OUR MISSION is to create engaged citizens and healthy communities by empowering visitors to discover new worlds, to ask questions, and to imagine a better future through interactive exhibits, programming and play. Play Africa is a registered non-profit company and public benefit organisation with Section 18A tax-exempt status in South Africa. Disrupting the idea of a "museum," Play Africa developed a flexible museum model to bring transformative learning experiences promoting creativity, innovation and connection to a divided society. Through replicable programmes and exhibits, Play Africa empowers children, parents and teachers with learning approaches that bring global thinking... read more OUR MISSION is to create engaged citizens and healthy communities by empowering visitors to discover new worlds, to ask questions, and to imagine a better future through interactive exhibits, programming and play. Play Africa is a registered non-profit company and public benefit organisation with Section 18A tax-exempt status in South Africa. Disrupting the idea of a "museum," Play Africa developed a flexible museum model to bring transformative learning experiences promoting creativity, innovation and connection to a divided society. Through replicable programmes and exhibits, Play Africa empowers children, parents and teachers with learning approaches that bring global thinking to classrooms and communities. Play Africa is pioneering, de-centralised children's museum that creates inclusive spaces for high-quality play and playful learning. In six years of successful operations, we've become a platform to champion children's rights, bring families together, and foster social inclusion through inspiring play exhibits and facilitated programmes. In Johannesburg, we are based inside a former prison at the iconic Constitution Hill, which has been re-cast as a human rights precinct and is now home to South Africa's Constitutional Court. Play Africa's hands-on learning takes place in the courtyards and rooms adjacent to the cell where President Nelson Mandela's was once incarcerated. Play Africa transforms this apartheid-era prison into a joyful family playscape of discovery and learning. However, not every child can come to us, so we have made the entire city of Johannesburg our museum, creating pop-up experiences in the city itself -- in school halls, parks, community centres and inner city rooftops. We developed a scalable, replicable model to create Play Africa experiences in a range of urban contexts. The majority of our visitors include children who from low-income homes, underserved communities, are physically or mentally disabled, neglected, orphaned, homeless, refugees or asylum seekers, physically and/or mentally abused or traumatised. We offer special access hours twice a month to make special provision, and remove additional barriers, for children with disabilities and special needs. With a demonstrated track record of social impact, combined with world-class back-end controls and a realizable strategy for sustainable growth, we are poised to scale in several locations across sub-Saharan Africa and are looking for the right strategic partners. WHY DO WE DO IT? Everyone deserves access to safe environments where they can play, create, discover and connect with one another, so we make 21st-century, high-quality playful learning available to everyone - from all walks of life and abilities. Everyone who visits Play Africa can try new play experiences in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, that are locally-relevant and rooted in educational pedagogies. Over the last five years, we've created inclusive, scalable, appropriate solutions in a society that is highly polarized, deeply unequal and characterised by exclusion. Five days a week, we offer free, safe and inclusive public play and educational spaces open to the 1 million children age 10 and under in greater Johannesburg, and increasingly attract visitors from neighbouring provinces. Besides making provision for play on site at Constitution Hill, we conduct right to play outreach and advocacy programmes in underserved communities that directly serve tens of thousands of children nationwide. EQUIPPING CHILDREN FOR THE FUTURE The world is on the brink of a technological revolution. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will impact the future employment, and employability, of today's children. Now more than ever, it is important that South Africa's children embrace creative, dynamic learning approaches and STEM education (science, technology, engineering and maths) to become the innovators and inventors of the future. At the same time, ecological changes due to rapid global warming further create uncertainty in the future. For South Africa's young children to thrive in the 21st century, they must become lifelong learners, with ever-evolving skills to identify and solve problems with creativity, collaboration and empathy. Children ages 0-10, families and schools explore #STEM education, scientific inquiry, critical thinking and personal expression. We encourage all children to discover the wonder of science, technology, engineering and maths in the world all around them. Due to space constraints, we rotate our play-based learning exhibits and exhibit prototypes on an ongoing basis. During your visit, you will play that promotes equitable outcomes in: *Aeronautics and aviation *Astronomy and space science *Children's rights *Coding and coding concepts *Computational thinking *Creative arts *Dramatic play *Early childhood development (ECD) *Executive functioning *Earth science *Engineering *Fantasy and pretend play *Life science *Mathematics and numeracy *Physical science *Robotics *Technology *Inquiry skills *Observation skills *Science process skills *Sensory play *STEM careers *STEM leaders in Africa Our work has been featured by the Association of Children's Museums, MuseumNext, Science Centre World Summit and others. RESPONSE TO COVID-19 Play Africa has expanded its reach to more children and families in the wake of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Using accessible virtual platforms, we have developed more than 15 hours of virtual programmes for children's learning and parent support. Programmes developed and successfully executed since 16 March 2020 include: * Play Africa Connects - Virtual conversations to support parents so they can better support their children. Topics covered include: "Supporting your child's emotional well-being," "Self-care for parents," "Parenting children with disabilities during lockdown," and "Parenting in the inner city during lockdown." We have found that this programme has been popular well beyond South Africa, with audiences from all continents (except Antarctica) tuning in. * African storytelling series - Professional storytellers share culturally-relevant content to our museum audience -- a programme in English with supportive vocabulary in local indigenous languages. * Play, Heal and Connect - Helping local schools and pre-schools create safe, humane and supportive responses to the pandemic and lockdown, using global guidance from UNICEF, WHO and UNESCO. * Talking About Race - A response to the Black Lives Matter movement, helping parents and educators create positive dialogues about race, racism and xenophobia with children ages 5-10. * Direct Support - Direct services to people in need. * COVID-19 Stories - First-person narratives aimed to cultivate a sense of community and mutual support. We are happy to provide additional supporting documentation on any of the above areas.
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