“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
Our vision is to improve the quality of learning and preparation for school readiness at Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres for the benefit of vulnerable children. We do this through focused empowering of ECD centre educators and owners with essential education and enterprise skills.
The Domino Foundation’s ECD programme assists ECD centres become sustainable businesses to make a lasting economic and educational impact in the community through empowering the owners with necessary business management skills to run profitable and quality-driven enterprises. It also upgrades the skills of ECD owners to go beyond being care-givers for children and to incorporate critical early childhood development into their programmes. We walk alongside ECD centre owners through practical, on-site interventions to ensure that business and educational aspects are implemented to meet the nutritional, cognitive, social, behavioural and educational needs of children in their formative years. It is critical that there is effective preparation of young children for school readiness through foundational learning phase.
We aim to create ECD centres that are more conducive to learning by improving the physical environment the supply of playground equipment, through building projects, painting and general renovations. The ECD programme acts as intermediary to facilitate necessary changes for as many ECD centres as possible to be registered with the Department of Social Development and qualify for government funding to aid in sustainability. We ensure necessary monitoring and evaluation of all activities and interventions aimed at learners.
- formal educational training of ECD owners and educators. We partner with ECD training centres like NELRU (Natal Early Learning Resource Unit) and TREE (Training Resources for Early Education) who provide classroom training modules in ECD training.
- basic business training for ECD owners. We work with ESS (Entrepreneurial Support Services) who provide classroom training on developing small business management skills using modules developed for ECD centres.
- on-site mentoring and monitoring by trained fieldworkers. The success of classroom training can only be measured by the successful implementation of the skills learned. Our trained field workers spend a day a week with ECD centre owners, to assist with implementing the lessons learned after training has been done. This change-management is at the core of the success of our development programme.
- physical development and upgrade of ECD centres. We partner with local artisans to build, fix and upgrade the physical spaces at ECD centres so that learning can take place in safe, stimulating environments. In the case of large projects, ‘Project Build’, a specialist NPO, is used for the plans, skills and experience to complete successful projects it has.
- addressing nutritional needs of ECD learners. The Domino Feeding Programme supplies all feeding needs from a centralised kitchen where a quality, balanced meal plan is provided. Most of the ECD centres start off with no kitchen, but each fully developed centre will be provided with a fully functional kitchen so it can provide its own meals. Good nutrition is essential for the development of young children.
- identity documents: As there is a desperate need for identity documents in order to access social grants and gain access to formal education, as well as establish a sense of identity, we facilitate the acquiring of birth certificates for orphaned and vulnerable children.
The Domino Foundation ECD’s Afrisun Bright Start Programme reaches crèche owners, educators and young children up to six years old in communities. There is one registered crèche out of approximately 150 facilities, where to a large extent children are not being prepared for school and are being ‘child minded’.
Opportunities for Involvement
The Domino Foundation ECD’s Afrisun Bright Start Programme is dependent on both corporate and individual financial donors, on non-financial donors and on volunteers.