Children are the touchstone of a healthy and sustainable society. How a culture or society treats its youngest members has a significant influence on how it will grow, prosper, and be viewed by others” [Carnegie 1996].
The first 1000 days are the most crucial in a child’s life, as they set the foundation for proper health, growth and neurobiological development [UNICEF]. Intervening at this stage is imperative, as it can change the course of a child’s life, shape their development, and protect against risk factors [Doyle et al. 2009]. Early Childhood Development [ECD] has been identified as one of the most effective violence prevention strategies [WHO, 1990].
We have been working in Grabouw through the Informal Settlement Support Programme.
As holistic approach as intended by the ISSP we looked at the planning for Human settlement with a consideration full consideration of the future generations i.e children of today and how the space should be designed in a way that is conducive to development on many levels. The ECD aspect of the ISSP was therefore more an important value add for VPUU and not part of the ISSP scope of work.
We did ECD audits to understand the landscape of Early Childhood Development in Grabouw.
Covid19 hit and the audit was taken a step further see how ECDs fare with regards to the COVID19 readiness checklist for the reopening of ECDs as mandated by Department of Social Development.
- During National lockdown we provided work books to all the ECDs in Grabouw as a means to ensure that age appropriate learning still continues at home. The workbook was designed in a way that in encourages the parents involvement in the child’s home learning.
- We provided Kickstart packs to the ECDs in order to ensure that each ECD in Grabouw had the resources enabling them to reopen and operate under COVID restrictions.
The pack consists of the following:
How did the ECD principals and teachers respond? All ECDs in Grabouw are now operational. Principals are in grateful for the immense support. Our primary goal was to do the audits and understand the needs for early child hood development. However the impact of Covid 19 demanded more from the programme. The programme therefore morphed into a nutrition and learning programme during lockdown further more into the Towards building a Community Circular Economy
funded through Ilifa Labantwana which provides the ECD centre with a site level vouchers estimated on the number of children that they had before lock down, the staff members also receive vouchers of R250 each.
What do you think has been the biggest impact originating from this support? Lockdown really had a massive impact on the ECD sector as a whole - with some ECDs remaining closed right now because.
A lot of the ECD principals mentioned that because of the loss of income as a result of a closed school - they did not have the means to purchase the items in the Kick-start pack. The parent have been grateful for the workbooks because their child is able to remain stimulated as they would have done had they been attending school!