Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the foundation of all education. It’s a sad reality but unless children between the ages of 0-6 years old experience a nourishing and stimulating environment their chances of success later on in life drastically decrease. The RedCap Foundation understands that our kids are our future and since 2008 has helped train fifty-two crèche practioners in and around the KwaDukuza region in KwaZulu-Natal.
Unfortunately it’s not an unusual picture for a large portion of South African children, especially those growing up in underprivileged areas, to attend crèches that are overcrowded and uninspiring. These disadvantaged classrooms often lead to kids struggling in school with some Grade one learners battling with activities such as identifying letters, phonics or even writing their name. Through ECD the RedCap Foundation is working towards ensuring that every child gains access to a proper education as early as possible.
Because ECD is an extremely specialised field the RedCap Foundation partnered with the Unlimited Child, a Durban NPO that specialises in early childhood development, to help train the ECD practitioners. Most of the crèche caregivers had never received any formal ECD training and were thrilled to receive educational kits and learn new teaching skills.
Titasi Bolani, ECD Specialist in the Department of Education iLembe District, was another well of wisdom for the RedCap Foundation’s ECD Programme. As well as providing invaluable advice Bolani has helped with choosing the correct crèche equipment and stocking the mobile libraries with relevant and exciting Afrocentric books to help spark an enthusiasm for reading. Mobile libraries were introduced to ten of the crèches to assist kids to learn to read from an early age.
Bolani explained that, “Reading is the basis of all learning. Children are more motivated to read when they have access to a wide range of reading material and reading practice helps children become better readers. Mobile Libraries will assist ECD caregivers to develop Language basic skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing.”
The roots of a successful schooling career lie in early childhood development and it’s thanks to the dedicated team of ECD experts and selfless ECD practitioners that children are being equipped with the building blocks for a successful future.