"You didn't have to do all that you did. But you did."
Cheerful lyrics filled UCT's Archie Mafeje Room when it played home to a slightly different crowd on Friday 31 July: ten children from the early childhood development (ECD) programme run by the League of Friends of the Blind (LOFOB).
LOFOB is an organisation dedicated to helping visually impaired individuals integrate into society and live better lives. The ECD programme deals specifically with equipping children from birth to the age of six with the necessary skills to help them succeed at school.
In order to assist in the development of these skills, UCT's Disability Service – as part of a Mandela Day initiative by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor – handed over copies of the book, "I am ready, my readiness book" to all the young students present.
The book, printed in braille on thick, white cardboard, featured different shapes and pictures to help students become accustomed to tracking in a straight line.
According to Reinette Popplestone, manager at the Disability Service, these books, printed in braille, are important in developing "tactile discrimination", a much needed skill in the art of braille reading:
"As is the case with learning to read for children who can see, learning to read by means of braille requires more than just identifying the individual letters. Skills such as tracking, tactile discernment and even the very notion of 'a book' – something as fundamental as what is the top and what the bottom of a page – are vital to prepare those hands and fingers to get ready to learn to read."
According to Heidi Volkwijn, LOFOB's public relations officer, story time is a very important part of their ECD classes.
To thank the Disability Service for their partnership, the LOFOB students sang a medley of songs welcoming UCT to their family.
Story by Aamirah Sonday. Photo by Michael Hammond.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.