SoundStart, a ground-breaking audio early childhood education initiative using our Lifeplayer MP3s, provides engaging and educational audio content to inadequately resourced township preschools in South Africa. Initially piloted in Cape Town's townships and informal settlements, SoundStart will improve listening, English language and motor skills through songs, music and dance. The initiative also gives poorly trained preschool teachers much needed professional training and support.
There's no government oversight in South Africa for early childhood development (ECD) and for many children kindergarten is their first exposure to education. In Cape Town's over-crowded, crime-riddled informal settlements, preschools are woefully resourced. Caregivers are often grandmothers and there's a severe shortage of trained teachers. The result is that children from poor families are entering school with no basic numeracy and literacy skills, and undeveloped fine and gross motor skills.
Lifeline provides select preschool networks with Lifeplayers containing music-based learning programmes for teachers to use in the classroom. The content delivers a fun and memorable learning experience, rooted in imagination and play, that encourages brain exercises and learning outcomes. SoundStart also provides over-worked teachers a break with support in the form of quality stories for quiet listening time. With training as an important part of this project, teachers' skills are enriched.
Investment in early education has greater cost savings and payback than any other time and it's been repeatedly demonstrated that poor and at-risk children benefit most from intervention. Children who are exposed to SoundStart will improve their listening, auditory processing and language skills, develop fine and gross motor skills, and be given a solid foundation for numeracy and literacy. This will prepare preschool children for kindergarten, in an active and fun learning environment.