South Africa: Once Upon a Time At the Sunflower Early Learning Centre...

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The magic of attaining good matric results often starts when children are about eight years old. This is when they should be exposed to story-telling, books, reading, pictures, songs and rhymes, by adults who demonstrate the value of words. Maverick Citizen visited the Sunflower Learning Centre to see early literacy in action.

The Sunflower Learning Centre's Sonica Petros reads to boys from Zonnebloem Boys School. (Photo: Andrea Stalbom)

Six eight-year-old boys tumble into the Sunflower Learning Centre hopping around restlessly until they're instructed to pick a book, sit down and read. Immediately, they all swarm in the same direction - a tight phalanx, zero hesitation - and one by one reach up for a book from the Beast Quest series on a shelf high enough for some of them to have to stand on tiptoe.

Then they all bounce - boys that age never seem to just walk - over to a structure that looks like a tiny house where fairy lights twinkle in its ceiling and sit down on cushioned benches. Some of them have to remove the colourful hats they came in wearing, part of Spring Day festivities, in the jostle inside the tight space.

They begin reading,...

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