July 2022.

Early learning plays a critical role in a child’s development, as it deeply affects future physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Hence, the role of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and that of its Practitioners, is pivotal to the success of our children and our nation’s growth and prosperity. In realisation of this, Kliphuewel Wind Farm has commited to the funding of a programme that is training ECD Practitioners in communities across Grabouw, Hermanus, Kleinmond, Riviersonderend, Tesselaarsdal and Villiersdorp, in the Western Cape.

Facilitated by the Elgin Community College, twelve ECD Practitioners, aged between 19 and 50 years old, from across seven ECD centres began their training towards their ECD NQF Level 4 last month. The sessions are taking place every Tuesday and Friday and will continue for a full year.

“In addition to what children receive from their primary caregivers, ECD centres form the foundation for a child’s development, making access to quality education essential for the health of our societies and communities,” said Tsholofelo Moote, Economic Development Specialist for Klipheuwel Wind Farm. She also noted that studies indicated that solid investment in ECD plays a significant role in whether or not a child grows into their full potential. Despite this, a recent census revealed that roughly half of teaching staff in early learning programmes have a relevant qualification, while 22% have no qualification.

This programme has come about following community engagement, research and resource studies, all of which indicated general lack of resources and infrastructure for young children in the beneficiary communities.

Speaking to Janicka Abrahams, one of the cohort of ECD Practitioners currently studying toward an NQF Level 4, she said, “I’m looking forward to better understanding the child holistically and how to care for the needs of the child, as well as how to manage an ECD centre. I’ll learn now to better serve my community because there is a huge challenge in our area.”

In addition to the ECD NQF Level 4 training, three ECD centres have been identified for infrastructure improvements as part of this ECD support programme. The centres identified are Greyton Speelsentrum, in Greyton; and Butterfly Daycare and Voorstekraal Educare Centre, both in Genadendal.

“Supporting ECD means that children are provided with a strong base for their lifelong learning abilities, as indicated by evidence the world over, which tells us that a high-functioning education system requires equitable child development opportunities in the early years,” concluded Moote.