It’s possible that “World Play Day” on the 28th of May might have passed without most people even knowing it existed. But for the 100-odd children who were invited to come and play at Enlighten Education Trust, it meant everything. The event was organised by Mabel Saul (who co-ordinates one of Enlighten’s ECD projects) and Priscilla Stemela, Toy Librarian at Enlighten.
The children attend four preschools in Zwelihle and Mount Pleasant townships, just a few blocks from Enlighten’s base. Many of the children live in the townships or informal settlements; many don’t have “regular” toys they can call their own. But last Friday they had musical instruments, puzzles, dolls and cars, paint, outdoor toys, and a blanket fort with which to play. And everyone got their faces painted by our own artists Alex Forsyth and Thulani Mapike too! At the end of the morning they all enjoyed snacks and cool drinks before going back to their preschools just before lunch.
It was amazing to see the children change from shy and withdrawn at first, to regular rambunctious kids. After all, children don’t need to be taught how to play, they just need to be given the opportunity! The delight on their faces was a treat.
Most of the toys were from Enlighten’s toy library, which lends toys to around 30 Early Childhood Development Centres and three schools. Every three weeks they exchange the toys with different ones.