Brand new ECD centres bring smiles

2016-06-14 11:12
A new park was installed at Zamukhanyo Educare as part of the partnership between organisations including the Rotary Club in Claremont and their Early Childhood Development programme Injongo.

A new park was installed at Zamukhanyo Educare as part of the partnership between organisations including the Rotary Club in Claremont and their Early Childhood Development programme Injongo. (Chevon Booysen )

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Hundreds of children are set for a solid foundation and bright future after three Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres opened in Philippi on Wednesday 8 June.  Valued at R12m, the investment injection is definitely needed for these ECDs.

Celebrated with much fanfare on the day by investors, sponsors and beneficiaries set the tone
for learning in vibrant environments.
The three centres – Khululeka Educare, Zamukhanyo Educare and Noncedo Educare – have undergone a comprehensive upgrade from the Rotary Club of Claremont, in partnership with the Lewis Group.

Rotary Club of Claremont president, Tom Bergmann-Harris, says the handover was “more than just a celebration of some new buildings”.
“This is about creating a positive environment which ensures children receive the best possible educational stimulation from an early age, giving them a real hope for excelling in the future.

By equipping teachers with the skills they need we can ensure these educare centres are sustainable in the long term,” Bergmann-Harris says.
The Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Educare Project has worked with 47 Educare Centres in Philippi since 2012 with a total spend of R12m to date.
Holistic interventions include extensive teacher training, physical upgrades to existing facilities and daily mentoring assistance for educare centres to ensure that they meet the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) requirements for official ECD accreditation and registration.

While keeping school fees affordable, these interventions make centres sustainable, and effective in the long term, through subsidies provided by the DSD and WCED.
Since 2012, a dozen educare centres have been fully upgraded and reopened by Injongo together with its dedicated sponsors.
Learners at the three centres sang songs to celebrate their excitement about their new school premises.
Principal of Zamukhanyo Educare, Sindiswa Thebeka, has promised parents and the sponsors of the newly renovated centres that they would look after it.
Neil Jansen, Lewis Group HR director, has told residents, parents and Rotarians that it was an honour for Lewis to be involved in the project.

“For more than four years, we have focused on making a lasting impact in the next generation through our partnership with Injongo. Foundation phase education lays the grounding for children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. These ECDs prepare them for school and tertiary education. The results of this project already speak volumes and it is encouraging to receive so much support from the community,” Jansen said.

Simphiwe Smile, 36-year-old father of Kamva – who attends the Grade R class for five year olds at Khululeka Educare was full of smiles at the opening event.
“My daughter knows how to count, she can write her own name and she is confident to stand in front of her class and tell stories. Her mind is really working and she is so clever. I’m really proud to see how much she has developed at Khululeka Educare,” he says.

Smile, who takes an active role in his daughter’s life, says he listens to her talk happily about what she has learnt at school as he takes her to school every morning.
Principal at Khululeka Educare, Nombulelo Majezi, says “all of the local primary schools want Khululeka Children to enrol in Grade 1”.
“Even schools outside of Philippi, they say that children from Khululeka are amazing. You can just call the principals to ask and they can tell you about our children,” Majezi says
Majezi explains that while many people have opened day care centres to look after toddlers while their parents work, not all of these places offer the same developmental opportunities.

“Whatever activities we do with the children, whether it’s reading stories, singing songs, games or craft activities, we follow the standards and norms and keep to the Grade R syllabus,” she said.

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