Phase Two of the ECD Kouga Wind Farm Community Development Trust project.

The current project that A+ is involved in is the second phase of a five year project that is designed to improve the quality of ECD across a number of wards in the Humansdorp and surrounding areas.  This is a collaborative project between A+ and the Centre for Early Childhood Development.  A+ is working with teachers to assist them in acquiring the A+ approach to teaching and learning.  In addition A+ is training a number of facilitators who will both assist in the training and help to sustain the project beyond the time of implementation. Phase two is a direct result of research that was conducted in 2019 in which a baseline study isolated what the needs of the different ECD centres are.  A+ stands for quality and is aware that quality takes time to grow and develop.

October 2020: The Kouga Windfarm Trust ECD Project

October was a productive month in the Humansdorp/St Francis area of the Eastern Cape. Africa A+, on behalf of the Kouga Windfarm Trust,  facilitated the professional development of 10 novice facilitators from the local ECD community, set up an M&E system for monitoring the development of 33 ECD centres, and networked with the local community.  Each activity is discussed below in more detail:

  1. The professional development of Kouga ECD facilitators. The purpose of developing a team of local ECD facilitators is to create sustainability. In other words, when the Kouga ECD project ends and the Africa A+ team have gone, the local ECD facilitators (who have been trained and mentored for five years) will continue to develop and support the Kouga ECD centres.

Local ECD practitioners interested in becoming ECD facilitators were invited to participate in three days of  facilitation training from 13 – 15th October. This open application recruitment process offered the local ECD community equal access and helped Africa A+ to get to know each applicant before selecting the team of local ECD facilitators.

Twelve ECD practitioners from Wards 1, 4, 5, 6, and 15 attended the three day A+ facilitators’ training on the 13 – 15th October 2020 at the Rainbow Centre café in Humansdorp. The Rainbow Centre offered the venue and wifi at no cost and provided tasty budget-friendly lunches for R40 per person.

Behind the fun lies a serious intention: if we want our ECD centres to nurture the children’s creativity, then we first need to make sure that the ECD practitioners are in touch with and enjoy their own creativity.

Implementation of learning is key to change and development. Four practitioners posted photos on Whatsapp showing the implementation of activities (experienced during training) at their ECD centres. The photos below show two: Elsie Vermaak set up a skittles number game at Siembamba, and Ntombomzi Ndamse did a mosaic activity at Masikhule (the photos on the left are the activities experienced by Elsie and Ntombomzi at the ECD facilitators’ training; the photos on the right are the children doing an adapted version of the same activity at their ECD centres).

Application to be part of the local ECD facilitation team. After the training, eleven practitioners applied to join the local ECD facilitator. Each applicant submitted a CV with a letter of motivation and was subsequently interviewed by Jessica Blom (project manager) from the Centre for Early Childhood Development (CECD) and Anya Morris and Yolande Delport (Africa A+ team). The following local ECD practitioners were appointed and contracted by CECD to the local A+ facilitation team.

Setting up an M&E system for the Kouga Windfarm Trust ECD project. Three surveys were created by the Africa A+ team:

  • A Teaching and Learning Survey (TLS) which serves as the primary M&E tool for documenting the pedagogical changes and development at each ECD centre.
  • An ECD school leadership survey. This opinion survey will support and document the ECD school leaders’ development during the five year project.
  • An ECD facilitators’ survey. This opinion survey will support and document the local ECD facilitators’ development during the five year project.

Each survey is completed before the first intervention and serves as a baseline.  The local A+ facilitators’ survey was completed by the 12 applicants before the start of the three day ECD facilitators’ training.

Meeting the Kouga community. The Africa A+ team held information sharing meetings with:

  • Carmelia Miles, the Woodlands Dairy CSI officer.
  • Cathryn Hempel, principal of the Talhado Montessori school in Sea Vista.
  • Warwick Osmond, principal at St Francis College.
  • Craig Northwood from the St Francis Rotary club. Africa A+ was asked to do a short presentation at the next Rotary lunchtime meeting.

Next Steps. Africa A+ will be facilitating the following activities in November:

  • 16 – 20th November: Africa A+ will conduct the first Teaching and Learning Survey with the 15 ECD centres selected as the Cohort 1 schools.
  • 21st November: Africa A+ will facilitate the first training session with the team of local ECD facilitators.
  • 23rd – 27th November: Africa A+ will facilitate five days professional development training with the 15 Cohort 1 schools at the Humansdorp Civic Centre hall.
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