Cotlands and Standard Bank partner to launch an innovative Toy Library project in the Free State
Cotlands joined forces with Standard Bank SA to unveil an exciting new Toy Library project in Welkom, Free State. The initiative aims to enhance the educational experiences of young children and promote inclusive play-based learning within the community. The Toy Library hub will be established at Thabong Memorial Preschool, providing essential resources and support to 10 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres located within a 30km radius. These centres collectively cater for the needs of 814 children.
To commemorate the official launch of this ground-breaking initiative, Cotlands and Standard Bank hosted an official launch event at Thabong Memorial Creche on Thursday, 1 June, from 10:00 AM to midday. The event was well supported by community members and esteemed project partners, and Mr Makalo Mohale, MEC for Education in the Free State delivered a special address. Each project partner had the opportunity to share information regarding their role and involvement in this exciting project, showcasing the collaborative efforts that have made this social responsibility partnership possible.
The primary objective of the mobile toy library is to deliver a wide range of toys and educational play resources to these ECD centres, fostering a stimulating and engaging learning environment for the children. Cotlands will take charge of the programmatic and technical aspects of the implementation, offering comprehensive training, setup assistance, monitoring, and ongoing support to the appointed toy librarians. The Toy Librarians will empower ECD practitioners with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to deliver high-quality play-based early learning programmes to the children. Another key feature of this programme is the creation of employment opportunities for young individuals with a passion and commitment to early childhood development.
Dr Monica Stach, CEO of Cotlands, emphasised the organisation’s inclusive approach: “Because of our inclusive model, Cotlands encourages children with disabilities to be part of the programme. Our toy librarians are trained to adapt our quality play-based learning activities to meet the needs of children with special requirements. In cases where additional support is needed, we have access to a range of professionals who can provide guidance.”
Pearl Phoolo, Senior Manager of CSI projects at Standard Bank, explains: “In South Africa, our CSI programmes prioritise better access to education. Our intention is to support South Africa’s economic and social transformation by helping our country’s children develop the skills and knowledge they’ll need for a new world of work.”
Cotlands and Standard Bank SA are committed to making a lasting impact on the early childhood development sector in the Free State. Through establishing this toy library, the organisations aim to promote inclusive education, empower ECD practitioners, and foster a love for learning in the hearts of young children. We can build a more robust and resilient future generation by working together.