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EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD)

*This project has been ear-marked for social franchise development

This project has been developed to assist caregivers in impoverished communities who are tasked with looking after preschool children while their parents are at work. Many of these caregivers have limited education and no access to formal training. Education Africa runs a three year-long whole school intervention programme by running a series of workshops to assist these caregivers in ensuring that the children in their care acquire the necessary skills needed when entering the formal school system. On-site visits are also undertaken by our ECD Specialist to ensure that the skills which the caregivers have learnt in the workshops, are implemented in the classroom. We also assist with the management of the preschools.

WHY DID WE LAUNCH THE ECD PROJECT?

Research into a number of ECD centres in disadvantaged areas revealed the following:
• Babies are not being stimulated and assisted with physical movement and development.
• Education of learners ranging from the ages of 1 – 5 years is not adequate. Consequently, the majority of the 6-year old children are not school ready resulting in learning problems at a later stage.
• Educational tools/resources are limited and care-givers have not been trained in how to use such resources for maximum educational benefit.
• Gross motor development is not a priority area that is monitored, resulting in learning problems at a later stage.

Education Africa therefore concluded that the provision of a whole school training project for ECD practitioners would present the most far reaching and best intervention in these communities.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE ECD PROJECT? 

The project involves the education and mentorship of ECD practitioners through the following:
• Early Childhood Development Principles and how to apply them
• Understanding developmental standards of children up to 6 years old.
• School and classroom management
• Theme files and curriculum planning
• Motor skills
• Speech and language development
• Pre-reading and maths skills
• Emotional Intelligence
• Cognitive Stimulation and Perceptual Skills

• Making own resources
• School Readiness
• Health and Safety including First Aid
• Support Children and Adults living with HIV/AIDS
• Pre-school registration requirements
• Basic Business Concepts and training for financial sustainability

HOW DOES EDUCATION AFRICA ENSURE THAT THE ABOVE ARE ACHIEVED?

The Education Africa ECD programme runs over a three year period where emphasis is placed on ‘Whole School Development’ through the following:
Year 1: Training workshops are conducted once a week. Caregivers are not required to attend all workshops; however they are required to complete a certain number of hours in training and practical classroom assessments. Formative and summative assessments of the caregivers are conducted appropriately.
Year 2: In addition to formal training of staff, on-site training sessions are provided to caregivers. The ECD Trainer supports participants to use their newly acquired skills in a practical setting, i.e. the classroom. As part of the on-site training, the ECD Specialist also assesses the facilities of the preschool and with the assistance of the community; Education Africa makes physical improvements to the school.
Year 3: The focus during this period is on the principal and owner of the school, who are invited to attend additional training workshops which cover topics such as labour relations, accounting practices, record keeping, and registration with appropriate authorities, health care etc.

The Education Africa ECD Programme gives caregivers the opportunity to enjoy a rewarding career while providing a sustainable learning environment that children can excel in and benefit from throughout their entire schooling. Early reading skills are established which are essential for literacy in primary schooling. The foundations for numeracy are addressed through patterning and sequencing. ECD is critical in laying the foundation on which primary schooling is built.