Early Childhood Development – nurturing pre-school children
The early years in a child’s life are critical for development as they are a period of rapid physical, mental, emotional, social and moral growth. This is considered by experts to be the most crucial stage in life, a stage that has more influence on the future well-being and learning prospects of an individual than any other.
Masicorp’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects are initiatives aiming to raise the standards of Early Childhood Development (ECD) provision for all children in Masiphumelele. Based on the findings from research and consultations with the community Masicorp ECD takes a participatory approach to addressing ECD and a rights-based approach asserting that all children have a right to a clean, safe and stimulating learning environment.
Masicorp ECD engages all key stakeholders, including, the City of Cape Town Social Development and Early Childhood Development (SDECD), the Department of Social Development (DSD) learning, learning providers, community NGOs, pre-school Principals, and the wider community. The partners work towards a common, holistic goal of: improving the standard of all facilities; provision of staff training; improving health/nutrition; and getting facilities registered with the DSD to receive financial subsidies.
Our Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects are working to help provide decent quality pre-school education for the 4500 township children aged 1 to 6. With the help of our volunteers and fundraisers we have made great progress, but more remains to be done.
A bit of history…
Even now the standard of the 20+ crèches (daycare facilities) in Masiphumelele varies dramatically. They can be seen as being in three main categories:
- Registered crèches meet all the standards and norms for registration and are fully registered with the DSD (Department of Social Development) and in receipt of subsidies;
- Unregistered crèches meet most of the standards and norms for registration, in particular building standards, but for various reasons are not registered with the Department of Social Development (DSD);
- Informal crèches may meet some of the standards and norms but would require significant investment in order to get registered, in particularly significant improvements to facilities in order to meet the building standards. For example many are run from shacks which could never meet the fire regulations. Our aim is to raise the standards of care and learning outcomes for children aged 0-6 years.
Our Stay & Play Programme has been expanded in 2018, offering access for nearly 250 children to weekly stimulation and early years’ education. This programme provides early childhood learning opportunities for children who do not have a place in a pre-school and are attending informal creches in Masiphumelele, as well as a skills transfer to informal creche owners.
From observation and studies in the crèches in Masiphumelele it has become apparent that most of the children are not exposed to toys and structured learning and that many of the informal creche owners have no experience of this themselves. It is hoped that this programme will encourage the caregivers/creche owners to see how important the early years of a child’s life are and how they can incorporate structured activities, songs, play and reading into their creches.
The children also receive art therapy through the programme, where the therapist is able to identify children who may need extra assistance, support or intervention. Each creche owner also receives a ”toolkit’ of games and materials they are able to use in their creche.