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Text-Messages for Creative Early Learning

Provide parents with daily text messages containing parental advise and stories combined with playful early learning activities and quizzes.

Photo of Maria Z
5 5

Written by

I am a.....

  • Parent/Caregiver
  • Educator and Social innovator

Tell us about your idea

School curricula in Sub-Sahara Africa often lack creative and playful learning elements. Research has proven that children learn best through activities that stimulate all their senses. But, parents lack time and guidance how to engage with their children in a playful and creative way that fosters early learning. Currently, many children are missing out of school because of COVID19 related school closures. Especially smaller children have little access to alternative early learning resources. While older kids can manage their learning partly alone, parents of pre-school kids (3+) do not have the time and/or capacities to offer their children early learning activities at home. Especially vulnerable and disadvantaged children will fall back in their learning and development.

The idea is to provide parents with the necessary support and easy to do activities and stories to support the early learning journey of their children. Parents receive daily age-appropriate messages with step-by-step guidance for play based early learning activity using locally available materials. To make it even more interesting, SMS messages should contain an ongoing story and related activities. Messages also include health and educational tips.  Weekly quizzes allow to monitor progress and adapt new learning content accordingly.

A platform provides parents with the choice to sign-up to receive content via social media channels or via text or voice message. Also schools and community organisations can sign-up families. Early learning thereby becomes accessible to all families – in town or in rural communities. 

The idea is easy to replicate and scale as it is based on low cost distribution channels. Parents use available materials in their household and learn step-by-step how to playfully engage with their children. The content is short and easy to translate into local languages. It can easily be adapted to local school curricula.

The idea is currently piloted via an open Telegram social media channel in English, Amharic and Kinyarwanda languages ( ) with an increasing group of interested parents. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

A system where one out of four children in Sub-Sahara Africa is not attending pre-school. A system, where the public school curricula in many countries are not aligned with a child´s needs to explore the world through all its senses and in a playful and creative way. A system in which parents do not have support in fostering their child´s individual potential and learning beyond reciting the ABC.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I am myself  mother of two pre-school and primary school children, currently homeschooling them. Having experienced the power of Montessori-based learning activities, I would like to make those often easy-to-do tools available to parents who lack access to educational materials. Thereby building upon local resources, stories and knowledge. 

What region are you located in?

  • Eastern Africa

Where are you located?

Addis Abeba - the capital city of Ethiopia

Attachments (1)

Abracadabra Early Learning Text Messages.pdf

Full Concept and Idea description


Join the conversation:

Photo of Peter Worth

Maria Z thank you for submitting your idea! We’ve got 4 days left before the Challenge ends on May 26th. Next week, we will have a group of students reviewing ideas. If there is anything else you want to add (examples, additional depth, reflections, your thoughts from the comments thread, etc.), feel free to use the edit link to make any updates to your post. Thanks!

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