Cotlands is a national non-profit organisation offering integrated early childhood development programmes that provide care, support and development opportunities to vulnerable young children and their families.
Without early intervention, children in vulnerable communities are destined to perpetuate the cycle of poverty. It is widely documented that 83 % of children in South Africa do not access any form of early childhood learning. This shocking statistic places already vulnerable children at a greater disadvantage, given that the first thousand days of a child’s life is crucial to their development.
Through our newly implemented early intervention programmes, Cotlands is able to address key development gaps that give children the opportunity to not only survive, but thrive, in their later years.
Their programmes include Early Learning Playgroups, Toy Libraries and Capacity Building. Early Learning Playgroups are four four-hour play session that are structured around a routine, creating learning and play opportunities that develop children’s language, mathematics, problem-solving, gross motor, fine motor as well as social and emotional skills.
In order to allow more children access to their services, Cotlands developed their Toy Libraries. Working with the South African Department of Health, Cotlands set up mobile toy libraries which were to be attached to mobile health clinics. As the clinics would go to rural communities to offer immunisations and health checks, children would have the opportunity to play. The toy libraries provide the theme kits that support the learning plan, which consist of books, toys, games and other resources. This high-impact, cost-effective non-centre-based programme also provides resources and training to children, their families, early learning facilitators, home visitors, community workers and other organisations providing services to children.
In Capacity Building, Cotlands uses their skills to empower others, by increasing the quality of access to Early Childhood Development programmes by sharing best-practice principles with non-profit organisations and interested individuals to equip them to deliver toy library and playgroup programmes.
Lancaster Foundation funded one mobile toy library. However due to COVID, the mobile toy facilities have been paused until further notice.