A Guide to Using DBE Grade R Workbooks in the Classroom

The foundation years of a child’s education are pivotal in laying the groundwork for future academic success. With the launch of the Department of Basic Education’s (DBE) Grade R workbooks, South African educators are equipped with a valuable tool designed specifically to cater to the unique learning needs of five-year-old learners.

These workbooks, which form part of the DBE’s innovative strategy to enhance children’s performance throughout their schooling journey, have been meticulously crafted with the Grade R learner in mind. Recognizing the importance of early exposure to stimulating activities, the Grade R workbooks aim to develop pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-mathematics skills, setting the stage for seamless transition into Grade 1 and beyond.

Integrated across literacy, numeracy, and life skills, the workbooks encompass 20 diverse themes. These themes resonate with the vibrant world of young learners, offering engaging, fun-filled opportunities to cultivate essential skills and concepts. From understanding how a book functions to mastering fine motor coordination and letter formation, the workbooks are designed to holistically address the developmental milestones of Grade R learners.

Furthermore, the Grade R workbooks are not a one-size-fits-all approach. They acknowledge that every child’s learning pace and style is unique. Therefore, the workbooks offer teachers the flexibility to tailor their approach, moving backward and forward according to each child’s unique development. By identifying learning barriers early on, these workbooks enable teachers to address them before the child embarks on formal schooling.

In a classroom where curiosity and exploration are encouraged, the Grade R workbooks serve as a guiding light, illuminating the path for teachers to create a rich and stimulating learning environment. The workbooks provide both teachers and learners with a playful yet structured approach to learning, designed to spark joy and foster the love of learning.

This guide offers an in-depth exploration of how to effectively use the DBE Grade R workbooks in a classroom setting. By focusing on classroom activities and opportunities for differentiated learning, we hope to empower teachers to harness the potential of these resources, crafting a learning journey that’s as colorful and diverse as a rainbow.

Using Workbook 1:

1. About Me (Page 2):


  • Introduce children to self-portraits by allowing them to look at themselves in a mirror and draw their faces.
  • Create an “All About Me” poster with individual likes, dislikes, and hobbies.

Differentiated Learning:

  • For advanced learners, encourage more detailed descriptions.
  • For learners needing support, provide templates or visual aids.

2. My Body (Page 12):


  • Sing and dance to songs that mention body parts, like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”
  • Create a body part matching game using pictures and labels.

Differentiated Learning:

  • Challenge advanced learners to write body part names.
  • Assist struggling learners with visual aids or guided matching exercises.

3. My Classroom (Page 24):


  • Organize a classroom scavenger hunt, letting children find various objects.
  • Create a classroom map together, placing labels on different areas.

Differentiated Learning:

  • Encourage advanced learners to write labels independently.
  • Provide picture cues for those needing support.

4. Healthy Living (Page 32):


  • Discuss healthy eating and create paper plate meals with cut-out food images.
  • Incorporate physical activities for healthy living, like stretching or simple exercises.

Differentiated Learning:

  • Encourage advanced learners to explain their choices.
  • Guide struggling learners by providing visual examples and group work.

5. Friends (No Specific Page):


  • Engage in role-play or storytelling about friendship.
  • Create friendship bracelets or cards.

Differentiated Learning:

  • Encourage more complex story-building for advanced learners.
  • Simplify activities and provide templates for those needing support.

Using Workbook 2:

Repeat similar strategies, incorporating age-appropriate activities and differentiation techniques:

  1. Senses: Engage in sensory exploration stations (e.g., tasting, touching, smelling).
  2. My Family: Create family trees or portraits, discuss family members.
  3. My Home: Build paper or craft-stick houses, discuss different rooms.
  4. Safety: Teach safety rules through songs, role-play, or puppet shows.
  5. Seasons and the Weather: Discuss and depict various weather conditions and seasons through art and music.

Overall Strategies:

  • Multi-Sensory Approach: Utilize visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities that cater to different learning styles.
  • Pacing and Flexibility: Be aware of individual learner’s pace and readiness, and don’t hesitate to adjust activities or revisit concepts.
  • Play-Based Learning: Incorporate playful, hands-on activities to make learning engaging and meaningful.
  • Continuous Assessment: Regularly assess to identify barriers in learning and adjust strategies accordingly.

The Rainbow Workbooks are a fantastic resource to boost foundational skills in literacy, numeracy, and life skills. Tailoring these tools to the unique needs and interests of Grade R learners will cultivate a joyful and effective learning experience.