A preschool learner using Souns builds an isiXhosa word – isele – by listening to sounds in the word.
This is Part III of our Souns training trip to South Africa. “It’s ok if others take our ideas as long as they build upon them.” Simon Sinek
During my recent trip to South Africa, I visited an organization I have worked with for many years, implementing the Souns program. While in their office I saw a letter m similar in font and size to the authorized Souns letter, but different in material, texture, and color.
What was happening? As I asked for understanding and details, each person passed me off to the next. Eventually I was told the organization intended to create their own program, based on but independent of the Souns program.
What I felt? I was enraged by not being informed of such plans. I was concerned because the quality of any imitation will directly impact the reputation of Souns and safety of children. I was challenged because I must accept that imitation is likely if the program is working.
What matters? Good practice and quality of materials are paramount. Any materials used for the letters must be tested to confirm they are safe for hands and mouths of infants and toddlers. Good practice with Souns is described in the SounsGuide.
What now? Take the infraction, the disappointment, and grow. Expand this opportunity to ensure children will read. Let those aligned with the Souns program demonstrate transparency of intentions, so that all can learn from collective experiences and work together. “He who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” Thomas Jefferson
What next? I will design a platform from which Souns-like programs can be identified and acknowledged. The responsibility will be transparency, good practice, and safety in materials. I must take this experience and build forward, guided by my own words: until every child reads!