Returning to school during COVID-19: Keeping our ECD learners safe
It has been proven that early child development (ECD) plays an important role in instilling the skills and abilities that children need for future learning. By investing in these children and improving the accessibility of education, particularly in impoverished communities like Masiphumelele, where often learning outcomes, income and literacy levels are very low, Masicorp is providing an opportunity for these little ones to maximise their future well-being and their ability to learn and thrive.
Masicorp manages two community ECD centres, with the aim to raise the standard of early childhood education in Masiphumelele. Together, Masi Educare & Chasmay Educare educate and care for nearly 300 children up to Grade R. We also work with 17 informal creches in the community through our Stay & Play programme – upskilling and training crèche owners in providing stimulating, educational care in their own centres.
When news of the Covid-19 national lockdown broke in March this year, we, like all other schools and education centres, were forced to close our two ECD’s. Sadly, many of the parents have lost their income during the past few months, and even today, only about 30% of our ECD parents have returned to work. To assist these families, we not only offered a relief from paying their school fees during lockdown, but have been providing monthly packs of cloth masks, hygiene supplies, grocery vouchers and food packs, as well as educational material and books to help support the families during this difficult time. It is one way that we can show our care and support despite the distance – as well as ensuring these little ones are able to keep learning throughout lockdown.
In preparation for our children’s return to school, we have also been training our ECD teachers and informal crèche owners in COVID-19 compliancy measures to protect learners in their care. We have taught them how to use thermometers and properly screen the learners every morning. The classroom and learning environment has also been adapted to reflect the safety and health measures needed – such as dividing materials, individual stationery containers for each child, as well as distancing the children during class and play time.
Last week our beloved learners finally came back to school and we couldn’t be happier! The children have quickly adapted to the new changes and we are so proud of their resilience, as well as the teachers who are now having to learn to teach under what can only be described as challenging circumstances.
We appreciate all the support from everyone who has given towards continued learning and making sure that ECD families are fed during this time.
We need your support more than ever in order to keep our learners safe in the classroom. Please help us keep our centres safe for the learners to get the learning they need by giving towards our Let’s Keep Learning initiative here https://www.masicorp.org/lets-keep-learning/.
Support the community of Masi by investing in the future of these young lives.
Let’s Keep Learning!