Children ages 5 to 12 are invited to apply to attend one of several virtual “Kids Town Hall” events to be hosted by Play Africa, a children’s museum based at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
The Kids Town Hall sessions are part of the museum’s #PlayAfricaConnects programme, a series of unique online dialogues for South African communities to connect through technology. The virtual dialogue series was created in response to COVID-19, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut South Africa.
Play Africa CEO Gretchen Wilson-Prangley says the museum strives to ignite children’s curiosity and learning during the lockdown by inviting children to connect with others through meaningful conversations about issues that impact their lives. The first sessions are based on the theme: “How would children re-imagine cities after lockdown?”
“Children are naturally brilliant problem solvers, but all too often cultural institutions and decision makers forget to include children in conversations that really matter to them,” said Wilson-Prangley. “We’re committed to helping children develop
a creative mindset, helping them become better problem-solvers and critical thinkers so they can thrive in the future.”
“We are thrilled to partner with South Africa’s leading children’s museum to bring world-class learning experiences like this to children in South Africa,” said Dr. Nadine Siegert, Head of Culture & Development at the Goethe-Institut South Africa.
Applications for the first Kids Town Hall sessions are now open at bit.ly/KidsTownHall. A parent or guardian will be required to join the invitation-only virtual sessions, which will be hosted on Zoom.
Wilson-Prangley said children from across Johannesburg participated in a pilot session, and came up with illuminating responses on what they would like to see change in their city after the lockdown:
- “I would like to see our city parks clean and easy for us children to access,” said Bokang, age 10.
- “After the lockdown, I think the city should make play spaces for kids and other places for kids to play, and making things more child- appropriate,” said William, age 10.
“When the coronavirus is gone, we can play at the playground and we can climb trees,” said Simthandile, age 5. She said she enjoyed participating in the pilot Kids Town Hall session, adding “I like how the big people and the children were talking together.”
“We want South Africa’s children to become lifelong, independent learners who can adapt and thrive in the world of tomorrow,” said Wilson-Prangley, adding that virtual conversations like these can give children unique opportunities to feel that their voices are valued by their peers and caring adults, creating positive life-long memories.
“I loved that Play Africa wants to hear our ideas and make our voices heard,” said Pholoso, age 12, who took part in the pilot Kids Town Hall.