Early Childhood Development
The Nomzamo Crèche (in Witteklip) was originally established in the mid-1990’s as a community initiative. Over the years the crèche had periods where it had not been operational due to a lack of funding. In May 2015 Ntombizanda (“Zanda”) Plaatjie re-opened the crèche with the support of Metrowind as part of the Metrowind Community Development Program (MCDP). Zanda, who attended the crèche in the 90’s, understood the benefit of the crèche, and combined with a real passion for education, wanted to create opportunity for the children of the Witteklip community.
Within a few months of the crèche being re-opened children from the Fitch’s Corner and St Albans community also started attending the crèche. At the start of the 2016 school year the crèche was reporting an attendance of 68 children from Witteklip, Fitch’s Corner and St Albans.
The teachers expressed a wish to see the crèche registered as an Early Learning Centre with the Department of Social Development. Metrowind has partnered with Isivuno Training, a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO), to assist the crèche with the setup of proper educational and operational processes, and moving them towards registration.
The progress made by the crèche over the past year has been remarkable. Under the guidance of Isivuno team the crèche is being transformed from a facility that merely looked after children during the day to an early learning centre of a high standard. The crèche has introduced an enrolment process, roles and responsibilities for the teachers and caregivers, a structured daily programme, discipline within the classrooms, and educational activities that are laying foundations for future education and learning. The children have been divided into different classes according to age groups in order to enable age appropriate activities and the teachers are continuously being equipped and guided in terms of facilitating class activities. An affordable, yet nutritious menu has also been introduced, and Zanda have embarked on the process of establishing a School Governing Body to ensure governance of the school and the involvement of parents.
To date the crèche has been completely reliant on the funding from Metrowind as only a few parents did pay the R50 monthly fee. The aim, however, is to see the crèche become a self-sustaining organisation that are able to operate with or without the support of the Metrowind funding. All the input to date has been with this in mind, and all the input going forward is working towards it. Besides the continued mentorship and training of the teachers to develop their teaching skills, the next steps are –
- to see Zanda qualify as an Early Childhood Development (ECD) teacher
- the registration of the crèche as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), and to register at Department of Social Developments (which is a legal requirement according to the Children’s act 38 of 2005)
- equipping the teachers with skills needed to operate and manage the crèche as an NGO, which will include budgeting, preparation of funding applications and reporting.
- To advance the teachers ability to follow lesson plans that will stimulate the children to develop cognitively, emotionally, socially, physically, morally and spiritually as required by the Departments of Social Development and Education.
The true impact of initiatives like the Nomzamo Crèche is often not evident immediately, but becomes evident through time only. The input into the teachers and the children are obvious, but one should not overlook the opportunities for building into the parents of the children and offer the community developmental opportunities towards, for example, employment, better health and family life.