The year started on a very high note for the ECD programme with the opening of the Ithuba ECD Centre in Blackburn Village, north of Durban. It has been an inspiring story of municipal, corporate, social outreach and local community cooperation to give the children of the area an opportunity to learn and grow, preparing them for a lifelong journey of education.
The iThuba Community Centre, a partnership between eThekwini Municipality, Tongaat Hulett Development and the Blackburn community has seen the development of the ECD centre, based in an old house which has been refurbished. The ECD programme will initially be overseen by The Domino Foundation’s ECD programme providing mentorship, assessments of the facilities and teaching. The programme will also supply a qualified teacher while training and mentoring local teachers to run the pre-school.
“The Domino Foundation is proud to be working with Tongaat Hulett Development in the establishing and opening of the iThuba Early Childhood Development Centre,” said Sliee Ndimande, ECD Programme Leader. “There is a high incidence of unemployment and as a result significant disadvantage and poverty in the greater uMhlanga area. There are also few pre-primary facilities serving the communities, and often are little more than childminding establishments. The Domino Foundation’s vision is to improve the quality of learning and preparation for school readiness of vulnerable children through focused empowering of ECD owners and educators. We see that, with the Tongaat Hulett Development funding, the lthuba ECD Centre will become a critical ECD model in the area.”
In the Waterloo community near Sibaya, the ECD Programme continued its work, funded by the ‘Sibaya Community Trust’, to upgrade early educator skills. This programme assists ECD centres in underprivileged areas to become sustainable by empowering the owners with business management skills. It also implements training to upgrade teaching skills so that critical early childhood development becomes a reality in the twelve centres where the ECD programme is working. The year’s activities began with a refresher training in Waterloo. Sliee Ndimande reported that many of the teachers who attended the workshop are doing well in their schools. ECD fieldwork in Waterloo began at the start of March in the areas of mentoring, monitoring, training, resources and nutrition.
A survey conducted of new practitioners in the ECD programme highlighted the critical need for training with these ladies in the crèches through the programme’s partners, ‘Unlimited Child’. The Unlimited Child’s programme covers life skills, mathematics, life science and language and aims to train caregivers in how to make learning fun. The programme starts with a hands-on four-day training session. The day-to-day practitioners’ guide, the daily routine and learning through play with educational toys are excellent tools to equip the care-givers and educators to give their charges a solid foundation for when they enter primary school.
Looking ahead into the year, the thorough groundwork which has been laid thus far in 2018 will enable another four crèches to benefit from the ECD programme as of July 2018. Growth has already been and will continue to be the hallmark of The Domino Foundation’s ECD programme.
Funding is urgently needed for a vehicle as the ECD programme expands. If you are able to assist us in this or be involved in some way with e programme, please contact Sliee Ndimande (firstname.lastname@example.org).