Prioritising childhood learning

2015-11-04 06:00

SIPHAKEME is a Pietermaritzburg non-profit organisation committed to ensuring that the quality of pre-school learning is maintained by training teachers from rural, underprivileged communities.

Operating from the Metro Methodist Church in Peter Kerchhoff Street, Siphakeme runs two courses for teachers including Educare and Early Childhood Development (ECD) NQF level four.

The Educare course offers teachers practical, hands-on training aimed at preschool teachers who have not had tertiary training and are unable to access such training or do not have their matric certificate. There are no minimum academic requirements and students attend classes one morning every two weeks during the school term for one year.

The ECD course is a registered entry-level qualification for those who are already teaching in preschools without qualifications and serves as a stepping stone to a higher tertiary qualification.

“We have a pair of well qualified and experienced teachers who conduct both the courses,” said Wendy Dugmore, Siphakeme co-ordinator. The course is heavily subsided and depends chiefly on sponsors.

“We encourage them [students] to use materials accessible to them and to recycle things rather than buy materials that are expensive,” she said.

Dugmore explained that the groups form a networking bond among themselves which helps them when they complete the course. There have been over 160 students who have completed courses and some have gone on to open their own pre-schools.

To find out more about Siphakeme or to make donations in any form contact Dugmore at 082 821 3675.

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