The surveys (see pages 16-17) showed that many parents and caregivers lacked the confidence to support their children’s learning at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. They wanted to help their children, but worried about their own levels of education and digital literacy, and how to get the resources they needed. Many families lacked access to textbooks, mobile phone data, electricity, the internet, televisions, or radios. They also faced basic survival challenges.
We wanted to make home learning materials that would give caregivers confidence and reduce their stress. And we wanted to help them understand how to adapt everyday activities at home into opportunities for learning.
Survey responses suggested that paper-based materials in local languages were essential. We needed to design materials that could be used easily by families with little or no access to digital media. And even when families could access electronic copies, they would need hard copies too, especially for younger children.
EENET’s consultants used the survey findings to inform initial drafts of the materials. NAD and their local partners reviewed the drafts to ensure that the wording and images were appropriate.
We created concise materials. A double-sided poster contains key messages and images for use alongside a more detailed activity booklet. Partners in Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar translated the materials into local languages, and printed the activity booklets locally.
We partnered with well-known and trusted community-based organisations and education centres. They could reach small groups of households whilst maintaining social distancing. The distributors explained the purpose of the materials to families.
Community members with better literacy skills (including older children) can help explain the materials. However, there are also many pictures so that parents with lower literacy levels can access some information on their own.
The materials provide family members with learning activities that can be done even if no other resources are available. We included guidance on how to vary and adapt the activities, but they can all be done repeatedly.
The materials have been downloaded more than 3,000 times from the EENET website. In January 2022 we will be publishing a second guide for early years learners.
EENET’s home learning materials can be downloaded from: www.eenet.org.uk/inclusive-home-learning/