills Factory is a NPO based in the Overstrand. This organisation keeps their eyes and mission set on providing holistic support for children, families, caregivers, and teachers. The support is given to assist individuals in developing a foundation of social and emotional skills. Creative Skills Factory uses our Little Stars Programme in their Early Learning Programme.  

The Creative Skills Factory NPC team says, “We would like to express our appreciation to (Wordworks) for your wonderful resources which we are thoroughly enjoying using in our work with young children.”

Creative Skills factory uses the Little Stars Programme and its stories to not only encourage the children to learn, but to also encourage their creative thinking.Read More

Young people continue to create change!

The WCED @HomeLearning Programme in partnership with Year Beyond (that provides experience for unemployed youth, referred to as ‘Yeboneers’), are using our TIME programme materials as one of a number of activities that are being used in the communities and schools.

The Yeboneers are conducting the TIME sessions in a number of communities in Winelands, Eden Karoo and West Coast.

As one of many activities, mentors support Yeboneers to run parent/caregiver workshops, one which includes doing practical TIME activities with them. This assists them in understanding the materials, after which they will be able to support children with the activities. The Yeboneers work directly with the children in the community and also run specific TIME sessions at schools, which children attend voluntarily.Read More

Here at Wordworks we’re celebrating Mother’s Day alongside all of you!

Today we are shining light on how engaging in literacy activities with your child enhances that special bond!

Mem Fox said that “The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading.”  To all the mothers out there – may the literacy fire between you and your child always remind you of how special you truly are.

Some mothers in the WW team shared how reading together has brought them closer to their children:

Jacqui says “Reading with my children has, and always will be, my most treasured time spent with them. No matter what kind of day we’ve had, when we start reading, the world somehow feels different … lighter and happier. Working at Wordworks has taught me that there is no greater gift that we as mothers can give our children, than the gift of reading. It not only benefits our children’s educational journey, but it feeds their souls and opens their minds to a world of magic and unlimited possibilities. ”Read More

Wordworks without borders!

Jo Labouchere has been doing various projects with Wordworks for 11 years. She has widened the spread of our work and taken our programmes  to teachers in Zimbabwe, training them on the Wordworks Ready Steady Read Write and Stellar Home Language programmes since 2017. Post-Covid, she went back to conduct in-person Stellar training with 40 teachers. 

Jo says, “It was so exciting to be able to visit the teachers of Zimbabwe and Zambia again after two years’ delay.  Many of the teachers travelled far to attend the training.”

During the past two years Wordworks has updated the Stellar material with new activities, which now cover a full year of literacy teaching. The participants were so excited to see the new materials and realise that they now have a full years’ literacy programme.Read More

A school of opportunities.

This week we feature another long-term partner of Wordworks (WW). Zwaanswyk Academy has been running the WW Home-School Partnerships (HSP) programme since 2015!

This year they hosted yet another heart-warming graduation for parents and caregivers that completed the programme.

In the HSP programme, teachers are trained to run a series of workshops over eight weeks to empower and inspire parents and caregivers of children aged 6 to 8 years to support informal and fun learning at home.

Two of the current teachers have been facilitators since this school began running the programme.

Even though the programme is targeted at mainly parents, a Grade 4 teacher from the school attended the entire course because she felt that as a mom, there are always things to learn and ways to improve her child’s literacy skills.

Another mother attended the course through the encouragement of her husband, who had attended the course 6 years ago and was still reaping the rewards.Read More

Making a difference in the lives of the youth!

Year Beyond, otherwise known as Yebo, runs as a Youth Service programme for 18 to 25 year olds that assists them in gaining meaningful work experience, work while volunteering, and stepping onto a path that could help further their studies. 

The @HomeLearning programme and Year Beyond will be providing Workworks TIME programme materials to grade R and grade 1 learners in over 50 schools in the Western Cape, and the life-changing approach doesn’t stop there!

The schools located in the Cape Winelands, Eden Karoo, and the West Coast will receive the materials that encourage at home learning but in addition to that, over 300 unemployed youth have been recruited as Yeboneers and will use the TIME materials in community hubs and to provide support for the children.Read More

Fairview Primary School celebrates 10 years of running the Wordworks HSP programme 

Fairview Primary School, located in the heart of Grassy Park, has always prioritised providing the best and most efficient approach to education for their learners. The Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme (HSP) was introduced to Fairview by their late teacher Mrs Agmat, and the school worked to get the HSP programme to be an integral part of Fairview’s educational strategy. This has led to Fairview celebrating 10 years of running the Wordworks’ HSPP in March, 2022! Read More

A husband and wife team that goes above and beyond!

Mr and Mrs Malope are a couple that have proven that enough is never enough! Being the parents of 27, 21, and 15 year old girls, the Malopes haven’t let parenting duties stop them from going the extra mile for children that are in need. They also foster two, four, and five year olds. The Malopes run their own ECD centre and orphanage. The Malopes wanted to try a different parenting approach, “so we can employ contemporary methods in dealing with our children’s growing and learning and do away with the iron hands approach we grew up with.” They decided to do the Wordworks Home-School Partnerships Programme (HSP) Programme with Ubunye Educare Centre to help them evolve their parenting. Read More


Libraries – keeping the doors of learning open!

The week of the 14th to the 18th of March was #LibraryWeek. We shared some recollections from Wordworks team members of their experiences with public libraries.
Here are extracts from pieces written by Colleen Diedericks, Natasha Rosen and Magali von Blottnitz.
We need to ensure that libraries are valued and kept open for the essential role they play in society.

Wordworks and Book Dash – in partnership to change lives through literacy

Seven years down the line, the partnership between these two NGOs has resulted in over 26 600 books for little ones going to children in families across the provinces. This distribution has happened through the many schools, ECD centres and NGOs that run Wordworks programmes.

Julia Norish, Book Dash Director, says: “We value our work with Wordworks so much for its reach and impact.”  And we feel the same way about Book Dash!

Read more about Book dash here:

Helping young children learn Maths at home can be fun!

A great partnership between Wordworks and the Primary Science Programme (PSP) has resulted in 3000 parents in our Home-School Partnerships (HSP) network having access to their Practical Maths at Home guide for parents. The book enhances children’s Maths literacy informally, in a fun way, using ordinary and daily activities at home.

This book has been excitedly received by teachers at their training as it perfectly complements the HSP session which covers learning about Maths. They could see how both they and the parents could use the very practical and engaging activities to make learning about numbers, shapes, time, measuring, patterns and data gathering easy and fun, whether using it at home or in the classroom. 

Zorina Dharsey (Director of the PSP) tells how the book was developed: Read More

A long-standing school, always moving forward!

This week we’re talking about Sid.G.Rule’s significant relationship with parents of their learners and their long-time commitment to running our empowering, and driven programme. We’re referring to the Home-School Partnerships Programme (HSPP). As you may know, HSPP is one of our well-loved and well-known programmes, and Sid.G.Rule Primary School in Grassy Park is one of the schools that can advocate that this programme is highly valued. 

The HSPP involves Wordworks training the teachers in the programme and the teachers following with 8 training sessions with the parents of learners at their school.  Parents feel empowered to support their children’s learning and develop a new connection with them. The hard work of parents is rewarded by an event, organised by the teachers, accompanied by a certificate to celebrate their new-found skills. Read More