Practitioner Training

Our ECD programme aims to build the capacity of those who work with preschool children,  and to promote long-term sustainability for community preschools. Due to systemic inequality and a lack of services, millions of South African children are denied their right to a quality early education. In response, ordinary citizens all over the country have set up informal preschools on their own.

Often, the quality of these preschools – from the infrastructure to the education – is a concern, and many principals and practitioners have little to no formal training. One aspect of our ECD programme focuses on providing training to preschool practitioners, so that they can better provide quality early education to the children they care for.

Practitioner sings with the children at Njongo Yethu Educare in Khayelitsha © Sydelle Willow Smith

Practitioner Training

Our preschool in Khayelitsha, Kwakhanya Educare, serves as a training facility where practitioners can gain practical experience and mentorship in the classroom. Training topics include learning through play, working with parents, using books and educational toys, and how to best make use of the classroom space.

Through experiential learning, mentoring and support, practitioners are able to vastly improve the quality of the care and education that they provide the children in their care, ensuring that they are school-ready by the time they reach Grade R. Our field workers regularly visit our trainee practitioners at their preschools to aid with the implementation of their training and to offer practical support.

This training has improved the layout of preschool classrooms, in turn maximising the resources available to the children and providing appropriate spaces for learning. It had also led to an increase in the variety of activities offered to the children to better stimulate the physical, cognitive and emotional development of the child.

 

74

practitioners enrolled in 2019, impacting over

1,333

preschool children

 

Training in developmental stages for babies

A unique aspect of this programme is the inclusion of a training module that focuses on the development of babies, aged 0-18 months. There is a dire lack of resources available to practitioners who care for babies, despite it being widely recognised that the first two years of a child’s life are crucial for social, educational and emotional development.

Practitioners are trained in simple activities that foster the development of communication skills for babies. The introduction of ‘lap-time’ ensures that appropriate learning techniques are used to help the babies develop language and communication skills, such as eye contact,  anticipation (learnt through games such a peek-a-boo), and listening and engaging with others.

Zanele Manyoko, Practitioner for the baby class at Kwakhanya Educare, with two of the children she cares for. © Sacha Voeffray Samson

Read more about our ECD programme here.