About Us

Every child is born with the same need for love, respect, understanding and security. Every child is also born fearless with an endless curiosity, a desire for adventure and a hunger to learn. Often society robs children of this in the early years of their life. 

The Learning Initiative is concerned with the development of young children in the critical years before they start school. The majority of learners who start Grade 1 in South Africa will not complete their schooling because their holistic development is severely compromised when living under impoverished conditions. Starting school on a back foot has a dire knock-on effect in later grades, where learners struggle to “catch-up” with curriculum demands contributing to poor school results, drop-outs and associated social and economic consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We offer therapeutic services, available to the fortunate, to the most vulnerable and least supported communities. We focus on young children presenting with developmental delays, and through a therapeutic intervention equip the children with the tools, techniques, enthusiasm and resilience that they need in order to thrive in school.

We have witnessed how our work is changing the developmental trajectory of the children’s lives. By giving our children the attention and stimulation they deserve we are re-writing their life story and ensuring a brighter tomorrow for them, their family, community, future generations and the country as a whole. 
 

Awards

B4G was awarded with the “Change Maker in Education” award at the Community Chest Impumelelo Social Innovation Award 2019. From over 200 applicants from across the country, B4G was one of 14 award recipients. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Impact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Draw a person: Screening in March                                                        Draw a person: Post-testing in November

 

External monitoring and evaluation has been a very important part of our project.  Results have consistently shown statistically significant improvement in the children’s functioning over the last three years. Overall, the children have improved to such an extent that they are on par or above “the average Western Cape child” in terms of their holistic development. Much improvement was also noted in the soft signs of learning for example self-confidence, concentration, impulse control and self-regulation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We receive regular feedback from parents and teachers about the impact B4G has had on these little children and their lives. Many parents and teachers who receive the tools and guidance now feel empowered, equipped and encouraged.

‘Blocks4Growth teaches us that there are many simple, easy, cost-effective methods to help us along. Many of us come from families where our parents didn’t finish primary or high school and our grandparents were illiterate. This is a step in the right direction for us who aim to break the cycle and empower/equip our kids with knowledge. I am grateful for these workshops in our area.’ Parent

‘Great ideas to use at home.’ Parent

‘Keep it up guys, this is the best thing ever happened to our kids’ Parent

‘It helps a lot to have someone other than your colleagues to talk to when it comes to work and students. A fresh outlook or opinion is always welcome.’ Teacher

‘I get new ideas every day and know which of my children need attention’. Teacher

 

Our Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Learning Initiative (TLI) has carefully and specifically developed the Blocks4Growth (B4G) programme which focuses on the concept of early stimulation in early childhood development in a holistic, effective and efficient manner. Focus is placed on the child and a supplementary goal is to build strong relationships with teachers and caregivers throughout communities. The fundamental belief is that each community member can be an individual block for growth and can contribute to building a strong foundation for quality education.

B4G focuses on 3 target areas:

1) Children 

All 4-5 year old children that have been identified to be at risk of falling developmentally behind their peers, receive therapy throughout the year in fun, interactive group sessions. A therapist-led team facilities the small groups at the creches twice a week to accelerate the holistic development of the children. 

Through our screening we also identify children with severe developmental delays, psycho-social or medical concerns and they are referred to relevant government or non-profit organisations within the community for specialised and appropriate treatment. This ensures early identification and intervention.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Parents

An integral part of B4G is to equip parents to support their children’s development. Focus is placed on upskilling and empowering parents and promoting engagement with their children. 
Fun, creative homework tasks are sent home after each group session.
Parents are invited to observe a therapy session once a term to provide insight to group activities and to learn effective ways of engaging with their child.
Two parent workshops are offered through the year where parents are provided with practical examples of early childhood stimulation and parenting skills, and they are introduced to the CareUp application as an additional resource to use at home. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


3) Teachers

Teachers attend weekly coaching sessions with our therapists which ensures transference of skills. All children in the classroom can benefit from our input and specific skills are reinforced within the classroom. Teachers are equipped to promote a healthy learning environment and to implement age appropriate activities. 

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B4G is an enable, a once off, intensive, specialized, high-quality, professional, therapeutic intervention. We provide children with the fishing rod, not the fish.  

Social Objectives

Our main social development objective is to bring about growth, independence and development in each community we work in. We pride ourselves on capacity building to empower and educate the community on the importance of early childhood development and spending time with our young generation playing, learning and gaining confidence. With our threefold focus (child, parent,teacher) we are able to impact more lives enabling everyone in each sector to make their own choices, to implement them successfully and to invest time in each other. This ensures sustainability of B4G.

Feedback from a participating parent: “Can you imagine if every home

before supper spend 10-15 min talking to their children, reading, doing puzzles

etc... Let us never stop dreaming of that idea. The impact it will have to our

South African culture, our economy, the drop in level of crime, innovation etc.

With time and hard work, we will birth a new normal in our township”

 

You Can Support

•    Donation in Kind – this will assist us to cover running costs.  

 

•    Storybook Drive – we would like to reach more children and families across South Africa by having our therapists develop storybooks that are stimulating, culturally relevant, age appropriate, tactile and interactive. The books would include key developmental concepts as well as age appropriate discussion ideas which parents/caregivers and practitioners can use to turn story time into a meaningful growth experience. These books could also be sold for income generation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

•    Support a child (and their parent and teacher) for a year-long therapeutic intervention @ R650/month 

 

18A SARS Tax Certificate can be issued and we are B-BBEE compliant. 

 

We have a dedicated board of trustees and strong management team. The managers and therapists are all registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) which guides our standards of ethical and professional practice. Facilitators work under the guidance of therapists and have a minimum NQF Level 4 qualification. Management is responsible for project, operational and financial management and therapists assist with continuous programme development. We maintain sound financial management practices.