Tag Archives: ECD

“ I want to learn more about teaching methods and child development so I can go back to the community where I was brought up and share what I have learnt.”

In July 2016, Nomsa Natacia Luthuli, a bright and young lady who grew up in Tsakane Township, located on the East Rand began a new chapter in her life. She signed up at the Sparrows FET (Further Educational Training) College to study Early Childhood Development (ECD).

Nomsa heard about the opportunity to study for free and gain invaluable practical workplace experience through a friend who worked at Sparrow and had asked Nomsa to support Sparrow by taking part in the Spinathon and 947 ‘Walk the Talk’ in aid of Sparrow Schools.

Nomsa had previously been running a catering business, which she stopped in November 2015 and although her love of cooking remains, she  decided to follow her lifelong interest in childhood development.

“Children express themselves differently where I am from and I want to learn more about teaching and child development so I can go back to the community where I was brought up and share what I have learnt.”

After completing six months of theory at Sparrow FET College, Nomsa started her work placement at Cubby House Preschool. This friendly preschool, is a new centre, which opened in January 2016 catering for children from the age of 2-6 years. Six weeks in she reflects on her experience, highlighting the importance of encouraging children to use their words and express themselves confidently.

“You have to choose your words and the way you say them so carefully, as it can really impact the child’s confidence and the way they express themselves.”

It was inspiring to watch Nomsa working with a 4 year old girl who has attended Cubby House since January 2016. The girl, who lives with her grandmother, did not speak any English and was very shy but since attending Cubby House and receiving 1-on-1 attention, her language development, gross motor skills and learning of colours, letters and numbers have improved dramatically.

The manager of Cubby House, Sharon Konstantinou spoke about how impressed she has been with Nomsa fitting into the preschool in such a short space of time:

“I don’t have to tell her what to do, she assesses a situation, uses her initiative and is always happy to step in.”

Although this is the first time that Sparrow’s FET candidate have been placed at Cubby House, Sparrow have previous connections with Cubby House’s sister organisation, Nic’s House, which supports children with special needs. Two students who completed their studies at Sparrow FET College have now been employed full time at Nic’s House.

Nomsa plans to start a weekend childcare business, as she believes there is a need with lots of parents working on the weekends and struggling to find good quality childcare. She hopes to go back to the community where she grew up and share the teaching methods that she has learnt to support the confidence and development of children from Tsakane Township.
‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’ (Henry Adams)

Investing in Early Childhood Development

On 20 November 2014, the Sparrow FET College in partnership with Brainwave Careers officially launched the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program for those who want to enter the field of Education, Training and Development, specifically within the sub-field of Early Childhood Development. The aim of the programme is to formally recognise those who are already practicing in this field but do not have any formal recognition.

ECD candidates doing a class activity
ECD candidates doing a class activity

The program further aims to “develop the appropriate skills and knowledge required by a person for the establishment and development of a small to medium business venture, and addresses the economic, administrative and behavioral (psycho-social)barriers that contribute to success in starting and sustaining the venture.” After the success of the first intake, the program has had some notable successes.

Starting with only 3 children in January 2015, Millicent Boa, a former ECD candidate, opened a day care which now caters for 25 children in her hometown, Glenridge, Soweto.  Boa attributes much of her success to the ECD programme, “The ECD programme taught me a lot about children and how to handle them with care. I learnt that there are four things which are very crucial in a child’s development. These are, ‘patience, nutrition, self-esteem and the parents’ involvement.”

Boa at her day care
Boa at her day care

Being just eight months old there is increasing demand for Boa’s day care in the community. She started the day care in her mother’s house, running it with both her sister and mother.  Due to the high demand for her services and her mother’s house getting smaller to house all 25 of the children, construction has already started at the backyard of her mother’s house where she will accommodate more children. We spoke to one parent who sings high praises of the day care. “I can really see the difference between this crèche and the last one that my son attended. I can see it in his behavior when he comes back from crèche, he is happier and can tell me about his experiences from crèche, that never used to happen,” says parent, Carol Phakathi.

Carol Phakathi with her son, Siyabonga Phakathi.
Carol Phakathi with her son, Siyabonga Phakathi.

After the success of the first intake of the programme ran by the Sparrow FET College and Brainwaves, the College has recruited a sought after facilitator in Tessa Wolfaardt to facilitate the second intake. Starting off as a primary school teacher, Wolfaardt has over 15 years’ experience in the industry. She penned one of the first ever ECD manuals in the country.

After taking a break to go and pursue other ambitions, Woldfaardt got back into the ECD field due to a high demand of her experience by different institutions. Her mission now is to pass on her wealth of experience to those coming after her through the ECD programme at the FET College. “I want these learners to walk away from this programme having developed in every aspect of their lives. That will lead to them passing that on to the children they will care for. South Africa is lacking behind, early childhood development is extremely beneficial for children in need of proper care,” Wolfaardt explains.

Lydia Munyai
Lydia Munyai

Lydia Munyai, 39, is one of the candidates in the current programme. Munyai who is a mother herself, joined the programme after losing her job and sitting at home unemployed for months. “I joined the programme because i’m planning my own creche. When I first started in the programme I took childcare for granted. I have children of my own and I always thought that raising children was just about the security. Because of this progamme I now know that there is more to it, there’s a lot to consider about a child’s developmental process,” Munyai says.

Follow us on Twitter and like our page on Facebook.