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YOUNG children at the Amazing Grace Orphanage crèche will be able to expand their experiences and get a step ahead in their education after the facility received a batch of 35 story books from Joburg.

They were delivered to the Eikenhof home on 1 June, thanks to the City’s early child development’s Reading Development Programme.

“The first batch we … brought to the crèche contains books about the seasons,” explained the programme co-ordinator Elizabeth Horsby. “After they have finished with all the books, the caregiver can call us and we will deliver another batch with a different theme.”

The books are part of an initiative that targets disadvantaged areas where homes are not language and print rich, giving a head start in preparation for reading and academic success. It also focuses on the vital role that pre-literacy plays in children’s reading and general academic development.

Joburg’s early childhood development unit rotates the books between crèches. They have subjects such as wild and tame, homes and holidays, first experience, transport and communications, healthy living, things we eat, me and my country, my family and many more.

Through the programme, children from communities without a culture of reading are exposed to books and stories. It is believed this will help them develop the pre-literacy skills necessary for success at school. Pre-literacy skills cover far more than a child’s ability to identify letters, numbers, and shapes.

“We need to get them when they are still young. The ideal age to target them is from three to six years old,” she said.

Amazing Grace Orphanage provides a safe, permanent home for more than 80 children aged between one and 18 years who are victims of abandonment, abuse or human trafficking. Many of the children at the orphanage are HIV-positive.

Early childhood development is part of Joburg 2040, a document that describes the type of society Joburg wants to become by 2040.

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