Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Childhood Education]]> vol. 8 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Arts across the curriculum as a pedagogic ally for primary school teachers</b>]]> The arts as a pedagogic medium can be an important tool for language learning, and yet many teachers avoid it, often because of a lack of confidence. The main purpose of this study was to explore the possibility of generalist educators, as opposed to art specialists, using the arts successfully as a cross-curricular tool to accelerate English First Additional Language acquisition. Most South African learners speak African languages as a mother tongue, yet they are taught in English from Grade 4 onwards. With the use of an action research project, learners' English proficiency was assessed with a custom-designed tool and, thereafter, they participated in 10 weekly sessions of arts-integrated English activities before being re-assessed. Positive results confirmed that generalist educators are able to utilise arts, and it showed the urgency for more focused arts-integrated educational training in generalist educator courses at South African universities. Although the research was limited in scope, it raises the question of how teachers for the primary school are educated with regard to learning a language with the use of the arts. <![CDATA[<b>Weaving in connections: Studying changes in early grades additive relations teaching</b>]]> In this article, we present aspects of teaching that draw attention to connections - both within and between examples - in order to explore the potential objects of learning that are brought into being in the classroom space and thus what is made available to learn. Our focus is on exploring differences in teaching over time, in the context of learning study style development activity of additive relation problems in three Grade 3 classes in South Africa. In a context where highly-localised and fragmented instruction has been noted, this study reports on the nature and extent of changes in connections in instruction over time. The application of a coding framework focused on simultaneity and connections in teaching points to a richer range of structural relationships within examples, and more connecting work between examples in the second year in comparison to the first year. <![CDATA[<b>Gender effects on phonological processing and reading development in Northern Sotho children learning to read in English: A case study of Grade 3 learners</b>]]> Gender differences in reading development are a global phenomenon, with girls typically performing better than boys. Some studies have reported gender differences favouring girls in reading comprehension in South Africa, but little systematic evidence exists about gender differences in the cognitive-linguistic abilities that underlie reading development. This study investigated the effect of gender on phonological processing and reading development in Northern Sotho-English bilingual children. Grade 3 learners who received their literacy instruction in English were tested on various phonological processing and reading measures. Phonological awareness was assessed using phoneme isolation and elision tasks. Phonological working memory was assessed using memory for digits and non-word repetition tests while rapid automatised naming was tested using rapid letter, rapid digit, rapid object and rapid colour naming tasks. Reading achievement was assessed with various word reading tasks and with a fluent reading task. A multivariate analysis of variance revealed that gender had a significant effect on the phonological processing and reading abilities of Northern Sotho-English bilingual children. Girls performed significantly better than boys on all the reading measures, as well as on some aspects of phonological processing. The findings provide behavioural evidence in support of biological theories of gender differences, in that girls seemed to have developed some of the cognitive-linguistic skills associated with reading before boys. The girls also coped better with tasks that required increased cognitive processing. This study suggests that sex differences in reading development cannot be ignored in South Africa and need to be addressed in future curriculum development. <![CDATA[<b>Developing mindfulness in children through participation in music activities</b>]]> The vast majority of young South African children grow up in socially- and economically-challenging settings. These impeding conditions hamper their intellectual growth and affect their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Increasingly, mindfulness is being recognised as a means to enhance holistic well-being of children. Likewise, music is widely acknowledged for its potential contribution to the holistic development of children. In this article, we reflect on a non-formal music programme, implemented on a weekly basis over a period of 10 months, at an aftercare facility in an impoverished township area in South Africa. Our aim was to develop, through the children's active participation in music activities, some aspects of mindfulness. Data were generated through personal observations, field notes and semi-structured interviews. Two salient themes emerged, namely, enhanced awareness of self and others, and improved listening and attention skills. These are key aspects of mindfulness. We subsequently argue that aspects of mindfulness in young children can be developed through focused activities centred on music and sound. <![CDATA[<b>Infant and toddler educare: A challenge to neoliberalism</b>]]> We contend that the conventions, practices and philosophies underpinning working with infants and toddlers provide an alternative way of viewing early childhood work, and such a perspective may well help to challenge the 'wicked problem' of neoliberalism. It is in this context that we propose that a deeper understanding of the perspectives of those professionals working with our youngest children in a range of different countries may inform a wider resistance to neoliberalism across all of early childhood. We seek, in this article, to share the voices of early childhood professionals reflecting on the manner in which they understand work with infants and toddlers, and how this relates to their understanding of issues related to education and care. We hope this exploration will lead us into further refining our argument that infant and toddler pedagogy has the potential to challenge the hegemony of neoliberalism in early childhood. Our dream is to steer early childhood away from the tyranny of standardisation, accountability and economic rationality into a space where children are valued for being, where individuality and diversity flourish, where learning academics is one (relatively unimportant) element amongst many others and where relationships and participation (and dare we say, happiness) reign supreme. <![CDATA[<b>Investigating teacher learning from a university programme for Foundation Phase teachers</b>]]> BACKGROUND: There is a growing focus in South Africa on teachers developing appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions for teaching to support young learners' development and learning. One such teacher development programme is the Advanced Certificate in Teaching for Foundation Phase teachers, offered by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). This research sought to establish the learning of this sample of teachers as this was the first time the programme was offered at this level in South Africa and in UKZN. AIM: The study investigated the knowledge the teachers said they gained, how they acquired it and ways in which they said learning improved their classroom practices. METHODS: This was a qualitative study. Data were generated from 26 participants through two rounds of focus group interviews in June 2013 and in November 2014. Data were analysed thematically using concepts of accommodation or assimilation, and practical or conceptual knowledge. RESULTS: Respondents' statements indicated development of a range of practical knowledge about planning and teaching strategies, and conceptual knowledge like child development, creative play, circle of courage and others. Teachers also reported ways in which their classroom practices had improved. However, both institution- and student-related learning barriers emerged during the first semester around programme demands and poor curriculum delivery. CONCLUSION: Respondents reported more about acquiring practical than conceptual knowledge and having improved practices in many ways. Participants also reported gaining conceptual knowledge around child development, circle of courage, and learning barriers. They acquired these kinds of knowledge through both assimilation and accommodation. <![CDATA[<b>A Finnish model of teacher education informs a South African one: A teaching school as a pedagogical laboratory</b>]]> In this study, we examined student teachers' learning during their teaching placement period in Finland and South Africa. The setting of the inquiry in both countries was a 'teaching' school, affiliated to a university teacher education programme. The teaching school is also referred to as an educational innovation that was transferred from the Finnish context to the South African context. Data were collected through an interview protocol. The findings show that the students, like many of their counterparts in different parts of the world, focused on teaching tools and methods as well as classroom management as a gateway to their teaching career. The extended teaching placement period at both the university teaching schools was expected to yield some findings about the intersection of teaching practice and its supporting theories because of the close collaboration of the schools and the universities. Some of the findings satisfied this expectation while other parts did not, confirming that initial teacher education may be regarded as a platform for learning to be teachers, but it has its own limits even in a pedagogical 'laboratory'. The transfer of the educational innovation was regarded as successful. <![CDATA[<b>A blueprint for data-based English reading literacy instructional decision-making</b>]]> Making decisions about English reading instruction is as core a component to teaching as providing the instruction itself. When providing support to learners at risk for poor reading outcomes, for which currently there is a large percentage in South Africa, it is especially important to ensure that the decisions that are made have the highest likelihood of accuracy as possible and they lead to improving those reading outcomes. The learners with the greatest needs require the most accurate and effective decisions. Now more than ever, effective use of reading literacy assessment data to plan and critically review instruction is a fundamental competency for good teaching. The purpose of this article is to provide districts, schools and teachers with a blueprint for data-based English reading literacy instructional decision-making at a system-wide level. <![CDATA[<b>Imaginative play and reading development among Grade R learners in KwaZulu-Natal: An ethnographic case study</b>]]> This article argues that imaginative play can fulfil a valuable role in the development of reading among pre-school children. It uses Feuerstein's Mediated Learning Experience as a theoretical lens and defines the concepts related to imaginative play, focussing particularly on symbolic and dramatic play. Drawing on an ethnographic case study of the reading development of four pre-schoolers, aged between 5 and 6, in their home environments in KwaZulu-Natal, it shows how imaginative play is a generative aspect of early reading in the home. It is through imaginative play that the children were able to make sense of what they had read, transfer it to other contexts and explore its implications in a child-centred way. Imaginative play can take early reading from the realms of print and digital media into those of movement, dressing-up, role-playing, visual and aural stimulation - holistic and integrative ways of 'comprehending' the text. The article concludes with a discussion of the challenges and potential pedagogical implications of the research findings. <![CDATA[<b>Service-learning through Art Education</b>]]> Intermediate Phase students in the Bachelor of Education programme who elect art as one of their majors often experience problems in the teaching of art at schools during teaching practice. To overcome this problem, a service-learning project was designed by which students were granted the opportunity to teach art to children from a children's home. This project proved to be a valuable component in curriculum studies in the fourth year of Art Education. To determine in which way and to what extent art lessons contribute to the development of children and students, a case study was conducted. Data were obtained from studying their conduct and the results of their work. Additional data were drawn from interviews with caregivers at the home and discussions with children to determine to what extent art classes had an effect on their lives. Student evaluations and interviews upon completion of the project provided data which emphasised the reciprocal nature of this service-learning project. Considering the data, inferences can be drawn about the value of service-learning to learners and students, accompanied with suggestions for the future development of the project. <![CDATA[<b>Diagnostic test for number concept development during early childhood</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This article presents the Afrikaans translation of an originally German diagnostic test for early number concept development. The process of 'importing' a test to South Africa by considering linguistic-, functional-, cultural and metric equivalence is outlined. A theoretical model describes five levels of young children's hierarchical number concept development which collectively contribute to early mathematical understanding. The five-level hierarchical structure has previously been confirmed by testing the theoretical model in a one-dimensional Rasch analysis in Germany AIM: The current study aimed to determine whether the individual items, allocated to test the concepts of each level of the Afrikaans translation of the diagnostic test, confirm the hierarchical structure of the theoretical model SETTING: A Rasch analysis indicated that the model was fit for the Afrikaans translation. A sample of 165 Afrikaans-speaking grade one children was tested in six Afrikaans medium primary schools in Gauteng METHODS: Analysis of fit values, person and item reliability and a person-item map was used as part of a Rasch analysis RESULTS: The theoretical model of hierarchical number concept development holds for the Afrikaans MARKO-D. Five levels were clearly distinguishable on a Write map and the individual items tested the concepts according to the levels of the theoretical model CONCLUSION: The Afrikaans MARKO-D can now successfully be used to describe young Afrikaans children's number concept development. A five-level theoretical model is a useful tool for teachers using the MARKO-D to assess young children's numerical competence <![CDATA[<b>'Clutch-the-ear' and get enrolled: The antagonistic intrusion of indigenous knowledge systems to the detriment of contemporary educational developments</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The use of non-conventional methods of measurement is a long-established practice in most societies AIM: To investigate the effectiveness of non-conventional methods of measurement in the placement of children in schools in general and the 'clutch-the-ear' and get enrolled age measurement practice in particular. To expose the shortfalls of a classroom setup in which age-for-grade enrolment is distorted SETTING: Zimbabwe METHODS: Literature review and researchers experiences RESULTS: The use of non-conventional methods has both pros and cons. The practice can be hailed for showing the indigenous knowledge systems as giving, to an extent, transparent and accurate maturity prediction ways that require preservation. However, it works perfectly for people of average height while prejudicing the outliers. The immediate conspicuous consequence is the late enrolment of the affected. In the case of the 'clutch-the-ear' and get enrolled measure, findings are discussed below CONCLUSION: The use of non-conventional methods of age measurement unobtrusively upsets education quality through facilitating stereotyping, discrimination and age-heterogeneous classes. Researchers propose a 'backward-integration-enrolment' strategy; getting into communities to enrol not to wait for the community to bring children to school <![CDATA[<b>Absent fathers' socio-economic status and perceptions of fatherhood as related to developmental challenges faced by children in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: There has been increased attention to the problem of fathers' absenteeism and fathers' participation in the socio-educational development of children among scholars in South Africa in the last decade. Studies have been carried out on extent, causes and possible interventions for fathering in the country. The majority of these studies have adopted a qualitative research approach, which has limited their ability to determine scientifically the cause-effect relationships that exist among several factors identified as the causes and the problems generated by fathers' absenteeism, hence this study AIM: The aim is to determine which of the socio-economic factors as well as the fathers' perception would significantly determine the challenges faced by the children SETTING: The study was carried out in one of the universities that have Foundation Phase teacher education programmes in Eastern Cape Province METHODS: Ex post facto research design was adopted to carry out this study. The sample of the study is 300 participants, out of which 43% are male and 57% are female participants; 78% of the teachers are black, 13% are white, 7% are mixed race and 2% are Indian RESULTS: There is a significant composite contribution of socio-economic factors and fathers' perception on developmental challenges faced by the children (F(6, 293) = 3.74; p < 0.05) among other findings CONCLUSION: Inculcation of fathering skills in secondary schools for boys and establishment of a government agency that will ensure equal opportunities for socio-economic status of South African fathers irrespective of their race were recommended <![CDATA[<b>The motivational roles of heads of department in learners' performance and quality of schooling in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Global Competitiveness report shows that the quality of primary education in South Africa ranks 132 out of 144 countries. Statistics released by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa reveal that the average mark for Grade 3 learners in the Annual National Assessment (ANA) was 35% for literacy and 28% for numeracy AIM: We seek in this article to share the voices of the Foundation Phase heads of departments (HoDs) regarding their motivational roles and responsibilities in learner performance. We also aim to understand their role in tandem with other contributors, as well as all stakeholders in the Department of Basic Education who are responsible for teacher development and curriculum delivery SETTING: Ehlanzeni, Bohlabela, Gert Sibande and Nkangala in Mpumalanga METHODS: A quantitative research approach was used, where questionnaires were distributed to 274 Foundation Phase HoDs in all four districts in Mpumalanga RESULTS: The findings indicate that HoDs have a moderate perception of their responsibility in motivating learners; moreover, they do not recognise the role of parents as motivators of learners. They seem too busy teaching in their classrooms and lack the time and skill of supervising their subordinates and involving parents in the education tripod. The legislative framework (PAM document), it can be argued, does not allow sufficient time for HoDs to efficiently perform their tasks CONCLUSION: Retraining of HoDs to work collaboratively with teachers and parents will enhance the quality of schooling offered in South Africa <![CDATA[<b>Can mathematics assessments be considered valid if learners fail to access what is asked of them?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The underperformance of South African learners in literacy and numeracy is a source of concern, especially when learners move from Grade 3 to Grade 4 AIM: This article reflects on the reading and comprehension challenges of English language learners (ELLs) in the Grade 4 2013 mathematics Annual National Assessments (ANAs SETTING: The study took place in two primary schools that served relatively less affluent sectors of the community in the Eastern Cape. Learners were IsiXhosa speakers learning mathematics in English METHODS: A sample of 26 out of 106 isiXhosa-speaking Grade 4 learners in the two schools participated in task-based interviews (focused on ANA questions) in which reading and linguistic mediation was provided. While the broader study (from which this article derives) revealed learners' challenges in reading, comprehension, transformation and process skills, here the focus is on findings related to reading and comprehension skills, which are foundational to accessing written assessment items RESULTS: Interview excerpts show the negative influence poor English reading and comprehension skills had on learner access to questions and their subsequent performance in the ANA CONCLUSION: The article challenges the validity of assessing ELLs' mathematical competence in English ANAs and draws implications for strengthening ELLs' language and mathematical proficiency in the Foundation Phase <![CDATA[<b>Third-Grade English Second Language teachers' vocabulary development practices</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This article investigated the potential of Grade 3 English Second Language (ESL) teachers' vocabulary development practices to equip learners in English-deprived environments with English vocabulary requisite for transition to Grade 4 where English is the Language of Learning and Teaching and where learning to read gives way to reading to learn AIM: This study sought to document and interrogate incidental and explicit Grade 3 ESL teachers' vocabulary development practices vis-à-vis learners' vocabulary needs SETTING: Three classrooms from one township and two diverse rural schools in three different districts of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa were observed METHODS: The case study sourced qualitative data through video and field notes recorded in classroom observations in 10 English First Additional Language classes for each teacher. Quantitative data on teacher talk vocabulary exposure and recycling were generated using the AntConc 3.2.4 software RESULTS: The study found that the incidental vocabulary development was compromised by low English language exposure occasioned by teachers' frequent recourse to the Home Language, little word recycling in classroom talk and lack of rich contexts in which words were encountered. Explicit vocabulary instructional practices mostly drew learners' attention to novel words and had a narrow range of strategies dealing with word meanings CONCLUSION: In view of the manifest lack of a robust vocabulary development programme among ESL teachers, the study recommends planned and deliberate attention to vocabulary development on the teachers' part and a reconsideration of the learners' vocabulary needs and learner meaningful engagement in vocabulary development <![CDATA[<b>Using structured movement educational activities to teach mathematics and language concepts to preschoolers</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Physical activity is an important component of everyday life. Strong foundational skills of gross motor coordination are typically developed informally in young learners, providing a strong foundational base for movement skills. Research stipulates that there has been a decline in physical activity amongst preschool learners. Therefore, structured movement activities could potentially play a role in facilitating teaching and assessment in a school setting AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of structured educational activities to teach mathematics and language concepts SETTING: The study setting was a classroom of Grade R learners aged ±6 years old in Gauteng, South Africa METHODS: A qualitative exploratory case study design was used to explore the extent to which structured movement educational assessment activities can support the understanding of mathematics and language concepts. The participants included 20 Grade R learners, one class teacher and one head of department (HOD). The data were generated using observation of participants, analysis of worksheets, visual data and a semi-structured interview RESULTS: The findings of the study suggest that the integration of structured movement activities with mathematics and language concepts seems to impact positively preschool learners' physical, social and cognitive development. The value of qualitatively assessing preschool learners during active participation seemed to be favourable to understanding concepts or movement skill acquisition CONCLUSION: The study concluded that movement experiences can inform preschool learners' understanding of mathematics and language concepts <![CDATA[<b>Disparate understandings of the nature, purpose and practices of reflection in teacher education</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The concept of reflection is much used in teacher education in many parts of the world, including in South African teacher education policy. However, the notion of reflection is often loosely defined, with differing understandings of its nature, purpose and curriculum implications AIM: This article explores how teacher educators and student teachers understood and implemented the notion of reflection in their teacher education programmes SETTING: The research took place as a multisite case study at four South African universities offering the Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase METHODS: Interviews were conducted with 24 senior students and 8 teacher educators RESULTS: The study revealed disparate views by both teacher educators and student teachers of the nature, purpose and practices of reflective practice and largely tacit understandings of the role of reflection in teacher education. For most interviewees, the emphasis of reflection lay within a technical rational approach of improving teaching rather than a critical approach of locating education within a wider social context. Against the background of the many challenges in South African schooling, we argue that critical reflection is a means to encourage student teachers to become more independent and socially committed teachers CONCLUSION: We present a case for the concept and practices of reflection to be more purposefully explored by teacher educators, thereby contributing towards continued agency and transformation in education <![CDATA[<b>Aspects of academic language proficiency of intermediate phase teacher education students</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In the intermediate phase of schooling, learners' academic success is largely dependent on their ability to read and write academic texts. Teachers need to teach academic language intentionally and explicitly. In order for teachers to do this, they themselves need knowledge of academic language and its features. Teacher education students, therefore need to be explicitly taught about academic language and provided with sufficient opportunities to develop their own proficiency AIM: This article aimed to explore the academic language proficiency of a cross-sectional sample of teacher education students at a Johannesburg university SETTING: This study took place at a South African university that implements a university-accredited primary school teacher education qualification. The university is located in an urban area, but attracts students from both urban and rural contexts METHODS: Students' test scores on a core academic language skills instrument were utilised as data for this study, with descriptive and inferential statistical analyses procedures used to make sense thereof RESULTS: Findings from a cross-sectional analysis between first- and second-year students' scores indicated that students' academic language proficiency does not appear to improve after their initial year of study CONCLUSION: The article concludes with a discussion of the implication hereof for teacher education and for the profession <![CDATA[<b>Gender differences in academic achievement of children with developmental coordination disorder</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) has a negative impact on everyday activities and academic achievement in children, mainly owing to similar underlying motor and cognitive constructs. Academic achievement of boys and girls seems to be different, with boys being more prone to academic backlogs, especially in language-related areas AIM: This study investigated if boys with DCD displayed more academic problems than girls with DCD SETTING: Ten-year-old children (N = 221, ±0.41) from different economic backgrounds were randomly selected for assessment as part of the NW-CHILD (North-West Child Health, Integrated with Learning and Development) longitudinal study in the North West Province of South Africa METHODS: The Movement Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition, was used to determine DCD status in the group. The results of the Annual National Assessment and the mid-year June exam, which included six learning areas, were used to analyse academic differences between typically developing boys and girls and those who were identified with DCD (seven boys, seven girls). Independent t-testing and Mann-Whitney non-parametric tests were used to determine differences between boys and girls RESULTS: Boys with DCD had inferior literacy and numeracy skills, significantly poorer manual dexterity and balancing skills and also displayed statistically and large practically significant weaker mid-year grade point averages than girls. Children with DCD also portrayed poorer academic achievement than typically developing children CONCLUSION: Significant differences in balancing skills and in languages between boys and girls with DCD might have contributed to the practically significant poorer maths performance of boys <![CDATA[<b>The role of first-year experience excursion in promoting social integration at university: Student teachers' views</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg, like many other universities worldwide, has a strong focus on first-year experience programmes to promote student academic and social enculturation AIM: In this article, we report on students' views of the role of an education excursion as cohesive device. We were particularly interested in how students establish social relationships with peers, and the values they attribute to these connections over time for their incorporation into university SETTING: The education excursion consists of a specially designed curriculum in the two day programme, off campus, as an extension of the initial first year seminar METHODS: Using methods associated with longitudinal studies, we collected data via a biographical survey and questionnaire for first years, followed by dyadic interviews with a purposive sample of students 30 months later. Qualitative content analysis led to several findings RESULTS: First-year data reveal that students face many challenges to their integration and that the excursion helps them traverse their individual racial, cultural and religious and language differences. Third years communicate the lasting effects of the excursion on their social and academic integration into university CONCLUSION: The authors conclude that the excursion has long-term value for students' social integration into the university environment and for bridging the gap between the university lecturers and the students <![CDATA[<b>Group work during visual art activities to reduce indecisiveness</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The Foundation Phase in education provides the primary building blocks for children's foundation and development. From personal experiences as educators, we observed that young learners who work together in small groups during art activities gain self-confidence faster than indecisive learners who work alone. Indecisive learners become hesitant and lack confidence when they are allowed own choices during art activities. In line with Vygotsky's social constructivism, this article assumed that social interaction fosters learning and development in learners AIM: The aim of this study was to observe whether group work promotes decisive behaviour and self-confidence in learners SETTING: A group of five Grade R learners in a privately owned pre-primary school in Pretoria was targeted for the purpose of this investigation METHODS: This article followed a qualitative approach in the form of a multiple case study that focused on four young learners who showed indecisive behaviour and one learner who showed decisive behaviour during a visual art activity. Learners' conversations and participation were observed and recorded as they used photographs and artefacts in the group art activity RESULTS: Over time, the four indecisive learners had improved and gained confidence towards decisiveness. These results support Vygotsky's theory that skilled learners can scaffold the unskilled ones to reach their full potential CONCLUSION: The results in this article point to the importance of collaborative learning in classrooms to improve confidence and decision-making. It is, therefore, recommended that teachers use a group work strategy to improve learning and decisiveness in classrooms <![CDATA[<b>Foundation phase teachers' use of manipulatives to teach number concepts: A critical analysis</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The poor performance of learners in mathematics has long been a matter of concern in South Africa. The Annual National Assessment (ANA) results reveal that the problem starts in the foundation phase with number concepts AIM: This research sought to ascertain how foundation phase teachers used mathematical resources to teach number concepts as this may be one of the contributors to poor mathematics results SETTING: The purposively selected participants included five foundation phase teachers teaching Grades 1-3 at two schools in the Western Cape, in South Africa METHODS: The research was located within the interpretive qualitative research paradigm and used a case study approach. Data were collected through lesson observations and interviews and analysed through the lens of Vygotsky's sociocultural theory RESULTS: The findings of this study revealed that teaching for understanding was often compromised by teaching to enable learners to pass systemic assessments. Teachers are inclined to rote teaching with drill work in preparation for assessments such as the ANA and the systemic assessment. Consequently, manipulatives are not necessarily used optimally or opportunely CONCLUSION: This study recommends that teachers should receive the necessary training to use and follow Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and also make an effort to follow the guidelines indicated in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement mathematics document in respect of how and when to use practical mathematical manipulatives <![CDATA[<b>Strengthening early childhood teacher education towards a play-based pedagogical approach</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Music as one of the creative arts offers an ideal vehicle to implement alternative teaching and learning strategies, including the implementation of purposeful but playful pedagogies that are increasingly being acknowledged as the most appropriate way of teaching young children. However, within higher educational institutions, it is becoming more difficult to develop sufficient content knowledge and confidence in student teachers to teach playfully through music. Students being unaware of playful music strategies favour 'desk bound' methodologies. AIM: This article explores a music intervention aimed to deepen students' understanding of and ability to teach playfully through music and reflects on a shift in students' understandings and perceptions in response to the intervention. SETTING: This article reports on the first 2 years of a music intervention programme which was offered to second-year early childhood education students studying for their BEd degree METHODS: The research design is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. It explores how students experience challenges with music education and to explain the nature of these challenges. We outline a music intervention programme designed to deepen student teachers' understanding, ability and confidence to teach playfully through music. We made use of questionnaires, interviews and observations to explore the success of this intervention programme. RESULTS: These showed that students' were positive, showing that students deepened their insights and increased their confidence to teach playfully through music. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the authors show that well-considered music education offers a viable way to enhance a playful approach to teaching and learning in the early years. <![CDATA[<b>Corrigendum: Ready for kindergarten - Are intelligence skills enough?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Music as one of the creative arts offers an ideal vehicle to implement alternative teaching and learning strategies, including the implementation of purposeful but playful pedagogies that are increasingly being acknowledged as the most appropriate way of teaching young children. However, within higher educational institutions, it is becoming more difficult to develop sufficient content knowledge and confidence in student teachers to teach playfully through music. Students being unaware of playful music strategies favour 'desk bound' methodologies. AIM: This article explores a music intervention aimed to deepen students' understanding of and ability to teach playfully through music and reflects on a shift in students' understandings and perceptions in response to the intervention. SETTING: This article reports on the first 2 years of a music intervention programme which was offered to second-year early childhood education students studying for their BEd degree METHODS: The research design is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. It explores how students experience challenges with music education and to explain the nature of these challenges. We outline a music intervention programme designed to deepen student teachers' understanding, ability and confidence to teach playfully through music. We made use of questionnaires, interviews and observations to explore the success of this intervention programme. RESULTS: These showed that students' were positive, showing that students deepened their insights and increased their confidence to teach playfully through music. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the authors show that well-considered music education offers a viable way to enhance a playful approach to teaching and learning in the early years.