Early Childhood Development 4th Quarter 2015
“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”
These great words from Nelson Mandela inspire the Domino Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, an initiative that hopes to empower unequipped and under-resourced ECD centres to build a stronger foundation for young learners.
One of South Africa’s greatest education challenges is access to quality learning from a young age and even those that do go to foundation phase learning are often scared by the social ills of a broken community. The Amaoti area is marked by poverty and child-headed households and the reality is that what’s happening at home affects the school day – making teaching difficult and requiring teachers to double up as counsellors too.
The Domino Foundation’s ECD team walks alongside 16 ECD centre owners, monitoring the crèches weekly. Educational and enterprise assistance is provided to help meet the nutritional, cognitive, social, behavioural and educational needs of children in their formative years.
Even though the programme has been implemented for a few years it has been a joy to see the suggested improvements being cemented in centres’ routine. All the crèches now teach the same themes and work in tandem together, whereas before the teachers worked in silos isolating themselves from peers. Through the guidance of Unlimited Child and the continued support of the Domino Foundation’s crèche mentors, crèche owners and teachers are empowered to not just care for the children but actually teach them too.
The Sibaya Community Trust have generously funded the programme for the past three years and have been so encouraged by the improvements in the crèches that Domino works into that they are extending funding to cover 15 more crèches in the Waterloo area. Crèche assessments have already been well under way as life skills workers rate the Waterloo crèches on their standing on the registration process, their hygiene, teaching methods and infrastructure.
As a thank you for the teachers’ selfless dedication the Domino Foundation threw an awards ceremony for the crèche owners and teachers complete with holidays hampers and gifts to acknowledge them for what they have done.
The ECD team is excited to unroll what they have set up this year; a season they feel is full of promises and miracles. 2015 has been a year of strengthening and laying the foundations to make an even bigger impact on vulnerable children in the Amaoti community in 2016. As God opens doors into government the team prays for the completion of all the crèche registrations, an accomplishment that brings life and security to the creches and a stepping-stone to a brighter future for our children.