Learning Should Be Meaningful And Reasonable

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The Department of Basic Education (DBE) does not expect parents to become teachers during the lockdown. Nor do we expect children to teach themselves the curriculum. Please accept our assurances that once your children return to school, ‘recovery’ plans will be put in place to ensure that your children are taught what they need to know.

However, we do want parents and guardians to ensure that meaningful learning takes place during the lockdown period. It is very important for all children to ‘stay connected’ to school life. This does not mean that they have to be in touch with the school. Rather, it means that they must not forget what they have already learned, and they must not forget what it is like to listen, to read, to learn, and to complete tasks.

They need to regularly do activities like revising and memorizing what they have previously learned; reading and understanding texts; completing written tasks; and practicing Maths and Science calculations. These tasks will prepare your children for when they return to school. They will be masters of what they have already learned, and they will be used to the processes of learning. They will be equipped for hard work and a faster pace that faces them when they return to school.

What can parents do about this?

Make an appropriate space for your children to do their work and help them to organise their resources. Arrange a suitable workspace for your children to do their learning. This can be a space at a kitchen or dining table, or it can even be a space on the floor.

Encourage your children to always work in the same space, as part of their routine. Encourage your children to get all of their schoolbooks out, and to make sure they are properly organised. Also, collect all the stationery in the house and from your children’s school bags.

Try to ensure that they have access to pens, pencils, and any other equipment that they may need. Collect any reading resources that are available in your home. This includes textbooks, DBE Workbooks, reading books, magazines or pamphlets, novels, newspapers, the Bible, etc.

Take advantage of any programmes provided by the school

If your children attend schools that have the resources to communicate with parents and provide a lockdown learning programme, please take advantage of this.  Support your children as best as you can to complete the lockdown learning programme. Young learners need more help with learning activities, but an older sibling can also help.


Collect small stones, beans, or pasta for your children to use for counting. Show your children how to practice counting using the stones. If you have time, teach your children to count higher than they already can. Show your children how to use the stones to count in 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s. Show your children how to use the stones to count backward.

Addition and Subtraction

Use the stones to help your children practice adding and subtracting. In Grade 1 and 2, they must practice adding and subtracting up to 10. In Grade 3, children can practice mentally adding up to 20. Playing shop and put price tags on some items in your house, for example, food products, furniture, or clothes.

Make some play money by tearing up pieces of paper and writing the value of notes and coins on the paper. Take turns to be the shopkeeper or the customer with your children. Check your children’s calculations, to make sure that they understand how to use money.

Letter Sounds

Fold and tear up a piece of paper into small squares. Write a letter of the alphabet on each small square. Spread the pieces of paper out. Point at different letters and tell your children to say the sounds. Ask your children to build different words using the letter squares.

As they put the sounds together, they must say the sounds, and then read the words. Ask your children to write these words down. If you don’t have paper, use one of your children’s schoolbooks.


Tell your children to practice reading using their reading book or DBE Workbook. Go back to the beginning of the book and start there. If your children cannot read a word, help them to sound it out. Once your children have read the story, ask them to tell you what it was about.


If you don’t have paper, use one of your children’s schoolbooks. Give your children a topic to draw and write about, like: your best friend; what you want for your birthday; your favourite games; your family. Tell your children to first think of what they want to draw and write. Tell them to draw a picture of their story.

Then, with Grade R or Grade 1 children, ask them to write one or two labels of things in the picture. With Grade 2 or 3 children, ask them to write one or two sentences about the picture. Help them to start the sentences if needed.

Once they have finished writing, ask your children to talk to you about what they have written. Ask questions and give them feedback. For more information, visit: https://www.education.gov.za/