Knysna Education Trust Reaches Out to ECD Owners and Parents
In South Africa about 30% of 3–5-year-olds do not attend early learning programmes, and for those that do, the quality of these programmes is often poor This means close to a million 3-5 years olds in South Africa are missing out on developing strong foundations for future learning every year. In the greater Knysna area KET estimates that about 3 500 children (between 3-5 years old) do not have access an ECD service.
The most recent Knysna municipality data available reveals that we have approximately 8 488 children aged 0-6 in the Knysna municipal area. KET estimates that about 41% (± 3 500) children in the area don’t have access to ECD services as just over 4 000 are currently on our radar.
The early years of a child’s life offer an unparalleled opportunity to reverse the intergenerational cycle of poverty that hinders equitable growth and prosperity of a nation. Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities provide educational learning and stimulation opportunities along with nutritious meals for young children. The availability and accessibility of ECD services also has major implications for children from a child protection perspective, as it means that many children have a safe space to be cared for during the day while their caregivers/parents are working or seeking work.
KET initiated the concept of a series of Expos with a number of Knysna municipality stakeholders, to raise awareness amongst community members around the importance of ECD and the importance of an ECD facility being registered with government. The Expo’s also served to highlight and educate the public on all facets of the services and programmes provided by the Knysna Education Trust to the ECD sector. Three ECD Expos have been held in different geographic areas namely, Knysna Town, White Location (at Love Life premises) and Sedgefield.
The ECD Expos aimed to:
- inform parents whose children currently do not attend preschool, of the value and long-term impact of an ECD education on a child’s development and formal schooling;
- highlight and communicate the benefits of quality age-appropriate learning programmes during a child’s foundation years as a key preparation period for Grade R ensuring a good start upon entering formal schooling;
- demonstrate how parents and the main caregivers are able to support their children’s development in the home;
- inform ECD owners/principals of the legal need to register an ECD facility and the benefits thereof for them and the children in their care, and;
- advocate for ECD operators, by motivating parents to pay monthly fees for quality ECD services thereby ensuring the sustainability of these facilities providing a vital service to the community.
These ECD services and programmes are largely provided by Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) or micro-enterprises. These facilities provide an important community service that allow caregivers/parents to work while their children are in a safe and caring environment receiving quality stimulation. The ECD sector employs thousands of people (mostly women) in our communities. ECD operators and teachers are therefore an important component of our social fabric and education services.
These community-based preschools create access for young children who need ECD programs and services in order to fulfil foundational development milestones. These milestones not only serve to prepare them for successful formal schooling but also help them reach their full potential.
As an important component of KET’s multi-model ECD delivery service, we support and assist ECD operators to migrate from an informal backyard care group to a sustainable registered ECD facility eligible for a government subsidy. An ECD facility may for an annual membership fee of R120.00 access for free from KET:
Support and coaching when registering their facility with the Department of Social Services (DSD);
- Support and coaching services to achieve NPO registration;
- Quality teacher training – accredited and Complementary Skills Training for qualified teachers, teaching assistants and Day Mothers, to enhance their teaching skills;
- Training and capacity building in a DSD registered ECD facility programme for children aged 6mths to 6 years;
- FONIX literacy programme training and equipment;
- NUMBA mathematics programme training and equipment;
- Infrastructure and operating equipment upgrades.
- Adopt-a-Child’s Education – monthly preschool fee sponsor programme;
- Nutritional support in the form of feeding schemes;
- Access to Occupational Therapists to assess, assist and where necessary refer any children identified with possible developmental delays;
- Participation in the Blocks for Growth Programme for Grade RR children to ensure Grade R readiness.
If you need any further information on our ECD services and programmes, kindly contact us at:
(044) 382-4638 or visit us at 27 Market Street, Knysna Central.