The Wordworks App.
Daily brain-building interactions
New product or service
Transition to Scale
The Wordworks app has been designed for parents, caregivers and educators of young children aged birth to five years. The app provides creative ideas and tips to support early learning through everyday activities, including novel ways of introducing early maths.
A focus of South Africa’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy is to provide quality information about how to support informal learning at home. However, access to parent support services is limited and there is a need for innovative programmes that support parents in their role as nurturing caregivers. Parents know that young children need food, shelter and health care, but many don’t realise that interacting with children through singing, talking, playing and reading is also essential for their development..
The free Wordworks app is available in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Afrikaans. Content is split into two modules: one relevant to birth-two years old, and the other for 3-5 years old. The app takes users on a fun journey and provides ideas about how to talk, play, sing and share books with babies and young children.
Users receive activity related messages from Monday to Thursday and an inspirational message on Fridays. The resource section contains short instructional videos as well as stories, rhymes and songs for young children. The app can be used by individuals, groups of parents, caregivers or preschool teachers. A tracking and sharing functionality allows users to see how they are progressing through the learning journey and to share activities or ideas with other users.
To address the cost of data, the app runs in offline mode after it has been downloaded, and there is no cost to access the content once it has been downloaded. The cost of download depends on whether Wifi or mobile data is used, but even on an expensive mobile data package, download costs should be less than R10 (USD 0.70.)
Why we invested.
In South Africa, quality culturally relevant content to support early learning is hard to come by. The content that does exist is often costly to disseminate. This investment presented the opportunity of working with a team who are known for developing quality early learning content and who have a strong and credible presence in the SA early years ecosystem. The use of mobile phones as a channel to market supported our quest for affordable, accessible and scalable solutions to support early learning.
The Project Team
The app was developed by The Reach Trust and Wordworks, using adapted content from the Every Word Counts programme. Every Word Counts was developed through funding from the Claude Leon Foundation, The Solon Foundation, the Frank Jackson Foundation and the Jim Joel Foundation.
The video content embedded in the app was sourced with permission from The Family Literacy Project, Mikhulu Trust, Bulungula Incubator and Rhodes University Community Engagement.