Stay & Play – Enhancing Early Childhood Education in Masi
Early childhood education is fundamental because it is during this time that children go through a radical phase of growth and development. The brain develops faster in this stage of life than any other and this makes it the most significant period where moral outlooks and cognitive abilities are formed and take shape to mould young minds.
Quality early childhood education is often out of reach for many parents in Masiphumelele because unemployment, poverty, a lack of infrastructure and limited space leave many day-care centres under-resourced and far behind the learning curve. As such, informal crèches in Masiphumelele lack the resources and skills to educate and develop children.
Masicorp created the Stay and Play programme to help informal creche owners get a better understanding of what children need to learn and grow at this crucial stage of life.
Informal Creche’s in Masi
In a small informal structure with limited space, Nosi cares for between 25 and 30 children daily. Parents come to her because she opens early and closes late, it is a safe place for their children while they work long hours, often only returning late at night. There are very few resources available at informal creches in Masiphumelele. Spaces are small and there is not much room for activity, the children attending these creches often have no playground area and do not get much movement throughout the day. Many of the caregivers are not trained in early childhood education and therefore do not have the skills to stimulate the children in their care.
Nosibabalo worked as a domestic worker before Covid-19 disrupted livelihoods. Since she lost her job, she has been forced to look for alternative ways to support herself. She knew nothing about running a creche and she was extremely nervous about looking after children. Realising that children will never reach their full potential by sitting around all day, Nosi joined the Stay and Play programme in 2021 and has been improving ever since. Our staff who run Stay & Play noticed Nosi and her love of teaching. They have been observing her during sessions and were happy to report that she is growing as a teacher. Her confidence with the children has soared and word of mouth is spreading amongst mothers in Masi because they have heard that she doesn’t just babysit children. She says, “I am relieved that I discovered the Stay and Play programme by Masicorp, it has given me the tools and the confidence to run my creche successfully.”
Masicorp’s Stay & Play Programme
“If we want our children to move mountains, we first have to let them get out of their chairs.”
– Nicolette Sowder
Masicorp’s Stay & Play programme reaches 300 children from Masiphumelele annually and focuses on creating a supportive, engaging environment for children where they can develop essential competencies, explore their world and express themselves in a safe surrounding. By involving informal creche owners, Masicorp gives them the tools they need to care for these children and give them a healthy head start in life.
The programme uses the Unlimited Book for activities, which focus on building a child’s spatial awareness and representations of the world around them. These activities are aimed at developing children to their full potential and meeting their emotional, cognitive, sensory, spiritual, moral, physical, social and communication development needs. Creche owners who attend Stay & Play assist our staff with educational activities and art therapy. We do this to upskill carers and creche owners who often do not have the skills in early childhood education to provide the children in their care with engaging and stimulating activities.
Early Childhood Development is Vital
The link between successful adults and early childhood education is undeniable. These formative years can be a significant contributor to a child’s ability to learn skills that will get them ready for school and improve their overall chance of success later in life. The benefits of early childhood education include but are not limited to socialisation, career success and academic performance, creating a love of adult learning, increased confidence/self-esteem/creativity and attention spans, STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), staying healthy and other lifelong benefits.
If you believe that children are the future and that it is our responsibility to educate our children so they can leave behind a legacy greater than ours, you can help us help children in Masiphumelele reach new heights with quality early childhood education through our Stay and Play programme here.