Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Childhood Education]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2223-768220220001&lang=es vol. 12 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Cultural adaptation and Northern Sotho translation of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: In recent reviews of autism spectrum disorder screening tools, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F TM) has been recommended for use in lower middle-income countries to promote earlier identification AIM: The study aim was to culturally adapt and translate the M-CHAT-R/F TM into Northern Sotho, a South African language. SETTING: An expert panel was purposively selected for the review and focus group discussion that was conducted within an academic context. METHOD: The source translation (English) was reviewed by bilingual Northern Sotho-English speech-language therapists who made recommendations for cultural adaptation. A double translation method was used, followed by a multidisciplinary expert panel discussion and a self-completed questionnaire. RESULTS: Holistic review of test, additional remarks and grammar and phrasing were identified as the most prominent themes of the panel discussion, emphasising the equivalence of the target translation. CONCLUSION: A South African culturally adapted English version of the M-CHAT-R/F TM is now available along with the preliminary Northern Sotho version of the M-CHAT-R/F TM. The two versions can now be confirmed by gathering empirical evidence of reliability and validity <![CDATA[<b>The inclusiveness of mixed ability grouping in Johannesburg primary schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: South Africa adopted the policy on inclusive education in 2001 that aimed at offering quality and equity in education to all learners, as well as addressing their diverse needs in the classrooms despite their differences. Mixed ability grouping is one of the commonly used classroom practices in the schools, but little is known on how it reflects on principles of inclusivity. AIM: The study aimed to explore how mixed ability grouping reflects on inclusivity as one of the commonly used classroom practices. SETTING: This qualitative study embedded in descriptive phenomenology was carried out in six selected primary schools of Johannesburg's Metropolitan region of South Africa. METHODS: Six participants and their classrooms were purposefully sampled, and data were collected through observations and in-depth interviews with each individual participant. Data were analysed thematically and the organisation of the emerging themes was informed by Florian and Black-Hawkins' model on inclusive pedagogy. RESULTS: Findings of this study revealed that mixed ability grouping takes into account learners' levels of academic performance, gender parity, age of learners, as well as learners' backgrounds leading to diverse learners accepting one another in the classrooms. However, there are challenges in providing differentiated instruction, using appropriate teaching/learning media, and opportunities for individualised instruction according to learner needs. CONCLUSION: The study argues that for mixed ability grouping to be more inclusive, it has to provide for differentiated instruction within the same group setups, use teaching/learning media that are tailored to meet specific needs of individual learners, as well as offering individual instruction to learners who need it. <![CDATA[<b>Effectiveness of reception class teachers' pedagogical approaches in delivering pre-primary curriculum - Evidence from practice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: This report is part of a study commissioned to provide evidence to inform quality improvements, and the rolling out of the public reception class programme (RCP) to all public primary schools in Botswana by 2020. The study adopted the Discrepancy Evaluation Model (DEM) as a theoretical framework. AIM: One of the specific objectives of the study was to determine the effectiveness of the programme in terms of the RCP curriculum coverage and the teachers' effectiveness in delivering the curriculum. The aim of the study reported in this article was therefore to determine the reception class teachers' pedagogical approaches in delivering the RCP curriculum. SETTING: The study was conducted in Botswana where early childhood care and education was provided by private providers until 2014 when the government of Botswana introduced the RCP in public primary schools. METHODS: The study utilised a multi-method design. Stratified random sampling was used to select 10% of the 539 public primary schools that had implemented the programme since 2014 when it was introduced. An analysis tool based on the revised Bloom's Taxonomy was used to analyse the content, as well as the level of coverage of important skills within the RCP curriculum. Questionnaires were used to gather information from teachers. Interviews were used to gather information from principal education officers (PEOs) who are part of the inspectorate. Feedback received from these participants was considered as indicating performance, according to the DEM. This performance was then compared with standards (with the RCP curriculum) to determine if any discrepancies existed. RESULTS: Findings indicated that the RCP curriculum was adequate in coverage of skills at various levels of knowledge, understanding and appreciation. However, in some learning areas, certain competencies and performance targets were pitched at higher-order thinking. This resulted in most teachers focusing on achieving performance targets instead of following performance indicators to develop particular skills. As a result, learners demonstrated achievement of performance targets yet their developmental process skills were not fully accomplished CONCLUSION: The RCP generally had a sound teaching cadre which would generate a considerable impact on the programme, should their pedagogical approaches not be derailed by the desire to fulfil performance targets at the expense of developmental process skills. <![CDATA[<b>The construction of knowledge through visual perceptual training in visual arts</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Visual perception and observational skills are an essential part of Visual Arts education, through which young learners, in the primary school, acquire important and necessary skills to create artworks during their creative projects. These skills provide learners in the primary school the opportunity to overcome their self-imposed criticism to their own works of art. Similar research projects highlight the inability of learners in the middle childhood to creatively express what they visually perceive. AIM: The study sought to assist learners in the middle childhood to overcome the slump in their creative attempts through a series of visual sharpening exercises, in the form of an Art intervention. SETTING: A qualitative case study with elements of action research was conducted at a single site at a primary school in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. METHODS: The participants of the study comprised of four grade 5 classes divided into a test group and control group. The intervention was administered to the test group in the form of visual sharpening exercises. The practical projects of four grade 5 classes were assessed, analysed, compared, and the findings were discussed according to the themes identified during the study. RESULTS: The results indicate factors that might influence the visual perceptual skills of learners in middle childhood, while completing Visual Art projects. Analysis of the research data revealed an increase in the test group's score compared to the control group. There was a marked effect on the test group participants' ability to record what they visually perceived. CONCLUSION: This study investigated and highlights shortcomings in the CAPS Visual Art curriculum for Grade 5. Bridging the gap between practice and curriculum shortfalls is important. The study suggests that the Department of Education (DoE) should supplement the Visual Arts curriculum with visual perceptual training for middle childhood learners. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of the concept education programme on 48–60-month-old children's visual-spatial perception mechanisms</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: To understand how the human brain organises the information, how prototypes are handled in the categorisation system, researchers have pointed out that there may be a relationship between visual perception and concept acquisition. AIM: This study was conducted to examine the effect of a concept education programme, developed on the basis of a configured concept map, on the visual-spatial perception mechanisms of children between the ages of 48 and 60 months who were selected through random sampling from central kindergartens. SETTING: The experimental group and control group each included 59 children. For data collection, the Frostig developmental test of visual perception and the Boehm Test of Basic Preschool Concepts-3 were used. METHODS: The experimental group and control group each included 59 children. For data collection, the Frostig developmental test of visual perception and the Boehm Test of Basic Preschool Concepts-3 were used.Additionally, the concept education programme based on configured concept map was developed by consulting expert opinions, and this programme was applied to the experimental group. RESULTS: In assessing the relationship between pre- and post-test scores, the findings indicate that a significant increase occurred in favour of the post-test results. However, a significant relationship favouring the experimental group was present between the post-test scores of experimental and control groups. No significant difference was found between the post-test/monitoring measurements regarding visual-spatial perception and Boehm-3 concept skills. The data suggest that the concept education programme supported the development of children's visual perception skills. CONCLUSION: On the basis of the study results, parents, teachers and researchers are recommended to use concept maps in the learning processes, particularly those related to visual-spatial perception. <![CDATA[<b>Do student teachers see what learners see? - Avoiding instructional dissonance when designing worksheets</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The judicious use of worksheets ought to contribute to the establishment of literacy, with a special significance for multilingual classrooms where neither teachers nor learners are mother tongue speakers of the instructional language. Disparity between the pedagogical intention of the worksheet and learners' interpretation of the message often creates instructional dissonance AIM AND SETTING: The aim of this nested study was to establish the quality, and (mis)use of worksheets as implemented by student teachers during their work-integrated learning stint in selected urban South African primary schools. DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY: Using a self-designed grid, a qualitative document analysis underpinned by visual ethnography was conducted on 45 worksheets. These texts were prepared by the student teachers for literacy, numeracy and life skills lessons offered to 6- to 9-year-olds. Criteria used for the simple analysis included appropriateness for the age group, visual complexity, accuracy of language use, cultural compatibility, layout, clarity of instructions and alignment with expected learning outcomes. FINDINGS: Findings suggested the hasty conceptualisation and creation, or inappropriate choice of worksheets used as learning support material. Apart from linguistic barriers because of poorly formulated tasks, the worksheets were generally culturally insensitive, and contained grammatical inaccuracies compounded by technical and design shortcomings. These lacunae defeated the pedagogical purpose of most worksheets and generated instructional dissonance CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHER EDUCATION: The careful crafting and implementation of worksheets coupled with sound content knowledge of language and literacy principles would alleviate learner bafflement and enhance the learning opportunity. We take the position that well-designed worksheets should serve a focused purpose and link directly to literacy and learning of the instructional language. <![CDATA[<b>Learning at home for Grade 1 learners in disadvantaged communities: Insights from the Sandbox@Home COVID-19-response intervention</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The spread of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has escalated the need for studying the home learning environment (HLE). With learners spending more time at home, understanding about learning at home, especially in disadvantaged communities, is paramount. AIM: The aim of this research study was to explore the HLE for foundation phase learners by analysing data from an intervention that aspired to support organised learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. SETTING: This research study was conducted telephonically with families from 11 schools (10 in the Waterberg district, Limpopo and one in Soweto, Gauteng. METHODS: Qualitative data (recorded phone interviews) were collected from caregivers and learners from 17 households. The interview recordings were transcribed and translated into English. The constant comparative method of data analysis was used to analyse interview transcripts. RESULTS: Three themes emerged from the analysis: (1) challenges of learning at home, (2) perceived benefits of learning at home and (3) the desire to continue with the programme even after schools re-opened. The data showed that having access to learning material facilitated learning at home. Additionally, caregivers noted benefits to learners from engaging in learning activities. However, there were also challenges in facilitating learning at home. These include caregivers not following the learning guidelines provided. CONCLUSION: Caregivers appreciated having access to learning material and were willing to facilitate learning at home. However, the challenges they faced resulted in them not executing the programme effectively. Future studies and interventions should explore how to provide adequate and accessible support to caregivers. <![CDATA[<b>Availability and use of infrastructural resources in promoting quality early childhood care and education in registered early childhood development centres</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Quality early childhood development (ECD) is crucial for protecting children against a multitude of socio-economic challenges such as poor living standards, lack of education, and substandard healthcare. Furthermore, research has revealed that educational resources used at ECD centres enrich the all-round well-being of young children. Despite these findings, the provision of educational resources in the ECD learning environment has received little or no attention at national and local levels. AIM: This study aimed to explore registered ECD centres to understand the available infrastructure resources and how they are used to promote quality early childhood care and education (ECCE). SETTING: A sample of eight participants (four ECD centre principals and four practitioners) from four registered ECD centres were purposively selected in suburban and township areas of Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. METHODS: An interpretative, qualitative multiple case study was used and the Woodhead quality framework for ECD centres was used as a guide for this study. Data were collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews, non-participant observation and field notes RESULTS: The findings revealed that practitioners know how the use of learning resources improve young children's growth and development. However, the township centres have fewer infrastructure resources that promote quality ECCE because of the dire socio-economic conditions of the parents. CONCLUSION: The lack of modern and age-appropriate play equipment at township registered centres indicated that the (township) practitioners are not able to use such equipment, even though they are aware of their benefits in promoting quality ECCE. Hence, quality ECCE is not equally available. The great equaliser, called ECCE, is merely a smokescreen. <![CDATA[<b>Pretend play in pre-schoolers: Need for structured and free play in pre-schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Pretend play is a form of play that involves nonliteral actions. There are limited studies reporting the developmental trends of pretend play behaviours of typically developing pre-schoolers. This knowledge would be beneficial in the early identification of deviations in pre-schoolers who have or are at risk of developing developmental disabilities. AIM: The present study aimed to describe the developmental trends in pretend play skills across different age groups of pre-schoolers. The study also aimed to understand the differential patterns in pretend play observed across the Free Play and Structured Toy Play scenarios SETTING: This study was conducted on pre-schoolers in a classroom of the school. METHOD: The study followed a cross-sectional study design. Forty-eight participants were recruited for the study and were divided into four groups. A video recording of the child's pretend play skills was recorded using a Sony-HDRCX405 camcorder in Free Play and Structured Toy Play scenarios. The recorded video was coded and analysed for the occurrence of pretend play skills using the Play in Early Childhood Evaluation System (PIECES) coding scheme RESULTS: The study results depict a developmental trend in the occurrences of pretend play skills in pre-schoolers. It also emphasises the importance of amalgamation of Structured Toy Play and Free Play scenarios for the child's holistic development because of the unique benefits of each scenario. CONCLUSION: The study findings could help in the formulation of Individualised Education Programme objectives for typically developing children and children with developmental disabilities involving play, thus enabling these children experience normalised, contextually pertinent experiences like their peers. <![CDATA[<b>Finding myself by involving children in self-study research methodology: A gentle reminder to live freely</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: This article describes my exploration of social and emotional learning as a primary school teacher in a Grade 4 classroom. AIM: This article aimed to illuminate how I improved my teaching practice through valuing and listening to children's voices. SETTING: I am a teacher at a primary school in the Umlazi education district, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. As a PhD candidate, I explored social and emotional learning in a Grade 4 classroom from a scholarly perspective. METHOD: I present a detailed description of the methodological interactions and the theoretical underpinning that guided my interactions with the Grade 4 study participants. I documented the lessons, which were audio-recorded and photographed, in my teaching development portfolio. By employing self-study research and adopting a sociocultural theoretical perspective, I explored the principles of social justice. The importance of working collaboratively with children in a primary school educational setting to make sense of both the teacher's and the learners' collective and individual experiences is emphasised. The methodology included working with critical friends to help me uncover different ways of making sense of my research and to enhance my own learning about teaching. RESULTS: The findings affirm that young children's voices need to be foregrounded to enhance teaching and learning practices. Children's dignity and perspectives need to be acknowledged as they are the key contributors to and recipients of educational processes CONCLUSION: The study affirms the importance of crediting young learners' diverse perspectives and lived experiences in classroom interactions and asserts that this obligates teachers to listen to children emotively and consciously. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of a parental mHealth resource on language outcomes in 4- to 5-year-old children</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The use of mobile health (mHealth) technology is rapidly expanding in healthcare worldwide. mHealth tools may provide parents with access to resources essential for promoting language development. AIM: The current study aimed to determine how an mHealth parental resource influenced 42 preschool children's (4.0-5.11 months old) language abilities after a 17-week intervention period. SETTING: Participants were identified from six early childhood development (ECD) centres from a low-income community in Tshwane, South Africa. METHOD: A randomised controlled trial (RCT), pre-test post-test research design was employed to determine whether an mHealth parental resource influenced 42 preschool children's (4.0-5.11 months old) language abilities after a 17-week intervention period. Data were collected using the language subtests of a South African standardised protocol, the Emergent Literacy and Language Assessment Protocol (ELLA). RESULTS: The parental mHealth application targeting language stimulation did not significantly improve the experimental group's language outcomes when compared with the control group because most of the parents (n = 27) used the application for less than 20% of the active days. CONCLUSION: Providing parents with more support with mobile resources may lead to improved usage of the application. <![CDATA[<b>Litigation and social mobilisation for early childhood development during COVID-19 and beyond</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Litigation has been utilised to advance a range of socio-economic rights in post-apartheid South Africa, including the right to basic education. Nonetheless, there has not been significant litigation or sustained broad-based mobilisation around issues impacting the early childhood development (ECD) sector in the democratic era. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, however, saw some ECD stakeholders turning to the courts to advocate for their survival, as well as to mobilise and advocate for sector reforms. AIM: This article aimed to critically reflect on the role of litigation and social mobilisation in advancing the right to ECD during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. SETTING: The article assesses two South African cases with national implications. METHODS: The article critically assesses two South African cases relating to ECD during the pandemic. At the time of writing, these were the only South African judgements specifically relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the ECD sector RESULTS: The two cases played an important role in: (1) reopening the ECD sector during the pandemic; and (2) making efforts to ensure that the sector could remain open. However, the cases were not based on a holistic rights-based approach to ECD, which remains an area for further development. CONCLUSION: The article concludes that litigation may play a significant role in advancing children's rights to ECD, particularly as a complement to broader social mobilisation strategies. The cases highlight the (1) need and potential for building a holistic rights-based foundation of ECD jurisprudence post the pandemic; and (2) strategic use of litigation interventions as part of broader mobilisation strategies. <![CDATA[<b>Priorities for access to early childhood development services for children with disabilities in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: South Africa has migrated the responsibility for early childhood development (ECD) centres from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Basic Education. This functional shift has ushered in consultations and discussions on how best to implement ECD, including opportunities the change may bring. AIM: By anchoring the understanding of ECD services in nurturing care, this study aimed to elucidate the provision of appropriate, inclusive services in early childhood development, including early childhood intervention, for children with disabilities in South Africa against the backdrop of the migration of services from one government ministry to another. METHODS: This is an analytical article based on South African literature on ECD services, including interventions, with particular attention to children with disabilities, basing our understanding of these services in nurturing care. RESULTS: We elucidate how the ideals of the Nurturing Care Framework can be achieved in the context of children with disabilities in South Africa using five themes: the need to localise services, developing tools and strategies for screening and early intervention, enhancing the efficacy of caregivers, supporting and training staff and collaborations. CONCLUSION: It is necessary to empower caregivers and professionals to address early childhood intervention and ECD needs of children with disabilities. Early childhood development centres are an important context for nurturing care, providing opportunities to promote and sustain health amongst a large number of children. Considering the function shift of ECD services in South Africa, these centres are well positioned to further nurturing care to children with disabilities through the provision of supportive environments that promote health and well-being. <![CDATA[<b>Classroom factors that contribute to emotional intelligence in the case of primary school learners</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: A healthy classroom climate has been related to the socioemotional development of learners. This, in turn, has been associated with an increase in academic success, intrapersonal skills and the quality of interpersonal relationships. AIM: This study aimed to investigate the impact of classroom climate on the emotional intelligence (EI) levels of South African primary school learners. The aim was also to determine which classroom factors promote, and which inhibit the development of EI. SETTING: A purposive sample of 119 primary school learners from six classes in two government schools in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal was drawn. Ethical clearance and permission for the study were obtained from the relevant stake holders. Informed consent was obtained from the parents or guardians as well as the participants. METHODS: The My Class Inventory (short form) (MCI-SF) and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (Child Short Form) (TEIQue-CSF) were administered. The former is a measure of classroom climate. Relations between classroom climate factors and EI were explored by means of Pearson's correlations and stepwise multiple regression analysis. ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare the performance of the learners in the different classes in terms of these variables. RESULTS: Results indicated a strong relation between classroom climate and EI; satisfaction and cohesiveness correlated positively with EI levels, whilst friction, competitiveness and difficulty correlated negatively with EI levels. CONCLUSION: The results contribute to the understanding of the development of a positive classroom climate. Intervention at classroom level might be a more viable option in resource-strapped contexts. <![CDATA[<b>Community's knowledge, attitude and practices towards inclusive home based early childhood education in Uganda: Lessons for scaling deep</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Most innovations that would help to provide inclusive home-based early learning for children in marginalised communities sometimes collapse when the funders pull out. One of the reasons for this has been lack of information on the dynamics in such communities that can help to sustain such innovations. AIM: This study aimed to provide information on what communities in the study area know, their attitude and practices that can sustain home-based early learning initiatives. SETTING: The study setting was in rural districts with marginalised communities, two in eastern and the other two in central Uganda. METHODS: This study uses an exploratory approach to collect data through interviews and focus group discussions in the selected Ugandan communities. Data were collected from 120 purposively sampled parents, caregivers and teachers using in-depth interviews RESULTS: 1) Participants support the establishment of inclusive home learning centres and already have learning expectations of their children by the age of 6 years. (2) While women are more available for early childhood care services, men are supportive of inclusive education. (3) Cases of children with special needs are more prevalent in the study area, suggesting that many more could be found than currently known. CONCLUSION: The study concludes that communities have preferences for some activities carried out in the centres if established. This study provides an advance information that is useful for planning by agencies and government departments that may want to support establishment of such centres in marginalised communities. <![CDATA[<b>Functional near-infrared spectroscopy as a tool to assess brain activity in educational settings: An introduction for educational researchers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Educational research has been conducted mainly by using behavioural approaches. Whilst such methods provide invaluable insights into the field, several important questions such as 'how do we learn?' and 'what mechanisms cause individual differences?' cannot be answered thoroughly by using only behavioural approaches. In the last three decades, the advances of neuroimaging technologies and computational power have allowed researchers to investigate these questions beyond behavioural measures that provide complementary knowledge about human brain. AIM: One of the most recent neuroimaging techniques that holds much promise for use in educational settings is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). This article aims to introduce the fNIRS technique to educational researchers interested in neurocognitive mechanisms of academic learning and achievements to further promote the growing field of Educational Neuroscience. METHOD: We present the properties of the fNIRS device, its basic principles and important considerations when planning an fNIRS study. RESULTS: Functional near-infrared spectroscopy is a portable, cost-effective and easy-to-handle neuroimaging device that allows experimentation in naturalistic settings such as in the school. CONCLUSION: Even though several articles describe different applications and technical features of the fNIRS technique, there is still a need for materials with a more accessible language for those unfamiliar with neuroscientific and technical terms. <![CDATA[<b>Corrigendum: Teachers' perspectives on learners with reading and writing difficulties in mainstream government primary schools in Mauritius</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Educational research has been conducted mainly by using behavioural approaches. Whilst such methods provide invaluable insights into the field, several important questions such as 'how do we learn?' and 'what mechanisms cause individual differences?' cannot be answered thoroughly by using only behavioural approaches. In the last three decades, the advances of neuroimaging technologies and computational power have allowed researchers to investigate these questions beyond behavioural measures that provide complementary knowledge about human brain. AIM: One of the most recent neuroimaging techniques that holds much promise for use in educational settings is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). This article aims to introduce the fNIRS technique to educational researchers interested in neurocognitive mechanisms of academic learning and achievements to further promote the growing field of Educational Neuroscience. METHOD: We present the properties of the fNIRS device, its basic principles and important considerations when planning an fNIRS study. RESULTS: Functional near-infrared spectroscopy is a portable, cost-effective and easy-to-handle neuroimaging device that allows experimentation in naturalistic settings such as in the school. CONCLUSION: Even though several articles describe different applications and technical features of the fNIRS technique, there is still a need for materials with a more accessible language for those unfamiliar with neuroscientific and technical terms. <![CDATA[<b>Quality assurance processes of language assessment artefacts and the development of language teachers' assessment competence</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100018&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: This article revisits the quality assurance (QA) processes instituted during the development of the Teacher Assessment Resources for Monitoring and Improving Instruction (TARMII) e-assessment tool. This tool was developed in response to evidence of a dearth in assessment expertise among South African teachers. The tool comprises a test builder and a repository of high-quality curriculum-aligned language item pool and administration-ready tests available for teacher usage to enhance learning. All assessment artefacts in the repository were subjected to QA processes prior to being field-tested and uploaded into the repository AIM: The aim of this study was to extract from the assessment artefacts' QA processes the lessons learned for possible development of language teachers' assessment competence SETTING: The reported work is based on the TARMII tool development project, which was jointly carried out by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the national education department in South Africa METHODS: Through employing an analytical reflective narrative approach, the article systematically retraces the steps followed in enacting the QA processes on the tool's assessment artefacts. These steps include the recruitment of suitably qualified and experienced assessment quality assurers, the training they had received and the actual review of the various assessment artefacts. The QA processes were enacted with the aim of producing high-quality assessment artefacts RESULTS: The language tests and item pool QA processes enacted are explained, followed by an explication of the lessons learned for language teachers' assessment writing and test development for the South African schooling context CONCLUSION: A summary of the article is provided in conclusion <![CDATA[<b>Preparing pre-service teachers to guide and support learning in South African schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100019&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Given the poor academic performance in many schools and the inequality in learning outcomes, there is an urgent need to improve teaching and learning in South African schools. Recognising the importance of preparing pre-service teachers to guide and support learning in varying schools in South Africa, we piloted a course in 2020 in which we taught final-year pre-service teacher education students a new way of designing lessons. The lesson design approach foregrounded learning AIM: The study aimed to address the question 'What are pre-service teachers' views on how the course prepared them for teaching?' SETTING: The study took place in the Department of Childhood Education at a South African university METHODS: The study followed an interpretive research approach. To generate data for the study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 pre-service teachers at the end of the academic year. In addition, I conducted stimulated recall interviews on lessons that the pre-service teachers designed RESULTS: The results indicated that the pre-service teachers viewed learning about the science of learning and competencies for a fast-changing world as valuable to enrich their teaching. Despite being aware that they still had some gaps in their understanding of some teaching strategies, the results showed that pre-service teachers valued the strategies they learned in the course CONCLUSION: Based on the findings, I conclude that the knowledge the pre-service teachers gained from the course has provided them with a sound basis to guide and support learning in varying school contexts <![CDATA[<b>Education and training experiences of early childhood care and education practitioners in rural and urban settings of Durban, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100020&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The education and training experiences of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) practitioners reflect gaps and inequalities in South Africa's educational system. Most South African ECCE centre practitioners do not have the appropriate qualifications to provide quality education to young learners AIM: The study aimed to explore how the education and training experiences of ECCE practitioners impact their professional identity in urban and rural settings in KwaZulu-Natal province and to develop a model that would enhance the education and training of ECCE practitioners SETTING: Ten participants were selected for this study: one centre head and four practitioners from a rural setting, and one centre head and four practitioners from an urban area METHODS: Wenger's social theory of learning was used to obtain an in-depth understanding of ECCE practitioners' education and training experiences and how they function as professional workers. An interpretative, qualitative case study was adopted. Data was collected through focus group semi-structured interviews and non-participants' observation and then analysed thematically RESULTS: The findings revealed that practitioners in rural settings had to contend with unfair working conditions daily, working all day in challenging circumstances whilst earning low incomes. Urban practitioners worked reasonable hours and received living wages, although they also experienced challenges such as a lack of parental involvement, lack of transport for children and high rates of absenteeism CONCLUSION: Inequalities between rural and urban practitioners existed concerning resources, salaries, working conditions and further study and professional growth opportunities. Ensuring that practitioners attain proper Early Childhood Care (ECC) qualifications will raise the profession's esteem amongst wider communities <![CDATA[<b>The home environment and parental involvement of preschoolers in Philippi, a low-income area: Do they hinder or support early learning?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100021&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Successful interventions targeting families can only occur through informed research findings. It is important that policymakers understand the unique household dynamics that low-income households face and the kinds of assistance they need to foster early learning and development at home AIM: To investigate the extent of parental involvement in the early learning of preschoolers in Philippi and the role of the home environment in promoting or hindering early learning and development SETTING: This study was conducted in Philippi, one of the biggest poor urban settlements in the city of Cape Town, South Africa METHODS: The researcher visited 20 early childhood development (ECD) facilities and 40 caregivers in Philippi. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the ECD principals, practitioners and caregivers RESULTS: The analysis of the results of the study revealed that, for the most part, preschoolers in Philippi live in household environments that do not encourage or support early learning and development. Moreover, parental involvement in such preschoolers is limited by the parents' unwillingness or inability to take up opportunities for involvement in the facility and to regularly engage in stimulation activities at home CONCLUSION: Given their low-income, low-educational status and general lack, parents need a clearer framework on how to become involved and how to provide a conducive household learning environment to preschoolers <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' perceptions about collaboration as a strategy to address key concepts in mathematics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100022&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The aim of the study is to investigate teachers' perceptions about peer collaborative work in designing lessons as a team helped them to identify threshold concepts in the teaching and learning of foundation phase mathematics in Motheo District of Education METHODS: A qualitative approach, with a case study design, was used to combine data from observation and focus group discussions, interviews and group task sheets Classroom observation was conducted during a workshop conducted by a subject advisor from the Motheo District of Education in collaboration with the researcher. Teachers were purposively selected from seven schools in the Motheo District of Education based on cluster sampling as a way of reviving their professional development through acquisition of mathematical teaching skills involving innovative approaches to teaching and learning of early childhood mathematics. Seven mathematics teachers, one from each school, were interviewed during the workshop. RESULTS: Underpinned by a collaborative theory, the findings of the study revealed that peer collaboration in mathematics teaching was key to helping them (participant teachers) identify threshold concepts in mathematics that they had initially found difficult as individual teachers. This assisted them in teaching the subject effectively at the foundation phase level. The study, furthermore, established that collaboration by mathematics teachers was necessary in order to overcome the paucity of global mathematics teaching skills for early childhood mathematics, to foster learners' knowledge of mathematical concepts and to stimulate their interest in the subject CONCLUSION: It is recommended that more structured collaborative work amongst teachers in general should be encouraged to enable teachers overcome the problem of content gap in their area of specialisation <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' experiences of using the screening, identification, assessment and support strategy to support learners who present with characteristics of dyslexia</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100023&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Education White Paper 6 (EWP6) and screening, identification, assessment and support (SIAS) promote inclusive education for all learners, including those who present with learning difficulties and are vulnerable to exclusion. The article reports on the experiences of teachers using the SIAS strategy to support learners who present with characteristics of dyslexia at a primary school in Gauteng AIM: The study sought to explore the experiences of teachers using the SIAS tool to support learners who present with characteristics of dyslexia at a primary school in Gauteng, South Africa SETTING: Three foundation, four intermediate, and two learning support educators participated in the study. The full service primary school has learners with mild learning difficulties METHOD: Three foundation, four intermediate, and two learning support educators participated in the study. The full service primary school has learners with mild learning difficulties RESULTS: Teachers experienced limited success in the implementation of the SIAS tool requiring further professional development CONCLUSION: The need for teacher training in the use of effective support strategies to assist learners who present with characteristics of dyslexia, is advocated for Teacher development for the effective implementation of the SIAS tool is recommended <![CDATA[<b>Children's development of an understanding of number: A model for Grade R teachers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100024&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Teachers teach mathematics by focusing on procedural knowledge (what steps to follow when doing mathematics) and pay scant attention to the conceptual understanding that underlies these procedures such as double-digit addition or subtraction and overall additive and multiplicative relations. They teach concepts in a haphazard way instead of looking at them from a convergent perspective of concepts that a child builds, one after the other AIM: This study explores what Grade R teachers know about young children's specific developmental numerical cognition and if they infuse their understanding of number concept development in their pedagogy SETTING: Samples of 15 female Grade R teachers were purposefully selected from five schools in what was previously a racially segregated living area in South Africa METHODS: This research design is a descriptive case study. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and observation notes documented during workshops and when the teachers implemented their learnings in their classrooms RESULTS: The main finding was that although teachers could reflect on the model of number concept development they had learned, they found it hard to infuse their knowledge into a strictly structured curriculum CONCLUSION: Despite the Meerkat Maths programme offered to the teachers, they could not rely on their intuitive pedagogy, coupled with the model of number concept development that they had learned because of the strict demands of the school curriculum content with which they had to comply <![CDATA[<b>Contextual variations and pedagogy in the teaching of first additional languages in Grade 1: A multicase study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100025&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The South African curriculum policy mandates the introduction of the first additional languages (FALs) teaching in Grade 1. Research on FAL teaching has been on the agenda in South Africa for more than a decade now. Several interventions in response to systemic findings have been made, yet little success is noted in terms of the advancement of FAL teaching in the foundation phase to a sustainable degree. Thus, there is a need for ongoing research in this focus area to enrich scholarly debates and the practice of FAL teaching with new insights AIM: This paper seeks to further these debates through its attempt to explore and present findings on whether the contextual variations in which schools are located have any influence on Grade 1 FAL teachers' pedagogical practices SETTING: The study was conducted in three geographically different Grade 1 classroom contexts, namely, urban, peri-urban and rural METHODS: This is an interpretivism qualitative small-scale multi-case study involving three Grade 1 teachers who taught FAL in three geographically different schools. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews, observations and post-observation interviews. Thematic data analysis was applied, and the results are presented as collated essential findings RESULTS: Findings revealed variances in the way teachers taught FAL. These variances were linked to their pedagogical practices as influenced by spatial variation, learners' exposure to second sites of FAL learning, to name a few CONCLUSION: The study calls for teachers to be courageous in developing innovative FAL teaching approaches, thereby influencing curriculum policy on how FAL may be taught in Grade 1 classrooms in different geographical contexts <![CDATA[<b>Developmental dyslexia in selected South African schools: Parent perspectives on management</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100026&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: South Africa has a dearth of research regarding the management of children with dyslexia (CWD), which could be exacerbated by the apparent lack of parental support. South Africa has a unique educational, linguistic and socio-economic context; thus, more specific investigations were warranted into the perspectives and needs of parents and caregivers of CWD in South Africa AIM: To determine the parental perspectives of the management of their CWD in South African schools SETTING: An online research survey was sent to South African parents with a CWD METHODS: A descriptive, embedded design, including both qualitative and quantitative aspects, was implemented. The study was cross-sectional in nature. Stratified sampling was used in which the participants were divided into two separate strata RESULTS: Results indicated that most parents of CWD had good knowledge regarding dyslexia in South Africa. Most parents with CWD had difficulty with the social stigma surrounding the disorder. Furthermore, parents were aware of their role in their CWD's education; however, a lack of resources was evident in South Africa leading to poor parental experiences CONCLUSION: There is a lack of resources and access to appropriate services such as multisensory teaching methods and accommodations in South Africa. Parents of CWD therefore did not receive enough support in the management of their child's dyslexia. Future research should be conducted regarding South African teachers' knowledge and perspectives regarding dyslexia and the management thereof. It was recommended that professionals trained in the management of dyslexia educate and advocate for CWD and their families <![CDATA[<b>The language of instruction in mathematics teacher education for the early grades</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100027&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Teaching mathematics in junior primary classroom requires an understanding of concepts and knowledge to communicate them applicably. The role of language of instruction is thus deemed significant in creating adequate insight into mathematical content. Teacher training institutions are therefore required to produce skilful teachers to utilise the mother tongue (MT) as medium of instructing mathematics AIM: Lecturers' perceptions on the use of MT in the teaching of mathematics is viewed crucial in determining the values and emphasis they place on the preparation of student teachers to effectively teach mathematics in MT. The study aims at uncovering the perceptions of mathematics lecturers regarding MT instruction in the University SETTING: The study was conducted at one of the University of Namibia campuses which train teachers METHODS: Purposive sampling was used to select four lecturers. Semistructured individual interviews were used to obtain lecturers' perspective on the stated issue RESULTS: Findings indicated that although lecturers were aware of the benefit of teaching mathematics in MT, not all were in agreement with teaching in MT especially at the university. Findings further indicated that there are various impediments for teaching mathematics in MT at the university including students' background and the lack of resources, including lecturers who speak the MT CONCLUSION: A recommendation deriving from the study is that two parallel policies for language in education are implemented, one pertaining to the school environment, under the control of the Ministry of Education, and one pertaining to the tertiary education, under the auspices of the university. For tertiary education it is advocated that courses embrace both the official English language, as well as the Mother Tongue, in equal proportions <![CDATA[<b>Towards circles of care and education: Exploring understandings of quality in early childhood development</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100028&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Early childhood development (ECD) is increasingly being recognised as vital for the care and education of our children, particularly in countries such as South Africa where vast social disparities have a significant influence on development and well-being AIM: This study aimed to explore and develop understandings of quality in early childhood care and education in a particular setting SETTING: The setting of this community research project is a small rural town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The project is facilitated by a non-governmental organisation affiliated with a university in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, working with participants from two neighbourhood hubs. This study coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic METHODS: Located in a social constructionist paradigm, the research methodology may be described as participatory, polyphonic and appreciative. Responses from simple, positively constructed questions, framed by dimensions of an ecological systems model, were interrogated through a multilayered process of content analysis RESULTS: Analysis of the data led to a range of themes and evidence of significant role players, around quality ECD. These were developed into two simple frameworks, capturing conceptual and contextual aspects of quality ECD: 'Quality Early Childhood Development' and 'Circles of Care and Education' CONCLUSION: The juxtaposition of the conceptual and contextual frames is offered as a simple, yet comprehensive, tool to scaffold ongoing research and support further development of quality ECD practice <![CDATA[<b>Play-based pedagogy: An approach to advance young children's holistic development</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100029&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Children's holistic development includes physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, moral and affective development and lies in early childhood development education (ECDE). According to research, children learn through different age-appropriate teaching and learning pedagogies. Therefore, the importance of implementing a play-based methodology in the early years. This study was underpinned by the theory of play as a spiral of learning AIM: This study aimed to demonstrate how a play-based pedagogy could be utilised to enhance holistic development in young children SETTING: Three ECD centres in Gauteng, South Africa participated in the Thutopapadi (play-based learning) research. The action learning set (ALS) consisted of one Grade R teacher and two practitioners; the Grade R facilitator and three North-West University researchers METHODS: We employed a qualitative approach within the participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) design to interrogate the extent to which a play-based pedagogy could be useful in enhancing the holistic development of young children. Transcriptions of meetings held by the ALS and photovoice were used to generate data. The participants reflected on and communicated about themes discussed during the ALS. We used the principles of thematic content analysis to analyse the generated data RESULTS: The results of this study proposed that to support holistic development in young children, practitioners and parents should maximise the use of a play-based methodology in both social and learning environments CONCLUSION: Follow-ups should be made to ensure that the pedagogy that is being used in early childhood development education centres corresponds with the needs for the development of young children <![CDATA[<b>How educators commit to enhancing children's participation in early childhood education pedagogical plans</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100030&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: This is a descriptive study of children's participation plans in early childhood education (ECE) settings in Finland. The study adopted a multidimensional approach to find out how practices of children's participation were conceived in pedagogical plans made by ECE staff, representing a focus that is rare in the existing body of research AIM: Aim of the study was to investigate educators' commitments to enhancing children's participation in pedagogical practices in their ECE settings SETTING: Ten centre-based plans for children's participation composed by ECE staff at ECE centres were selected for the document data in this study METHODS: This study employs the categorisation of the prerequisites and dimensions of children's participation in deductive qualitative content analysis (Turja 2017 RESULTS: Results of the analysis concludes that in early childhood education plans, there were comprehensive notions of prerequisites for participation. However, the study indicates that the level of participation varied between plans for different activities; it was highest in play and limited in terms of time and effect in other pedagogical and caregiving activities CONCLUSION: Understanding the prerequisites and dimensions of children's participation is fundamental for planning and enacting participative pedagogy in child groups at ECE centres. In conclusion, this study suggests how to support ECE staff in interpreting and implementing children's participation in early childhood education <![CDATA[<b>Associations between early numeracy and mathematics-specific vocabulary</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100031&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Early numeracy development is supported by linguistic features such as mathematics-specific vocabulary. Researchers have established a link between the amount and quality of children's exposure to mathematics-specific vocabulary and their numeracy learning. Studies have also shown that children from low socio-economic status are less exposed to mathematics-specific vocabulary and also tend to underperform on mathematics assessments. South African children consistently perform poorly on local and international mathematics assessments. AIM: To describe associations between numeracy and mathematics-specific vocabulary of the sample who participated in the study. SETTING: Participants in this study are from Quintile 1 schools and receive social grants from the South African government. METHOD: 133 Grade 1 and 2 children completed assessments for (1) early numeracy (MARKO-D SA), (2) mathematics-specific vocabulary (MMLT) and (3) early reading (EGRA). Correlation analyses were conducted to investigate associations between variables and developmental continuity of number concept development and reading skills were described. RESULTS: An association between numeracy and mathematics-specific vocabulary was found. The data confirm that number concepts and reading skills develop hierarchically. Although English-speaking children performed better on the numeracy assessment, isiZulu and Sesotho speakers performed better on the reading test. CONCLUSION: Mathematics-specific vocabulary is a key tool for early number concept development, also in isiZulu and Sesotho. Teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) should include how number concept development intersects with mathematics-specific vocabulary. Explicit teaching of mathematics-specific vocabulary should be included in the Foundation Phase curriculum. <![CDATA[<b>Grandparents raising their grandchildren: Implications for the vulnerable children of Eswatini</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100032&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Studies have shown that caregivers' economic constraints and emotional burdens have a negative implication both on their well-being and that of their children. For children raised by grandparents, age is also an additional dynamic that not only affects the grandparents but also affects the children they raise and other family members. However, poverty, HIV infection and AIDS have forced many children in Eswatini (formerly, Swaziland) to be in the care of their grandparents, hence raising concerns about their educational focus and achievement. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The study aims to comprehend the ways in which being raised by grandparents, influence the vulnerable children's schooling. The aim is to contribute insights to our understanding on how these children's education towards academic success could be enhanced. SETTING: Three rural primary schools in Eswatini were involved in the study. METHOD: The article draws on social constructionism and the multiple worlds' theory. A qualitative narrative approach was adopted using semi-structured individual and focus-group interviews for data generation. The participants included nine purposively selected vulnerable boys and girls, raised by their grandparents, within the age range of 11-13 years. RESULTS: The findings indicate that most of these grandparents were far from the reality and were unaware of the importance of education, thus they did not give any motivation or support towards their grandchildren's education. When they became very old, sick and bedridden, they also became an extra burden in ways that ended up affecting the children's schooling. CONCLUSION: The study recommends the inception and embracing of social justice and inclusive education in the schools as one-way teachers could tailor their pedagogical practices to meet individual learners' educational needs. <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' experiences of indigenous games in the early grades</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100033&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: This research foregrounds inclusive education (IE) values by way of indigenous games. The outline of the South African national curriculum states that its main aim is to teach its children and youth to become members of a refinement that supports the values which are democratic, the human rights, and communal justice. However, the associated instructional methodologies that have long been a societal tool in instilling these values at an early stage of child development have been largely disregarded in achieving this goal. Indigenous games rely on specific values and traits from children's cultural heritage. AIM: The study aimed to find out how teachers experience the use of indigenous games in teaching mathematics in IE schools. SETTING: Six IE schools in the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. METHODS: Semistructured interviews and teacher narratives, framed by the philosophy of ubuntu, were employed to generate data. These data were analysed in conventional qualitative methodology fashion. RESULTS: The study showed that teachers believe that indigenous games encourage and endorse spontaneous interaction among learners as they communicate with their classmates and recognise the form of play from their community life. CONCLUSION: Teachers require specialised IE programmes as well as pedagogical formats to advance indigenous games. <![CDATA[<b>Early Childhood Care and Education teachers' experiences of integrating the activities of the national curriculum framework into themes</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100034&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Integrating teaching and learning activities around the selected themes was acknowledged as an effective way to manage learning in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) sector. It was also ensured for the desired results and highest opportunity to prepare young children for school readiness in the South African National Curriculum Framework (NCF). AIM: The aim of this study was to explore ECCE teachers' experiences of integrating activities from the six early learning developmental areas (ELDAs) of the NCF into the selected themes. SETTING: This interpretive case study was conducted with six purposively selected ECCE teachers from three centres that followed the guidelines of the NCF for the development of young children in the Umbumbulu rural area in KwaZulu-Natal province. METHODS: The study was framed within the transformative learning theory and qualitative data were generated using semi-structured interviews and document analysis that were inductively analysed using the data analysis spiral. RESULTS: The findings show integration as a collaborative venture for teachers to interpret the NCF, select themes, and identify and integrate activities from the six ELDAs when planning lessons. Natural, indigenous themes and man-made resources were used to overcome the shortage of teaching resources. Challenges occurred from the lack of play resources and the support from department officials. CONCLUSION: This study recommends more teamwork for ECCE teachers to understand the objectives of the NCF for purposeful planning to meet young children's learning needs and school preparedness in the ECCE sector. Further research is recommended in the ECCE sector. <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' perceptions of ability grouping in the face of policy on inclusion: A case of Johannesburg metropolitan mainstream primary schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100035&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: This article reports findings of a qualitative study that investigated teachers' perceptions on the use of ability grouping as a classroom pedagogical practice at selected primary schools in South Africa in the wake of the inclusive education movement. Ability grouping is one of the most used grouping practices in South African schools, but little is known about how teachers view it in the wake of the policy on inclusion. AIM: This study was aimed at exploring the mainstream classroom teachers' perceptions about the use of ability grouping in the classrooms and how it reflects on principles of inclusive education. SETTING: A total of ten teachers from ten different primary schools, two from each district, were purposefully selected to participate in the study. METHODS: A qualitative approach was used in this study. Data were collected through in-depth interviews, which were conducted on two occasions with each participant at their respective schools. Data were analysed thematically for content and returned to participants for accuracy checking. RESULTS: Findings revealed that teachers perceive ability grouping as capable of facilitating interactions of learners with learning disabilities, offering opportunities for differentiated instruction and facilitating proper use of teaching and learning media. Despite its benefits, ability grouping can be viewed as contrasting with the ideals of inclusive pedagogy and perpetuating exclusion, as diverse learners are not given opportunities to learn together in the same groups. CONCLUSION: The article recommends that ability grouping should be withdrawn as it perpetuates incidents of learner labelling. Differentiated instruction and the provision of varied teaching/learning media should be carried out within inclusive settings to prevent incidents of learner labelling. A model for an inclusive grouping practice is proposed. CONTRIBUTION: The study findings will help in improving teachers' competencies and understanding of inclusive classroom pedagogic practices that benefit all learners at primary school levels despite their differences. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a problem-posing pedagogy: Using teacher-in-role in a special needs classroom</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100036&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Teacher-in-role (t-i-r) drama method is explored as a pedagogical approach that can transform special needs curricula in South Africa. AIM: To use t-i-r to create a collaborative educational environment between learners and teachers. This article drew on Paulo Freire's problem-posing pedagogy as a framework that encourages critical thinking and engagement. SETTING: The study took place in the Skills Phase classroom, which handles school-to-workplace transitions at a local special school in a small town. METHODS: This practice-led research study reflects on the uses of Dorothy Heathcote's teacher-in-role to extend the curriculum beyond the Foundation Phase (Grade 3) level. The lessons involved a series of practical cross-curricular drama lessons that integrated topics from the Life Orientation (Grade 10-12) and the Drama (Creative Arts Grade 7-9) curriculum. The topics encouraged better linkages to work environment capabilities such as communication and problem-solving. RESULTS: The findings revealed that combining drama-based pedagogy with Freire's problem-posing pedagogy can help learners become decision-makers and problem-solvers in the classroom. As a result, the learners improved their critical thinking skills, self-esteem and confidence. CONCLUSION: The paper showed how drama-based pedagogy within a South African context of learning disability is an area that remains untapped, thus advocating for the uses of this approach as a possibility in improving special needs curricular implementation and practice. CONTRIBUTION: The research provided insight into the care and education of special needs learners. Thus, it contributes to the growing academic literature on Drama-in-education (D-i-E) and inclusion in special needs schools in drama practices in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Investigating the prevalence and comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and developmental dyslexia in learners in a South African practice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100037&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are marked comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders with an estimated bidirectional comorbidity of 25% - 40%. Previous international studies have identified strong hereditary and neurological overlap between these disorders, but the comorbidity of these developmental disorders in a South African practice has not yet been explored. METHODS: This retrospective study aimed to investigate the co-existence of ADHD and the specific learning disorder (SLD) related to reading known as developmental dyslexia (DD). Additionally, the study sought to determine possible correlations between the overlapping diagnostic factors of the two developmental disorders. The study database consisted of 847 learners ranging from 8 to 18 years of age. Study data were obtained through a parent questionnaire regarding scholastic difficulties as well as prior ADHD diagnosis and/or treatment. A comprehensive psychometric assessment of DD was conducted on each participant in the first language of educational instruction, that is English or Afrikaans, to establish a direct dyslexia diagnosis as inclusion criterion. RESULTS: Of the 847 participants analysed in this study, 38.6% presented with a co-existing diagnosis of both ADHD and DD. However, there was no evidence of statistically significant interdependency between overlapping diagnostic factors of these two disorders. CONCLUSIONS: The zero-correlations in the mentioned areas may indicate an overlap of shared symptoms rather than of distinctive diagnostic approaches. <![CDATA[<b>Nutrition knowledge competencies of intermediate and senior phase educators in Limpopo Province</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100038&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Children's food preferences and willingness to try new foods are influenced by the people around them, including families and teachers. The eating behaviours children practise early in life may continue to shape their food attitudes and eating patterns through adulthood. AIM: The purpose of this study was to explore the nutrition knowledge competencies of educators in primary schools. SETTING: This study was conducted in Makhuduthamaga local municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa. METHODS: This study adopted a quantitative, descriptive and exploratory research design. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 30 primary schools and purposively select 200 educators responsible for Grades 5-7. The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS), version 21. RESULTS: Of the 200 educators, 66.5% were women and 34% were trained at a college and had teaching experience of between 21 and 30 years. Most of the educators knew the importance of carbohydrates, fat, vegetables and fruits. Only a quarter (26%) of educators knew the importance of protein, although 75.5% knew that protein forms part of a balanced diet. The overall knowledge score revealed that 92% of the educators had a poor knowledge score. There was no significant difference among selected socio-demographic characteristics, such as level of education (p = 0.129), training institution (p = 0.534) and nutrition knowledge (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: The overall nutrition knowledge of educators was poor, with about half of the educators reporting that their training was the main determinant of their nutrition knowledge. Therefore, there is a need for the incorporation of nutrition content into the training curriculum of educators. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a problem-posing pedagogy: Using teacher-in-role in a special needs classroom</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100039&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Teacher-in-role (t-i-r) drama method is explored as a pedagogical approach that can transform special needs curricula in South Africa. AIM: To use t-i-r to create a collaborative educational environment between learners and teachers. This article drew on Paulo Freire's problem-posing pedagogy as a framework that encourages critical thinking and engagement. SETTING: The study took place in the Skills Phase classroom, which handles school-to-workplace transitions at a local special school in a small town. METHODS: This practice-led research study reflects on the uses of Dorothy Heathcote's teacher-in-role to extend the curriculum beyond the Foundation Phase (Grade 3) level. The lessons involved a series of practical cross-curricular drama lessons that integrated topics from the Life Orientation (Grade 10-12) and the Drama (Creative Arts Grade 7-9) curriculum. The topics encouraged better linkages to work environment capabilities such as communication and problem-solving. RESULTS: The findings revealed that combining drama-based pedagogy with Freire's problem-posing pedagogy can help learners become decision-makers and problem-solvers in the classroom. As a result, the learners improved their critical thinking skills, self-esteem and confidence. CONCLUSION: The paper showed how drama-based pedagogy within a South African context of learning disability is an area that remains untapped, thus advocating for the uses of this approach as a possibility in improving special needs curricular implementation and practice. CONTRIBUTION: The research provided insight into the care and education of special needs learners. Thus, it contributes to the growing academic literature on Drama-in-education (D-i-E) and inclusion in special needs schools in drama practices in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Investigating the prevalence and comorbidity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and developmental dyslexia in learners in a South African practice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100040&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are marked comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders with an estimated bidirectional comorbidity of 25% - 40%. Previous international studies have identified strong hereditary and neurological overlap between these disorders, but the comorbidity of these developmental disorders in a South African practice has not yet been explored. METHODS: This retrospective study aimed to investigate the co-existence of ADHD and the specific learning disorder (SLD) related to reading known as developmental dyslexia (DD). Additionally, the study sought to determine possible correlations between the overlapping diagnostic factors of the two developmental disorders. The study database consisted of 847 learners ranging from 8 to 18 years of age. Study data were obtained through a parent questionnaire regarding scholastic difficulties as well as prior ADHD diagnosis and/or treatment. A comprehensive psychometric assessment of DD was conducted on each participant in the first language of educational instruction, that is English or Afrikaans, to establish a direct dyslexia diagnosis as inclusion criterion. RESULTS: Of the 847 participants analysed in this study, 38.6% presented with a co-existing diagnosis of both ADHD and DD. However, there was no evidence of statistically significant interdependency between overlapping diagnostic factors of these two disorders. CONCLUSIONS: The zero-correlations in the mentioned areas may indicate an overlap of shared symptoms rather than of distinctive diagnostic approaches. <![CDATA[<b>Nutrition knowledge competencies of intermediate and senior phase educators in Limpopo Province</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100041&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Children's food preferences and willingness to try new foods are influenced by the people around them, including families and teachers. The eating behaviours children practise early in life may continue to shape their food attitudes and eating patterns through adulthood. AIM: The purpose of this study was to explore the nutrition knowledge competencies of educators in primary schools. SETTING: This study was conducted in Makhuduthamaga local municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa. METHODS: This study adopted a quantitative, descriptive and exploratory research design. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 30 primary schools and purposively select 200 educators responsible for Grades 5-7. The data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS), version 21. RESULTS: Of the 200 educators, 66.5% were women and 34% were trained at a college and had teaching experience of between 21 and 30 years. Most of the educators knew the importance of carbohydrates, fat, vegetables and fruits. Only a quarter (26%) of educators knew the importance of protein, although 75.5% knew that protein forms part of a balanced diet. The overall knowledge score revealed that 92% of the educators had a poor knowledge score. There was no significant difference among selected socio-demographic characteristics, such as level of education (p = 0.129), training institution (p = 0.534) and nutrition knowledge (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: The overall nutrition knowledge of educators was poor, with about half of the educators reporting that their training was the main determinant of their nutrition knowledge. Therefore, there is a need for the incorporation of nutrition content into the training curriculum of educators. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges for Palestinian early childhood directors in a time of change</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100042&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Current research suggests that there is a serious need to improve the quality and equity of early childhood education (ECE) services to children. The focus of the Palestinian Ministry of Education is on developing ECE. This plan is in a state of continual progress and development. AIM: The aim of this paper is to discuss the context for leadership in Palestinian ECE in a time of change and as Palestine reforms and develops its ECE system. Specifically, the study sets out to investigate what key leadership challenges are being experienced by Palestinian early childhood directors. SETTING: This paper presents the findings of a study examining the challenges that Palestinian ECE directors face in the performance of their jobs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The data were collected during the summer of 2020 METHODS: An open-ended questionnaire was used to collect data from a purposeful sample of 166 ECE directors, both government and private, by way of Google survey techniques and through face-to-face structured interviews with 10 directors. Descriptive qualitative research method was used in the study. RESULTS: The findings revealed challenges related to finance, parents, higher administration, educators, physical environment, social/cultural matters, children and, finally, politics and economics. CONCLUSION: This study concludes with major recommendations in respect of the following: developing qualification programmes for ECE directors at the pre-service and in-service levels and building new ECE centres that are suitable for children. Finally, it is important that Palestinian children have the right to a safe and secure life and that they have free and safe access to education without threat, harassment or violation of any kind. <![CDATA[<b>Adaptation to digital parenting in a pandemic: A case study of parents within higher education</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100043&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Using digital tools with children during the pandemic has positive and negative impacts. However, we must investigate how parents with higher education qualifications best apply digital parenting. AIM: The aim of this article was to explore the practice of digital parenting with parents with higher education backgrounds, the digital tools used and the parents' motivation during the pandemic. SETTING: This research was conducted with parents who work as university lecturers in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Indonesia. METHODS: This study involved 27 lecturers with children in early childhood education. Data were collected using structured interview techniques and analysed using presentation, reduction and verification techniques. The validity of the data was ensured through the triangulation of sources and the extension of the research time. RESULTS: The results show that applying restrictive mediation through various regulations in using smartphones coupled with authoritative parenting is the leading choice for parents. During the pandemic, parents give children more freedom and time to use smartphones; therefore, they have to adjust their parenting patterns to counteract the negative impacts caused by these digital devices. However, the lack of parenting support, many work schedules and limited interaction time with children can affect this parenting style CONCLUSION: Parents can implement a successful digital parenting transition during a pandemic. Support, motivation, communication, supervision, rules and restrictions imposed on children to continue to use smartphones according to their age are important factors to ensure parenting success in the digital era. <![CDATA[<b>Teaching English home language to foundation phase learners from diverse backgrounds</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100044&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Teaching English as home language (EHL) could be a complicated process in a country like South Africa, where there are eleven official languages operating in a multicultural society. This requires capacitating teachers with appropriate and relevant strategies to strengthen their teaching, especially in the foundation phase. AIM: This paper examines the appropriateness and relevance of the extant strategies for teaching EHL comprehension skills to foundation phase learners from diverse language backgrounds. SETTING: This study was conducted in King Cetshwayo District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. METHODS: This was a qualitative case study involving four purposively selected grade one teachers in one urban primary in South Africa. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews, field observations and document analysis. Content analysis was used to analyse the data RESULTS: The two main findings were that (a) the teaching of EHL comprehensions skills lacked the appropriate strategies, and (b) the teachers faced several challenges - including operating under an unclear policy framework, the paucity of strategies in phonological awareness, and the lack of appropriate reflection images to which the learners could be exposed to improve their skills. CONCLUSION: The study concludes that adequate and regular professional teacher development programmes and activities are needed to enable teachers to do their work more effectivel. CONTRIBUTION: By closely and systematically examining the strategies used by teachers who were non-native English speakers, to teach EHL to leaners who were also non-native English speakers, this study has made important contributions to both attendant theory and classroom practice. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring South African preschool teachers' roles and responsibilities with executive functions</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100045&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: South African studies based on school readiness found that most children who commence formal schooling (from Grade 1) lack the basic skills needed to adapt within the learning environment - these include having challenges to follow instructions, work autonomously or focus on a task. AIM: The national guideline for teaching children between birth to 9 years does not specify how early childhood education programmes can facilitate or strengthen executive function (EF) skills through structured play. Structured play, can be understood as play activities that require guidance and instructions for completion. During the activities, the participants have to follow instructions in order to attain the outcome. Hence, there is a need to explore how EF skills can be developed through structured play. From our understanding, EF is an individual's cognitive ability to regulate thoughts and actions needed to complete a task. Executive function skills assist learners to adjust and work effectively later (Grade 1) in a formal learning environment to perform academically SETTING: The study was conducted at preschool sites that follow different educational approaches. They are Montessori, National Curriculum Framework (NCF), Reggio Emilia and Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) preschools. The preschools are situated in affluent suburbs of Pretoria, Gauteng. In this article, learners refer to children aged 4 years in the Grade RRR class. METHODS: A qualitative multiple case study design was utilised. We interacted with two teachers from four schools who followed different educational approaches. The data collection techniques included individual semi-structured interviews, lesson observation and document analysis, whilst photographs and field notes were taken when the teacher-participants interacted with learners during a planned learning experience. The generated data sets were inductively analysed and interpreted using the theoretical frameworks of sociocultural theory and metacognition. RESULTS: The interpreted data sets revealed that the preschool teacher-participants can facilitate EF using games, songs, movement exercises or racing competitions. The participants explained that indoor, outdoor and learning experiences facilitated EF skills such as self-regulation, working memory and cognitive flexibility during structured play. CONCLUSION: There is a need for preschool teachers to identify EF in the curriculum and know how to link and intentionally include the skills in daily learning experiences. This will ensure learners acquire EF and apply it in formal learning environments. The contribution to the body of scholarship is the development of guidelines for teachers to intentionally and explicitly develop EF skills using structured play. We confer that teachers play a role in enabling fun, engaging and hands-on activities that promote the acquisition of EF in the early years. <![CDATA[<b>Teacher educators' experiences of the shift to remote teaching and learning due to COVID-19</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822022000100046&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020 meant that many higher education institutions (HEIs) had to shift rapidly to remote teaching and learning (RTL). Given the unique demands of teacher education programmes, the question of the extent to which RTL and similar modes of teaching and learning are suited to the preparation of primary school teachers to teach in South African schools is an important one AIM: The aim of the study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of teacher educators (TEs) towards this rapid shift to RTL SETTING: The study took place in one department in a faculty of education in an urban South African university METHODS: This study took the form of a qualitative case study. Data was gathered by means semistructured individual interviews and focus group discussions RESULTS: Firstly, it was found that mixed responses to the change to RTL at the outset gave way to a general consensus about the long-term value of blended learning. Secondly, it was found that the change to RTL had a positive effect on TEs' teaching, given increased familiarity with, and integration of, technology, as well as the accompanying revisions to both pedagogy and curricula. Thirdly, the data showed that TEs perceived RTL as limiting because of two main factors, namely students' lack of information and communication technology (ICT) resources and because, in their estimation, teacher education uniquely requires contact teaching. Finally, it was found that the change to RTL created additional psychological stressors for both students and staff CONCLUSION: Based on this study's findings, the authors advocate for more recognition and support for the emotional work performed by TEs during times of transition. They also argue that TEs should be given more responsibility in moulding blended teaching and learning practices according to their experiences of the successes and challenges of RTL