The Darling Trust

Darling Early Learning Literacy Programme

A university instructor with roots in Cape Town extends a successful preschool literacy program from Boston to South Africa.

by Susan Fine

 Northeastern’s Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, facilitates the Language Literacy Program in collaboration with the Boston Renaissance Public Charter School. 

Results from the phonological assessment subtest of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals demonstrate that the programme helps students develop their early literacy abilities and catch up to their typically developing classmates by the end of each school year.

“Working as a clinical instructor in the Language Literacy Program in Boston, I saw clearly that not only were the outcomes successful, but that the program was easily adaptable to different settings. I was raised in a farming district outside Cape Town, South Africa, and was acutely aware of the need for early literacy programs in my native country.

After the death of my mother—a passionate advocate of reading and learning—in South Africa, I decided to look for a non-profit foundation that would support the development and implementation of an early literacy program – I developed a working relationship with The Darling Trust in Darling, South Africa, and initiated a language literacy program with one instructor and eight children. The program now has one instructor and over 70 children reached.  The program strives to provide an atmosphere of supported learning to foster early literacy abilities and self-confidence.”

Tannie Ray DELP
Tannie Ray

Program components include:

  • Group storybook reading emphasizing book orientation; story outcome prediction; and novel lexicon, syntax and pragmatics.
  • Art, movement and music activities reinforcing early literacy abilities and confidence.
  • Literacy-related activities addressing receptive language, expressive language, and early reading and writing skills.
  • The emphasis is on reading, writing, numeracy and play – including the intellectual, emotional, perceptual and motor skills. Mothers and care-givers are also coached to prepare the pre-school children for primary school.
  • The goal is to support work already being done as well as to create programs that will reach those children who are currently not in any pre-school facility.
  • The program is currently facilitated by former teacher Ray Beukman who visits a variety of schools and after school care facilities.
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