The role of toy librarians in Gauteng Province in promoting inclusive education
Toy libraries are part of early childhood development (ECD) programmes in South Africa. Many ECD programmes do not ensure environments are conducive for learning by young children with diverse needs. This study investigated the role of toy librarians in promoting inclusive education. It is set within a constructivist theoretical framework, which focuses on Piaget and Vygotsky's theories. In order to explore the role of toy librarians that promoted inclusive education, this qualitative research focused on finding out how toy librarians included young children with diverse needs in their early learning programme. Nine toy librarians were purposefully selected from toy libraries in Johannesburg that conducted play sessions with young children. The data obtained was analysed using inductive methods, and the following themes emerged: knowledge about inclusive education; the use of the medical model to identify children with diverse needs; how to implement a curriculum; train parents; and, adapt the environment. Additional sub-themes emerged: teaching; assessment; support; adapting toys; and a lack of knowledge. The overall findings of this study indicated that toy librarians lacked knowledge and skills about inclusive education and how to implement it. Instead, they used a medical model of disability. But more research is needed to investigate how toy librarians could implement differentiated activities in toy libraries.
A research report submitted in fulfilment of the academic requirements for the degree of Master of Education to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2020