The Cadbury Dairy Milk Glass & a Half Project
. Even though we are experiencing unprecedented times, there is a connectedness and kindness that shines through. Cadbury Dairy Milk recognises this as a ‘spirit of generosity’ and is tapping into this goodness to help give the precious gift of childhood to orphaned and vulnerable children through the Glass & a Half Project. Because now more than ever we cannot underestimate the importance of play.
For a limited time, when you purchase one of five participating Cadbury Dairy Milk variants (80g and 150g), wrapped in special edition sleeves, you will be contributing towards R1-million worth of educational toys, books and games that will be donated to orphaned and vulnerable children across South Africa.
‘’Continued isolation is a challenging state for any child, but it is even more so for children with limited access to stimulation. Experts agree that play is vital for development and learning. It’s also a crucial part of working through emotional stress, especially for children who may find it difficult to express themselves. Which is why, especially now, we feel it is essential to provide educational toys, books and games to children who may otherwise have little or no access to these types of resources," explains Lara Sidersky, Mondelez SA Category Lead for Chocolate.
Play means more to kids than you know
Nikki Bush, human potential, and parenting expert says there’s a dangerous misconception that ‘real learning’ only starts from Grade R onwards. According to her, nothing could be further from the truth. School readiness is a progressive process that starts at birth and takes around six years to evolve - mostly through play-based learning.
‘’The sheer power of play has been completely underestimated and it needs to regain its rightful place in the learning and bonding journey. Children need exposure to a rich environment of experiences and tools that will enable them to discover and create meaning about the world for themselves. This does not mean children need to come from affluent environments to be entitled to this right. Rich learning experiences and environments can be created anywhere.’’
Bush adds that curiosity drives all learning, and that regular stimulation and prescribed play with some basic games and toys can set children up for greater academic success in the future.
‘’Play is the language of childhood. When playing, children begin to understand their physical world. They become aware of their bodies and they learn to communicate with other children and adults. Play helps children learn to solve problems. It enriches their creativity and develops leadership skills. Play – which is stimulation – wires their brain. Children need to develop their imagination and creativity to have original thoughts that will help them to solve the problems of the future.”
Children are remarkably resilient. However, during these unsettling times, while the world adapts to a ‘new normal’, play can be a form of therapy. Empowering children to feel a sense of control, work through complex emotions and express thoughts in a way that goes beyond words.
Gretchen Wilson-Prangley, founder and CEO of Play Africa*, a pioneering children’s museum based in Johannesburg, agrees. ‘’Fear and uncertainty around the current pandemic is adversely impacting the mental health and emotional well-being of children in our communities. Child-led, unstructured free play, is the most important way for children to process their difficult and complicated feelings. Play also helps children build emotional and social connections and stay fit and healthy. Yet, during the lockdown, many children in South Africa lack adequate space and resources for the play they need."
Bush comments that access to play should be a right, not a privilege. “It is good that toys, books, games and other resources are now recognised as essential items, under the latest lockdown level, but that doesn’t aid their accessibility to orphaned and vulnerable children. That’s why I am delighted Cadbury Dairy Milk is stepping in to assist and to give us all a tangible way to make a difference to our nation’s most important and most neglected assets – our children.” She adds that by donating educational and entertaining resources, Cadbury Dairy Milk is also assisting caregivers who are needing to create constant stimulation, while schools are still closed.
Lebohang Masango, award-winning author of children’s book Mpumi’s Magic Beads and passionate advocate for childhood literacy, is enthusiastic that books will be included in The Cadbury Dairy Milk Glass & a Half Project donation. “Stories introduce children to worlds, concepts and images far beyond what they know. From astronauts to super-inventors, friendship, acts of kindness, magic, and everything in between - children can see and believe in new possibilities for themselves. Books are also a source of comfort through the difficult periods in our lives. To encounter books that explore challenges gives children the ability to relate and empathise with the characters' circumstances and possibly incorporate these responses into our own.
Now is the time to upweight the power of play and accelerate learning. Bush concludes by saying, ‘’we need a generation of children who believe ‘I am, I can, I will’ to survive and thrive in a fast-changing world. A world where employment no longer provides guarantees, where an education no longer secures a job or a career and where children will need to be resourceful, resilient, adaptable, flexible, creative, and committed to lifelong learning. This all starts with play.’’