Improving school readiness through ongoing support and bite-size engagement

The home learning experiences of young children vary dramatically. By the age of four, children in poorer families, hear about 30 million fewer words than children in “professional families.” 

Parenting interventions represent one strategy for addressing such differences. Through CareUp, we hope to break down the complexity of parenting into small steps that are easy to achieve. 

CareUp is available as an Android app and mobi site. It helps to improve early childhood development (ECD) through regular messaging and push notifications with bite-size ECD content linked to activities, instructions and exercises that supports children's’ home language development. The content is sourced from Wordworks’ Every Word Counts books, and provide parents and practitioners with the tools they need to teach young children to read and talk.

Parents and practitioners receive 3 weekly messages with activities and instructions around a theme that is aligned to the National Curriculum Framework. In addition, they also receive weekly inspirational content, and can access a resource section that includes a selection of stories from Nal’iBali to read to children at any time.

CareUp was developed by the Reach Trust in association with the Western Cape Department of Social Development and The Innovation Edge in 2016. CareUp is available in isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans, and was piloted in the Western Cape at 10 locations with 15 practitioners and 120 parents between August and December 2016. 

The results of the pilot have been very encouraging, and CareUp was piloted at 50 additional sites in 2017 and is now available in isiZulu.