More play, less stress – The Monkeynastix way


There is no question that the pandemic has had an enormous impact not only on the economy but on the well-being of everyone and specifically on the mental health and growth of our children. According to a McKinsey & Co Education survey, education worldwide is in crisis. Interrupted schooling has shown that learners have fallen behind both academically, intellectually and emotionally – in some countries as much as one school year behind – with 35% of parents extremely concerned about their child’s mental health.  

Minimising the impact and tutoring is one of the solutions and it is the franchised education sector that stepped up to the plate to play a key role in redressing the educational disparity and putting the emotional, intellectual and physical well-being of children first. 

One of FASA’s franchise members that have done just that is Monkeynastix, started 26 years ago when Dirk Cilliers started his foundational research on the impact of movement in childhood development whilst living in Amsterdam. With Monkeynastix, he started his journey of impacting thousands of children all over the world as part of a franchise system. 

He has always maintained that each generation comes with unique requirements and expectations but as tradition and history would have it, 2020 was set to be full of promise of brighter futures due to the growing economy promising bright opportunities for the next generations. 

“However, what was still to come, the Covid pandemic and all the variants to follow, was and is still unfolding, says Dirk Cilliers. The emotional and social impact on babies and toddlers was something that was only perceived and noticed as the impact of the pandemic continued. Being in touch with so many schools, teachers, parents, children and babies, Monkeynastix as a group had a unique birds-eye view of the emotional impact on children from ages 3 months to 12 years. All of a sudden, the landscape of the approach to movement education had to be re-adjusted.” 

Ever mindful of daily and sometimes hourly status changes from strict lockdown rules in South Africa, to changing operational rules with pre-schools and primary schools due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on children all over the world, CEO of Monkeynastix, Dirk Cilliers has been dedicating the last two years, constantly re-developing new ideas to form a practical approach to combat childhood anxiety. 

Once again, stating the obvious as with adults, a natural way to combat internal stress and anxiety is to do exercise. But children need more than a walk around the neighbourhood; the walk is good but not sufficient. Children need excitement and an escape into a fantasy world that is linked to physical exercise, and this is exactly where an exciting solution sneaks in where two worlds collide in a fantastical way. One world that we are all currently all living in, ever changing but strangely still oddly in some ways still the same, another ‘world’ that was created nearly 26 years ago when Dirk Cilliers started his foundational research on the impact of movement in childhood development. What started as a love for sport and movement, to the development of a basic programme for pre-schoolers to playfully get involved with activities that would create strong bodies and minds and most of all, good self-esteem. 

Dirk’s excitement at seeing pre-schoolers develop faster and faster prompted him to develop alternative curriculums for each age group including:  

  • Babynastix for babies from 3 months to 24 months;
  • Monkeynastix focuses on children from 12 months to 8 years;
  • Supernastix focuses on youngsters from 7 to 12 years. 

“As our children are having to adjust to a new environment, we are looking forward to supporting each baby, toddler and child to create a better childhood experience and to combat covert stress in the best way possible through creative play.” 

For further info visit Monkeynastix. 

FASA Franchise Association South Africa
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