Early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion is im­por­tant

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - No­luthando Motswai

Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment (ECD) cen­tres are the pil­lars of ed­u­ca­tion and a good in­vest­ment for un­lock­ing a child’s po­ten­tial.

This is ac­cord­ing to the CEO of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Agency (NDA) Thamo Mzombe.

“Un­der­stand­ing the in­vest­ment on a child and un­lock­ing the po­ten­tial at a very early stage is im­por­tant. As the NDA, we look at ECDs holis­ti­cally in terms of de­vel­op­ment of a child from the mind to phys­i­cal. This is an as­set and if well nur­tured at an early stage will yield great po­ten­tial for our coun­try," says Mzombe.

She adds that dur­ing the first 1 000 days of a child’s life their mind is ca­pa­ble of quickly ab­sorb­ing im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion.

Get­ting ac­cess to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion at this stage is es­sen­tial in terms of ECD which ad­vo­cates that chil­dren who are ex­posed to ECD ef­forts must have ac­cess to qual­ity food and an en­vi­ron­ment which al­lows po­ten­tial growth.

“If we get the pro­grammes of the ECDs right we would not suf­fer in en­tre­pre­neur­ial chal­lenges, pro­duc­ing sci­en­tist be­cause the child’s po­ten­tial and re­silience is built at this level," said Mzombe.

She adds that in or­der for chil­dren to flour­ish aca­dem­i­cally nu­tri­tion and a bal­anced diet are im­por­tant. The NDA pro­motes the idea of “One ECD cen­tre, one food gar­den.” Food gar­dens pro­vide fresh veg­eta­bles to school feed­ing schemes at com­mu­nity-based ECD fa­cil­i­ties, home-based cen­tres and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

The NDA also pro­vides skills de­vel­op­ment and ed­u­ca­tion in the ben­e­fits of good nu­tri­tion.

The NDA fo­cuses mostly on ECDs in ru­ral ar­eas, in­for­mal set­tle­ments and farm ar­eas where poverty lev­els are very high and par­ents have no means or ac­cess to struc­tured ECD-based pro­grammes.

Mzobe adds that her or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cuses on em­pow­er­ing the man­age­ment of an ECD, par­tic­u­larly in the ar­eas of gov­er­nance, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, fundrais­ing, hu­man re­source man­age­ment, re­port-writ­ing and how to reg­is­ter with the pro­vin­cial de­part­ments of so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

“This as­sists cen­tres to … com­ply with the norms and stan­dards of the De­part­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment," says Mzombe.

ECD cen­tre in­fra­struc­ture up­grades are also im­por­tant el­e­ment to en­sure that learn­ing

hap­pens in a safe en­vi­ron­ment.

Train­ing for ECD Staff

Through the NDA ECD prin­ci­pals, su­per­vi­sors, prac­ti­tion­ers, cooks and gov­ern­ing body mem­bers are ap­pro­pri­ately trained and skilled to ben­e­fit the cen­tre’s pro­grammes for young chil­dren.

Mzobe says ECD ed­u­ca­tors are also guided by a cur­ricu­lum with stan­dards to be achieved.

“Their cur­ricu­lum cov­ers most of grade R. We have our NPO-ca­pac­i­tated trainers that de­velop cur­ricu­lum," con­cludes Mzombe.

Deputy Pres­i­dent opens Eastern Cape HIV/AIDS Cen­tre

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has of­fi­cially opened the Vuyo Mbuli Empil­isweni HIV/AIDS and Or­phans Cen­tre in Nde­vana Eastern Cape.

The cen­tre is a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive which started op­er­a­tions in 1999 with the help of the late SABC TV pre­sen­ter Vuyo Mbuli.The cen­tre – whose main fo­cus is on HIV and Aids or­phans – also works with care­givers of peo­ple who are on an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy and Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis treat­ment. The fa­cil­ity has been com­mis­sioned by the De­part­ment of Health to trace treat­ment de­fault­ers in the area.

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