Following an audit of 31 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in the Northern Cape, Droogfontein Solar Power, in Kimberley, and De Aar Solar Power, has contributed R800 000 towards ECD teaching aids and resources. “Investment in the development, care and protection of children’s needs, is a priority, as it is our vision to ensure that ECD centres move from being day care facilities to centres of education and development,” explained Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for Droogfontein Solar Power and De Aar Solar Power.
The ECD audit revealed that provision of teaching aids programmes are fundamental if we are to improve numeracy and literacy on early childhood development in this area. The study showed that many of the practitioners’ did not have the requisite NQF level 6 qualification and therefore in order to improve education outcomes their training, was crucial. Practitioners from the 31 ECD Centres commenced training during May 2015 to improve their skills. Topics such as play-based learning and children’s rights; child development; different kinds of play and their role in language, science and numeracy; as well as language and literacy development, were covered amongst other subject matters.
On the final day of training, each ECD centre was presented with educational resources to ensure that they have the necessary equipment to stimulate learning and play. The equipment includes both indoor and outdoor apparatus as well as books and educational tools to aid positive childhood development. “The equipment will assist the children in developing their literacy, numeracy and life skills; including vocabulary, observational skills, eye-hand coordination, problem-solving skills, logical thinking and recognition of colours and shapes,” explained Green-Thompson.
The initial training is followed up with support and mentoring visits on an ongoing basis to address compliance matters pertaining to infrastructure and governance, health and safety and support for the use of resources. “Each ECD centre has received educational resources so it is critical that they are trained and assisted with the management and the effective use of these resources,” added Green-Thompson.
Stakeholders and ECD centres were identified through consultation with the Northern Cape Department of Education. Structured, qualitative interviews were conducted with key stakeholders. An extensive number of detailed interviews were conducted with the centres. In addition, interviews were carried out with NPOs, the Departments of Education, Health and Social Development; the South African Police Services; the Education Training and Development Practices Secta tor, Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA) provincial office and the local municipal offices.
The participating Early Childhood Development Centres supported by De Aar Solar Power include communities in De Aar, Britstown and Hanover; these include: Lollipops Educare, Leeukoppies Speelgroep, Heal the World ECD, Sunshine Day Care, Haasbekkies Educare, Alpha Primary School, Hompie Ka Dompie ECD, Mina Moe Educare Centre, Masifundasi Day Care Centre, Besige Bytjies, Crawling Babies Educare, Imizamo Yethu ECD, Phillipvale ECD, Siyavuselela ECD Site, Luvuyo ECD, St Johns Mission.
The participating Early Childhood Development Centres supported by Droogfontein Solar Power include communities in Kimberley, Barkly West, Ritchie and Riverton; these include: Goitlamela ECD, Hulahoop Preschool, Mateleng ECD, Holpan Day Care Centre, Waterworks Primary School, Galeshewe Educare Centre, St Boniface Preschool, El Shaddai ECD, Shalom Day Care Centre, Kagiso Day Care for Disabled Children, Redirile Creche, Roodepan ECD, Sivuyile ECD Centre, Lesedi Day Care Centre, Helen Joseph Primary.