Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Childhood Education]]> vol. 10 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Pre-service teachers' perception of values education in the South African physical education curriculum</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Since the beginning of the new democratic era of 1994 in South Africa, human rights and values concerns have been placed on the forefront of educational research to respond to the needs of the South Africa's Constitution as well as the intentions of public school curricula. It is believed that qualified physical education teachers can address the fading of values and recession of morals in schools by promoting value-based education into their physical education lessons to provide a holistic approach to learning AIM: This article aims to identify the values that pre-service teachers deem are important to be taught at school. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Gauteng Province. METHODS: A questionnaire was employed to collect quantitative data (close-ended questions) and qualitative data (open-ended questions) from all final year BEd physical education students (n = 68). RESULTS: Sixty-eight values were identified: respect (n = 47), honesty/integrity (n = 23) and courage/perseverance/determination (n = 25) were ranked as the three values these teachers considered as important for inclusion in a physical education curriculum CONCLUSION: These pre-service physical education teachers indicated that learners could learn core values and basic human rights in a conducive and safe learning environment by employing role-play, games and modelling as the main strategies to infuse values in their physical education lessons. <![CDATA[<b>Noise, screaming and shouting: Classroom acoustics and teachers' perceptions of their voice in a developing country</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The vocal demand on teachers may predispose them to vocal difficulties. This concern is exacerbated by unfavourable classroom acoustics and a large number of learners in a classroom in developing countries such as South Africa. There is a dearth of classroom acoustic protocols in South Africa, which intensifies the effect of noise on teachers as well as learners. AIMS: The aims of this study were to determine the acoustic properties within the teaching environments and to fix the foundation-phase teachers' perceptions of their voice. SETTING: The study was conducted in Foundation Phase classrooms in South Africa. RESULTS: There were two sample groups: ten schools with 31 foundation-phase classrooms and 31 teachers. Teachers perceived that their voices are affected by occupational demands, with predominantly physical symptoms being reported. Excessive background noise levels were evident in all classrooms. Air traffic noise and noise from adjoining classrooms were the main contributors. METHODS: A classroom acoustical screening survey was utilised to conduct classroom observations. A voice handicap questionnaire was used to determine teachers' perceptions. CONCLUSION: The need for classroom acoustic specifications and design of classrooms are essential as both teachers and learners experience the effects of noise exposure. The implementation of noise reduction in classrooms has the potential to improve the performance of teachers and learners. In a developing country, schools are unique institutions in terms of structure, and therefore additional research is required to determine what building structures may be beneficial for future school buildings. The findings could assist developing countries in the formulation of polices that align with the best practices for acoustically suitable educational settings that benefit both teachers and learners. <![CDATA[<b>Investigating the comprehension iceberg: Developing empirical benchmarks for early-grade reading in agglutinating African languages</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Reading development in agglutinating African languages is a relatively under-researched area. While numerous studies highlight the low comprehension levels among learners reading in African languages in South Africa, little has been done to probe beneath this 'comprehension iceberg' in terms of decoding skills. AIM: As a tentative step towards benchmarking in African languages, we analyse the sub-components of reading across three languages (Northern Sotho, Xitsonga and isiZulu), to better understand the nature of alphabetic knowledge, word reading and fluency in these languages, how these relate to one another, and how accuracy and speed relate to comprehension. SETTING: Data was obtained from 785 Grade 3 learners across three African languages in three provinces in South Africa. METHODS: The early grade reading assessment (EGRA) framework was adapted to the written features of the three languages to assess letter-sounds, single-word reading, non-word reading, oral reading fluency (ORF) and oral comprehension. RESULTS: We present results on fluency, accuracy and comprehension and their interrelationships in these morphologically rich languages. While differences emerged between the conjunctive and disjunctive orthographies, strong relations occurred across the languages between letter-sound knowledge and word reading, word reading and oral reading fluency, and ORF and reading comprehension. Results suggest minimum thresholds of accuracy and ORF in each language, below which it is virtually impossible to read for meaning CONCLUSION: There is a strong need for language-specific norms and benchmarks for African languages. Preliminary minimum decoding thresholds for comprehension found in these three languages serve as a move in that direction. <![CDATA[<b>Questioning techniques used by Foundation Phase Education students teaching mathematical problem-solving</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Developing the questioning skills of Foundation Phase Education students when teaching mathematical problem-solving is often a neglected area of student curricula. AIM: This gap in mathematics programme is the focus of this study. Three main components were identified: presentation of mathematical problem-solving, the role of the Foundation Phase Education student in shared action and the questioning practice of the pre-service teacher. SETTING: This study is embedded in an amalgamated theoretical framework of three theories: relational theory, hermeneutical theory of Davis and the revised taxonomy of Bloom. This qualitative, interpretive study was conducted in a grade 1 class. Seven Foundation Phase pre-service students were purposively selected to participate in the study. METHODS: Triangulation of a multitude of research instruments ensured verification of data. The case study consisted mainly of the observation and analysis of six lessons. The framework of Tesch was used to interpret the data. RESULTS: An outcome of the case study is a concise description of the use of questioning when teaching mathematical problem solving. Students in the selected sample generally struggled to ask questions and expressed the need for skills training. CONCLUSION: The student participants seemed unsure of how to use questioning skills optimally to elicit useful responses from their learners. Recommendations are made for enabling Foundation Phase students to learn the necessary skills to ask questions effectively in the problem solving segment of the curriculum. <![CDATA[<b>Using a phone-based learning tool as an instructional resource for initial literacy learning in rural African families</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Despite increased enrolments at primary schools in Zambia, more than half of the children in Grades 1-4 are unable to meet the required minimum standards for literacy. AIM: The study set out to examine the effects of using a phone-based mobile literacy game (Graphogame) to improve literacy skills in children and adults in rural family settings. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Katete District, a rural town in the eastern province of Zambia. METHODS: Participants were 73 Grade 2 learners (52% boys, mean age 9 years and 48% girls, mean age 10 years) and 37 parents (mean age 36 years). Three literacy tests, measuring letter-sound identification, phonological awareness, spelling competence and word recognition, were administered to both the children and parents. Parents also reported on their level of education, familiarity with smart phone use, availability of home reading materials and home literacy activities. RESULTS: The findings showed that children who were exposed to the Graphogame performed better than the control group on all literacy measures. Furthermore, parent's performance on the tests improved after the intervention. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that technology can improve literacy skills in both children and adults in rural areas of Zambia. <![CDATA[<b>A mathematics teacher's response to a dilemma: 'I'm supposed to teach them in English but they don't understand'</b>]]> BACKGROUND: English is the dominant language in South African schools although it is the home language for less than 10% of the population. Many schools have yet to embrace the Language in Education Policy's advocacy of additive bilingualism. This has led to a majority of the country's children learning and being assessed through a language in which they lack proficiency. AIM: This article draws on second language teaching and learning theory to make a case for more systematic support for learners' second language development and for legitimation of use of home language in mathematics classrooms where a different language is the official medium. The article shares empirical data from a South African Grade 4 mathematics teacher's classroom to illuminate arguments in favour of additive bilingualism. SETTING: A non-fee-paying public school in Eastern Cape province of South Africa. METHODS: Data were collected through lesson observations, teacher interviews and assessment data generated by a professional development project initiative. RESULTS: The 'illuminatory' lesson data suggest that allowing learners to use their home language alongside English facilitated their mathematical sense-making. This suggestion is strengthened by assessment data from a larger development project mandated with exploring ways for improving the quality of primary mathematics teaching and learning. CONCLUSION: Insights from this article add to many other calls made for more sustained and serious consideration of the pedagogical and epistemological value of multilingual approaches for South African classrooms. <![CDATA[<b>Overcrowded classrooms - The Achilles heel of South African education?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The South African education system is characterised by a shortage of teachers and inadequate school infrastructure which is contributing to the overcrowded nature of South African classrooms. The current national learner-educator ratio (LER) is 33:1, and some classes have even reported an LER value of 50:1 and higher. The South African LER is more than double the average of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's international average of 16:1. AIM: This research has been conducted to identify overcrowdedness in classrooms as a factor associated with poor academic achievement. SETTING: A qualitative research approach served this study best when an investigation was launched into the impact of overcrowded classrooms in the Foundation Phase in the Tshwane-West district. METHODS: The study's sample comprised 10 purposefully chosen participants who are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of teaching in overcrowded classrooms in the Foundation Phase. The participants included heads of departments, primary school principals, higher education lecturers and a department of basic education official. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the participants. FINDINGS: Based on the findings, the impact of and challenges (such as didactical neglect, discipline issues and negative teacher attitudes) related to overcrowdedness was elaborated on, and practical recommendations were made regarding possible solutions. CONCLUSION: This study conclude by emphasising the importance of a combined effort between all role players, such as the School Management Teams and the teachers, when dealing with the challenges posed by overcrowdedness. <![CDATA[<b>Proposing and modifying guided play on shapes in mathematics teaching and learning for Zambian preschool children</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Early childhood education (ECE) has recently been introduced in Zambian government schools, leading to a need to examine the quality of mathematics lessons. AIM: This study focussed on guided play lessons on shapes in pre-mathematics classes and examined how they could be implemented and what children could learn in the class. SETTING: The lessons were conducted in two early childhood mathematics classes in two different schools in Zambia. METHODS: A qualitative design-based research method was applied. For data collection, teachers implemented a trial lesson in one school and a main lesson in another school in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. RESULTS: In the first lesson, the activity differed from what was planned and discussed. In the second lesson, the content and objective of the guided play were changed from those of the trial lesson. In the main lesson, children engaged in a more basic activity involving shapes and created many kinds of shapes that they were familiar with in and out of school. This was particularly effective for children in terms of explicitly learning the basic features of the shapes and important mathematical ideas such as congruency, similarity and symmetry CONCLUSION: The main lesson was successful because the level of mathematical content was more appropriate for the children and allowed them to enjoy the activity. Two points regarding developing more effective lessons for ECE, to identify pupils' readiness and sociocultural status, were also assessed and discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring primary school teachers' use of formative assessment across fee and no-fee schools</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Recent initiatives by the Department of Basic Education to support teachers to enhance their use of formative assessment are positive steps for improving teaching and learning. However, the nature and type of support required by teachers is unclear given the dearth of information on teachers' current pedagogical practices, and the extent to which formative assessment approaches are applied. AIM: This article explores teachers' pedagogical practices in relation to five key formative assessment strategies: introduction of lesson objectives and assessment criteria, questioning and learner engagement, feedback practices and peer and self-assessment. SETTING: This study was conducted in two districts involving 96 foundation and intermediate phase teachers selected from 54 fee- and no-fee-paying schools. METHODS: Data were obtained using lesson observations and document review schedules. The analysis comprised descriptive and chi-square statistics. RESULTS: Some evidence of all the formative assessment strategies as well as the range of steps that characterised each strategy was observed in the pedagogical practices of teachers sampled for this study. However, only a minority of teachers were able to demonstrate effective use of any specific strategy. No significant differences were detected between teachers in fee-paying and no-fee-paying schools as well as between the foundation and intermediate phases. CONCLUSION: Evidence of various aspects of the formative assessment approach in teachers' pedagogical practices provides a positive platform for enhancing their formative assessment knowledge and skills. The key challenge pertains to ensuring the effective implementation of the formative assessment approach to address the specific learning needs of all learners, in both fee and no-fee schools. <![CDATA[<b>Preschool cognitive control and family adversity predict the evolution of classroom engagement in elementary school</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Classroom engagement is key predictor of child academic success. AIM: The objective of the study was to examine how preschool cognitive control and the experience of family adversity predict developmental trajectories of classroom engagement through elementary school. SETTING: Children were followed in the context of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development from birth to age 10.5 (N = 1589) METHODS: Working memory was directly assessed when children were 3 years old and mothers reported child impulsivity, parenting characteristics, stress and social support when children were 4 years old. Elementary school teachers rated classroom engagement from kindergarten through Grade 4. RESULTS: Growth mixture modelling identified three distinct trajectories of classroom engagement. Child working memory and impulsivity, and maternal hostility, social support and stress predicted greater odds of belonging to the low versus high engagement trajectory. Child impulsivity and maternal hostility and stress also distinguished between the low and moderate engagement trajectories. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that targeting preschool cognitive control and buffering the effects of family adversity on children may facilitate academic success. <![CDATA[<b>The triple cocktail programme to improve the teaching of reading: Types of engagement</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South African-structured reading programmes have been implemented in schools in South Africa. The Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS) is an education triple cocktail programme, which attempts to improve home language reading in a number of schools. AIM: The objective of this research was to find out how the educators involved in the implementation of the triple cocktail intervention programme enact the implementation of the lesson in the classroom. The second objective was to ascertain whether there were any effects in improving the teachers' knowledge and skills bringing about changes to their practice. SETTING: The context of the study were four primary schools from the North West province that participated in the EGRS study. Foundation Phase teachers from these schools where the home language is Setswana were selected to be the participants of this study. METHODS: A case study approach using an interpretive paradigm provided an empirical comparison of the effects of different types of implementation that can affect the outcomes of the programme. Foundation Phase teachers from four schools participating in the EGRS were observed in their classrooms and interviewed to gather data RESULTS: The Guskey's model for teacher change was used to analyse the data, focusing on teacher change and the professional development of teachers. CONCLUSION: The results indicate that enactment of new approaches to early grade reading teaching can happen in four different ways. Teacher change occurs gradually and within a paradigm of mentoring and coaching. <![CDATA[<b>An exploration of in-service teachers' understanding of teaching mathematics in Grade R classrooms: A case study of Grade R in Lesotho University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Research has indicated that young learners are capable of learning mathematics because they are born with an innate core of mathematics knowledge. Teachers of young learners are, therefore, expected to offer mathematical curriculum that exposes learners to a deep and explicit knowledge of high mathematics. AIM: The study aimed at Grade R in-service teachers' understanding of teaching mathematics in their classrooms. SETTING: The study sampled five in-service Grade R teachers from four districts in Lesotho, while they were enrolled in an in-service programme at a college of Education. METHODS: This is a qualitative approach, and a case study design was employed. Data sources included teachers' interviews, classroom observations and document analysis for instance, the teachers' files, lesson plans for Grade R curriculum for mathematics and course outline of mathematics offered to in-service teachers during their training in the Lesotho College of Education (LCE). Which focussed on four domains of knowledge, namely, common content knowledge, special content knowledge, knowledge of content and students, and knowledge of content and teaching. RESULTS: The findings revealed that the in-service teachers in the LCE had insufficient understanding of the teaching of mathematics, which in turn had a negative influence on the teaching of mathematics in Grade R classes. CONCLUSION: Despite the Lesotho government's commitment to improving the learning of mathematics at the Grade R level. Teachers' difficulties raise concerns about the effectiveness of their teaching of mathematics. <![CDATA[<b>Parental involvement and learners' performance in rural basic schools of Zambia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Parental involvement is one of the important factors in pupils' academic achievement. AIM: The study sought to assess whether an intervention to enhance the interaction of parents with Grade 4 learners (aged 10-15 years) in homework would improve the learners performance in Chitonga and Mathematics. SETTING: This study was conducted with two rural primary schools in the Kalomo District of Southern Province, Zambia. METHODS: The participants were Grade 4 learners and their parents. A total of 168 participants were enlisted (84 learners and 84 parents). Elementary tests in Mathematics and Chitonga, the quality of parent-child interaction in homework, the quality and frequency of parent-school communication in homework, and the use of home resources in the instruction of children to increase Chitonga and Mathematics skills were assessed. One school served as a control while the other was the target of intervention. Parents in the intervention group received a 10-week programme of sensitisation on how to support their children in homework using available local resources and on parent-child interactions. Questionnaires and interviews were sent to collect data from parents while tests in Mathematics and Chitonga, systematically developed by the national regulatory body, were set to assess the learners' performance. RESULTS: Post-test scores of learners in Mathematics and Chitonga in the intervention school were significantly higher, in addition to increased parent-child interaction and the use of home resources in instruction. CONCLUSION: The authors conclude that interventions which empower parents with knowledge and skills for greater involvement in their children's homework can be effective in improving the learners' performance. <![CDATA[<b>Constructivism-led assistive technology: An experiment at a Namibian special primary school</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The study focused on children with hearing disabilities, which was significant as almost 9 million children in sub-Saharan Africa, including Namibia, had hearing disabilities. The problem was the lack of prior research on the effects of assistive technology (AT) in primary education for the Deaf in Namibia, for guiding Namibian special primary schools and educators. AIM: The aim was to investigate the effects of Constructivism-led AT on the teaching and learning of learners who were deaf, in a mathematics class at a rural special primary school. SETTING: The study involved Grade three children who were deaf. Grade 3 is where children learn to build and understand foundational and basic mathematical concepts, such as counting, which they require for subsequent mathematics learning and practice. METHODS: The study was a mixed-methods study comprising a quantitative experiment and qualitative interviews. RESULTS: The findings suggested that the Constructivism-led AT may have had a positive effect on the children's multiplication and division achievement, but not on their addition and subtraction achievement. The teachers were positive about the Constructivism-led AT and indicated that it supported collaborating, cooperating, exploring, self-assessing, learning from errors, seeking knowledge independently, self-regulating, self-reflecting, metacognitive thinking and being self-aware. CONCLUSION: For school management and teachers of children who are deaf, the study offered an intervention for potentially improving teaching and their learners' mathematics achievement. In addition, the study provided valuable evidence for policymakers about integrating technology for effective learning environments. <![CDATA[<b>An analysis of the results of literacy assessments conducted in South African primary schools</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South African primary school learners have participated in several national and international literacy (reading and writing) studies that measure learners' achievement in different grades and at different intervals. Numerous scholars have analysed the results of these assessments. We extended their analyses by investigating the grade coverage and the aspects of literacy that were included in these assessments, as well as whether the learners' home language impacts their results. AIM: The authors aim to determine how reliable the results of these assessments are in improving and informing policies relating to literacy teaching in primary schools and to provide recommendations to improve the administration of literacy assessments. METHOD: Literature on various national and international literacy studies that were conducted in South African primary schools from 2000 to 2016 was identified and analysed according to grade, province, languages in which the assessments were conducted, aspects of literacy that were included in the assessments and the accuracy of the results. RESULTS: The analysis provides evidence that suggests that most literacy assessments target learners in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6) and are not available in all 11 South African official languages. Presently, there are no large-scale literacy assessments for Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3) learners. Moreover, the results of these assessments do not provide us with reliable information about literacy levels in the country because there are vast discrepancies in assessment scores. CONCLUSION: This article highlights the importance of obtaining reliable information in determining literacy levels in the country and in informing decisions regarding literacy-related policies. <![CDATA[<b>The delivery of primary school physical education in South African public schools: The perceptions of educators</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Physical Education (PE) is a fundamental cornerstone for childhood development as it promotes lifelong participation in physical activities for holistic health. School educators play a key role in creating school environments that lead to developmentally appropriate and high-quality PE lessonsAIM: The aim of this study was to determine educators' perceptions on the state and status of PE in selected public primary schools in all nine provinces of South AfricaSETTING: Data were collected on the campus of the selected primary schools within 150 km of a university. In the absence of a university within the stated radius, an airport was used as an initiated point of departureMETHODS: The mixed-methods approach (quantitative: questionnaires and qualitative: semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions) was used to collect data. The purposive sampling method was used to select the participants. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics in the form of percentages, and presented using graphs and tables. Qualitative data were analysed using themesRESULTS: The findings revealed that the educators from quintile 4 and 5 schools especially are of the opinion that challenges, such as a lack of resources, qualified PE specialist educators, and facilities and equipment negatively affected the delivery of PE at their schoolsCONCLUSION: Participants perceived that there are varying contextual and socio-economic school settings affecting the delivery of PE in the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum. The researcher recommends that all learners have access to the adequate provision of PE programmes <![CDATA[<b>Student teachers' views of their experiences in a Bachelor's programme</b>]]> BACKGROUND: It is widely accepted that the quality of schools depends on the quality of teachers. Understanding what occurs while learning to teach is an important pursuit for acquiring a sense of the quality of teachers. The initial development of teachers is a critical point from which to activate such understandingAIM: This study, therefore, examines the ways in which pedagogic content knowledge is developed within experiences that relate to initial teacher education programmes. Pedagogic content knowledge is a concept describing a form of knowledge related to transmitting subject matter knowledge to learnersSETTING: A qualitative study was conducted with a cohort of participants in the final year of a bachelor's degree programmeMETHODS: Data generation ensued from focus group discussions, complemented by questionnaire data. The study analysed data categorised according to themesRESULTS: Findings demonstrate that the participants found their initial teacher education programme to have had positive and negative influences with regard to the development of pedagogic content knowledge. Administrative duties, adapting to school contexts, relationships with people of influence (such as lecturers during initial teacher education and mentor teachers), teaching practice (which had the most profound influence on classroom practice) and professional knowledge and skills as taught during initial teacher education were all factors that had an impact on participants' experiences in developing their pedagogic content knowledgeCONCLUSION: This paper argues for the need to rethink the structure of initial teacher education programmes in order to better facilitate the development of pedagogic content knowledge <![CDATA[<b>Grade R teachers' understanding of reflective practice</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Internationally and nationally, reflective practice is suggested as a tool to inform quality teaching and learning. In South Africa, the quality of education is in the spotlight as schoolgoing children continue to perform poorly. This article investigates reflective practice in Grade R teaching. It explores teachers' understanding of reflective practice to inform their practice to support learners having a positive first year of formal schoolingAIM: The aim of this study was investigate the knowledge and understanding of Grade R teachers about reflective practiceSETTING: Two Grade R teachers in one school in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town participated in the studyMETHODS: An interpretivist case study using semi-structured interviews and document analysis informed the findings. Thematic analysis revealed common themes to explore the knowledge and understanding of Grade R teachers regarding reflective practiceRESULTS: The teachers interviewed demonstrated a tacit understanding of reflective practice. They described it as an innate aspect of their teaching. Their knowledge and understanding are theoretical and there is no evidence of reflective practice in the documents used to inform their teaching on a daily basisCONCLUSION: The findings of this study show that the participants use reflective practice innately. Support by the school and the Department of Basic Education through professional development has the potential to encourage the use of reflective practice for quality teaching and learning <![CDATA[<b>Perspectives of teachers on causes of children's maladaptive behaviour in the upper primary school level: A case of Hhohho Region, Eswatini</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The background which led to the researchers embarking in this research study was that they had noticed that teachers in schools in Eswatini, though they are always trying to ensure good behaviour of learners through positive discipline, maladaptive behaviour is still on the rise in most schools. This status has resulted in compromised teaching and learning since most of the time is now spent in trying to deal with maladaptive behaviour issues. If the behaviour of learners is not dealt with, they face a greater risk of becoming violent and chronic juvenile offendersAIM: The aim of the study was to explore the factors contributing to children's maladaptive behaviours in the upper primary school levelSETTING: The study was conducted in the Hhohho region in EswatiniMETHODS: The study employed a qualitative research design and in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used as data gathering instruments. Note taking and audio recordings were used to ensure that details the discussions were capturedRESULTS: The study revealed that a lack of proper parenting skills is a major factor, and that family dysfunctionality, family socioeconomic status as well as peer influence being contributors to maladaptive behaviour among children in Hhohho regionCONCLUSION: Based on the literature and findings in this study, it is evident that maladaptive behaviour among children in primary schools is persistent and a serious problem worldwide. This study revealed that currently there are no intervention strategies in the school to enhance proper behaviour among learners. Teachers also struggle to implement positive discipline because they lack the know-how <![CDATA[<b>Family literacy programmes in South Africa: Should we take note?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South Africa has one of the lowest-performing education systems in the world. By the fourth grade, many learners are already 2 or more years behind their peers, especially in mathematics and literacy. Family literacy programmes as a form of home-school partnership are often proposed as an early intervention to support early literacy learning. Family literacy programmes remain a new concept in South Africa and little formal research has been undertaken on the nature, availability and implications of such programmes in this countryAIM: The aim of this article is to investigate family literacy programmes currently running in South Africa by means of a theoretical frameworkSETTING: The data presented here are the result of an electronic search comprising books and journal articles for the period 1990-2019METHODS: For this article, a qualitative analysis was undertaken, using concept analysis as the main data collection technique. Key words such as 'family literacy', 'family literacy programmes', 'intergenerational literacy' and 'home-school partnerships' were used to produce a sample obtained by simple random samplingRESULTS: An inductive data analysis approach was followed to identify and discuss programmes that fit the attributes and criteria of family literacy programmes and to make recommendations towards partnership attributes, resource and activity attributes, and future research to clarify implicationsCONCLUSION: If family literacy programmes are to gain momentum, researchers must continue to unpack what this concept holds to ensure such programmes yield optimal results, not only for participating families, but also for the South African schooling system in general <![CDATA[<b>A snapshot of early childhood care and education in South Africa: Institutional offerings, challenges and recommendations</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This article draws from a research report on the Project for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education (PIECCE), which surveyed attitudes, training strategies, materials and entrance requirements across most relevant higher education institutions (HEIs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVETsAIM: The aim of this study was to identify what institutions were offering in terms of training teachers in the birth-to-four age group, to identify the challenges and provide recommendations based on the findingsMETHODS: Participatory action research was performed to generate data, which took the form of a Google survey, individual interviews and document analysis. These research tools were adjusted according to the requirements of the study, as and when necessary. The combination of the desktop study and the PIECCE report provided a comprehensive picture of South African early childhood care and education (ECCE), with particular emphasis on government funded training institutions and NGOs, as well as current challengesRESULTS: Findings and recommendations are presented. The challenges include, amongst others, issues such as uneven geographic spread of ECCE offerings, lack of training skills, difficulties obtaining quality qualifications, dysfunctionality of accreditation bodies, misalignment between National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and HEI entrance requirements and poor remuneration of teachersCONCLUSION: A desktop study on institutional offerings, written as a collaborative effort across a variety of teacher-training institutions, evidenced that there are a number of fundamental issues in the sector. If the challenges can be resolved, the quality of ECCE training and accessibility can improve <![CDATA[<b>Relationship between academic achievement, visual-motor integration, gender and socio-economic status: North-West Child Health Integrated with Learning and Development study</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Inconsistencies are found regarding the relationship between academic achievement and visual-motor integration (VMI), gender and socio-economic status (SES). AIM: The study examined the associations between academic achievement in different compulsory learning areas and VMI skills, and what role gender and SES play. SETTING: A total of 863 participants (n = 538, low SES group; n = 325, high SES group) from 20 schools in four school districts in the North West province of South Africa were randomly selected to participate. METHODS: The Beery Visual-Motor Integration Test, 4th edition (VMI-4) was used to evaluate the VMI, visual perception and motor coordination skills; and the June mid-year school assessment (JMSA) and the Annual National Assessment (ANA) marks were used to examine their academic achievements. Spearman rank-order correlations and stepwise regression analyses were used to, examine significant associations and unique contributors, respectively. RESULTS: Small-to-moderate significant correlations were found between all the learning areas assessed during the JMSA and the ANA examinations and the VMI-4. The strongest correlations occurred between visual perception and most of the learning areas. Socio-economic status had the greatest predictive association with most of the academic learning areas. The largest contributions (≥ 10% moderate, ≥ 25% great) of SES were found during the JMSA in English, life orientation, mathematics, natural science, social sciences and in the grade point averages. During the ANA, SES had the highest predictive contribution to English and mathematics. CONCLUSION: The overall academic achievement of learners could be negatively affected by their SES and visual perception skills, that suggest timeously prevention strategies to counter these effects. <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence of possible developmental coordination disorder among Grade 1 learners in low socio-economic environments in Mangaung, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) affects motor skills and consequently has an impact on the performance in daily living activities of learners with this impairment. AIM: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of possible DCD in Grade 1 (Gr. 1) learners in a low socio-economic environment in Mangaung, South Africa. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Mangaung Metro, Motheo District, Free State Province. Gr. 1 learners, 6-8 years old (n = 242), from a low socio-economic environment attending Quintile 1-3 schools were randomly selected for assessment. METHODS: The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2nd edition (MABC-2) was used to identify learners with possible DCD. Furthermore, results were compared with regard to gender. RESULTS: Of the 242 learners, 9.9% were identified with possible DCD. With regard to gender, 10.5% of boys and 9.3% of girls showed signs of possible DCD. No significant difference (p = 0.9439) has been found between boys and girls. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of possible DCD among Gr. 1 learners in this setting was higher than that in previously reported studies in other low and high socio-economic environments of South Africa. Further research is required to establish the full extent of possible DCD within learners living in low socio-economic environments. <![CDATA[<b>Physical education and health as a child's right: Reflections on the Soweto Active Schools programme</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In view of global health concerns about high levels of inactivity and related disease patterns of citizens, Physical Education and Health (PEH) has become an educational priority in many countries, including South Africa. AIM: The research aimed to explore and capture the effects of a multistakeholder physical education (PE) initiative that focuses on in-service teacher training and implementation of the Soweto Active Schools programme. SETTING: The study was conducted in five pilot schools in Soweto, located in close proximity to the Nike Centre, where the schools take part in organised sport events as part of the programme. METHODS: This pre-post (2016 and 2018) multisite case study utilised mixed methods. Qualitative data were collected through observation of PE lessons, interviews with key stakeholder representatives (n = 6), five school principals (n = 10) and focus group discussions with life skill/life orientation heads of department and teachers (n = 59) and Grade 6 learners (n = 63). RESULTS: The main findings indicated the emergence of a new educational paradigm informed by value-based PE. Teachers reported positive behaviours by learners, whereas they applied the same values in the teaching of other classes. Learners reported the learning of new motor skills, improved social relations and improved confidence. Principals and teachers appreciated the scaled model of contextually relevant professional learning. CONCLUSION: The model disputes the mere outsourcing of PE that elicits the participation of teachers will not adequately equip them for teaching PE. The model can be refined and taken to scale with meaningful information for curriculum design, resource provision and effective implementation of quality PEH <![CDATA[<b>An alternative term to make comprehensive sexuality education more acceptable in childhood</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ignorance, misconceptions and fear hinder the implementation of young children's age-appropriate sexuality education (SE) globally. Methods to promote the SE of young children are needed. AIM: We aimed to evaluate why parents and professionals resist the concept of childhood SE and to test whether a child-centred term could reduce this resistance. SETTING: We conducted nationwide studies in Finland plus focused studies in three groups. METHODS: In open online situation analysis and needs assessment studies among early childhood education professionals (n = 507) and parents (n = 614) of 1-6-year-olds, negative, adulthood-associated connotations for the term 'sexuality education' were detected. We then evaluated whether a less sex-connected term than SE would be feasible to promote SE of young children. We combined 'body' and 'emotion', after our earlier study on children's most common sexuality-related expressions, to form the new Finnish term Kehotunnekasvatus [body-emotion education] and tested it among professionals of sexual health (n = 17) and early education (n = 63) and primary health nurses (n = 29). RESULTS: Acceptance of the new term was excellent in all three groups; the new term was reported as 'more positive, more neutral, downplaying thoughts of sex'. Most respondents deemed it appropriate, necessary and usable in their work. Furthermore, the majority of those working daily with the parents of young children preferred the new term to 'sexuality education'. CONCLUSION: After testing the functionality of a new Finnish term among Finnish professionals, the authors suggest considering replacing the term 'sexuality education' with a more child-centred and less sex-connected synonym when referring to SE for young children. <![CDATA[<b>Preservice teachers' perception of longitudinal child development field coursework at a university-affiliated teaching school</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Most field coursework in teacher education (TE) programmes do not incorporate extended in situ interaction with individual children in a classroom. Furthermore, child development theory (from coursework) is not taught in tandem with students' extended periods of practicum placement in schools. AIM: This study sought to determine preservice teachers' perception of their longitudinal study of children's development and learning in a clinical setting at a university-affiliated teaching school. SETTING: This study focusses on two undergraduate primary school TE programmes at an urban university in Johannesburg, South Africa. These programmes incorporate six semester courses on child development with extended clinical field experience at a teaching school on campus. Each student teacher follows a particular child's development and learning over four years of their undergraduate coursework. METHODS: This was a qualitative descriptive study with some cross-sectional data. Data were collected from 120 undergraduate students, by using anonymous questionnaires and four focus group interviews. RESULTS: Students reported that they had gained in-depth learning of child development during their longitudinal pairing with an individual child and that assigned observation activities had taught them to recognise, and support, nuanced differences in a child's learning CONCLUSION: Students regard their longitudinal interaction and learning in the clinical setting positively. Future research should focus on the long-term value of the clinical model with insights from students who have graduated from the programme and are in the teaching profession. <![CDATA[<b>A study of pedagogical leadership plans in early childhood education settings in Finland</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Current research on early childhood education (ECE) leadership as well as on policy reform in Finland suggests that pedagogical leadership must be considered as a purposeful and planned process. Pedagogical leadership plans play a key role in the purposeful and effective enactment of pedagogical leadership in ECE settings. AIM: This study aimed at examining the contents of pedagogical leadership plans drawn up in Finnish ECE centres to interpret the perceptions of the centre directors on the implementation of pedagogical leadership in their settings. SETTING: This study examines pedagogical leadership plans in ECE settings in Finland. METHODS: We used inductive content analysis to examine documents drawn up by nine ECE centre directors as pedagogical leadership plans for their centres. Our analysis identified four main categories that describe how the ECE centre directors conceive the enactment of pedagogical leadership. RESULTS: The findings revealed that the focus of the plans was on leading pedagogical issues and processes within the ECE centres. Creating structures for pedagogical development and reflection were emphasised in the plans. The plans reflected a distributed leadership approach. CONCLUSION: The findings of the study provide information about how the ECE directors intend to enact pedagogical leadership and assist ECE leaders to develop leadership planning in their work settings. In this way, the study contributes to leadership development within the ECE sector <![CDATA[<b>Long-term effects of childhood speech and language disorders: A scoping review</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Speech and language disorders in childhood have the potential to affect every aspect of a child's day-to-day life and can potentially have negative long-term impacts AIM: This scoping review seeks to collate the existing evidence to identify the long-term effects of childhood speech and language disorders METHODS: A systematic search of speechBITE, ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts, PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, SocINDEX and the Cochrane Library was conducted. Peer-reviewed English language publications reporting on the long-term (2+-year) outcomes of individuals with a childhood history of speech or language disorders were included. Data were extracted and the study quality assessed using a modified Newcastle-Ottawa scale RESULTS: Fifty-one studies met the inclusion criteria. These studies reported mixed results, the most common of which were suboptimal mental health, social and academic outcomes for persons with a history of speech or language disorders. We found an association between childhood speech or language disorders and psychiatric disability, behavioural problems, lower socio-economic status, relationship and living difficulties, and lower academic achievement compared to the general population CONCLUSION: Individuals with a history of childhood speech or language disorders may experience long-term difficulties in mental health, social well-being and academic outcomes <![CDATA[<b>English as an additional language: Professional development needs of early childhood practitioners in historically disadvantaged contexts</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Early childhood development (ECD) practitioners face tremendous challenges in supporting learners' development in English as an additional language (EAL). The lack of a formal ECD curriculum in South Africa exacerbates this challenge for African learners from historically disadvantaged backgrounds as there is a lack of guidance on how to introduce EAL. AIM: This study investigated factors impacting on ECD practitioners' ability to facilitate EAL, determine the professional development needs of ECD practitioners at historically disadvantaged ECD centres in facilitating the acquisition of EAL and used the results to make recommendations to be considered when developing support initiatives to ECD practitioners in this context. SETTING: Ga-Rankuwa, a township north of Pretoria. METHODS: A descriptive survey design was employed to collect mainly quantitative data and a limited amount of qualitative data. The data were descriptively analysed. RESULTS: Prevalent factors that could impact ECD practitioners' abilities to facilitate EAL included their English proficiency, qualifications and the language of learning and teaching used in the classroom. The participants communicated a need for assistance with (1) enhancing their knowledge on the acquisition of EAL, (2) materials to use in language lessons and (3) lesson planning. CONCLUSION: There is an urgent need to develop support structures to assist historically disadvantaged ECD practitioners in facilitating the acquisition of EAL. The results of the study can serve as a starting point for planning workshops where ECD practitioners can be trained to develop suitable lesson plans and resources as well as appropriate techniques to enhance preschool learners' acquisition of EAL. <![CDATA[<b>Expanding vocabulary and sight word growth through guided play in a pre-primary classroom</b>]]> BACKGROUND: This article is based on a study that aimed at finding out how pre-primary teachers integrate directed play into literacy teaching and learning. Play is a platform through which young children acquire language AIM: This study uses an action research approach to understand how guided play benefits incidental reading and expands vocabulary growth in a Chinese Grade K classroom METHOD: Data collection involved classroom observations, document analysis, informal and focus group discussions RESULTS: The results revealed the key benefits of play-based learning for sight word or incidental reading and vocabulary development. These are: (1) teacher oral and written language learning, (2) learners' classroom engagement is promoted, (3) learners were actively engaged in learning of orthographic features of words, (4) learners practised recognising the visual or grapho-phonemic structure of words, (5) teacher paced teaching and (6) teacher assesses miscues and (7) keep record of word recognition skills CONCLUSION: In the light of the evidence, it is recommended that the English Second Language (ESL) curriculum for pre-service teachers integrate curricular objectives that promote practising playful learning strategies to prepare teachers for practice <![CDATA[<b>Young students' understanding of mathematical equivalence across different schools in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Mathematical equivalence is a critical element of arithmetic understanding and a key component of algebraic thinking which is necessary for success in all levels of mathematics. Research studies continue to highlight misconceptions related to equivalence and reveal that many primary school students have a narrow and limiting view of the equals sign as an operation AIM: This study aims to investigate young students' understanding of mathematical equivalence in South Africa with a particular focus on their interpretations of the equals sign SETTING: Research data was obtained from students across six schools from different contexts within the Western Cape METHODS: We gave students an adapted standardised assessment containing 15 items related to equivalence RESULTS: Our analyses indicated that students focus more on the equals sign as an operation which involves calculating an answer. While some referred to equivalence as meaning the same as, most of them were inclined to accept the operational definition of the equals sign (i.e. the answer to the problem) as a better and preferred definition. In addition, student performance was poor on equation-solving problems and they rarely used comparative relational strategies in their solutions CONCLUSION: The findings of this research confirmed that difficulties with equivalence reported by earlier research is widespread across this group of grade 4 students. This has implications for both curriculum, textbook and materials design and teacher professional development