The devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have not spared the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector, which often does not get the same level of visibility as the other phases of education. Yet, capacitating young children to effectively transition into the formal schooling environment is foundational to their success.
According to Candice Potgieter, CEO at The Unlimited Child “our recent partnership with the Anglo American Education Programme in South Africa will help ensure that children in mining communities across South Africa are made school ready. This involves ensuring that all the necessary learning-through-play requirements within ECD centres are met and supported through the practitioners that work within them.”
The Unlimited Child – a national, non-profit organisation is a tried, tested and proven model that has been in operation for over 12 years. The Unlimited Child successfully supports over 3,000 creches in South Africa and has cumulatively supported close to 1 million children to become school ready – with the aim of expanding this number as far afield as possible to ALL children that are in dire straits of their early educational needs not being met.
“This partnership with Anglo American aligns with our goals of making meaningful, positive progress in early childhood development by providing a springboard to the Anglo American’s Whole School Development intervention. We want to ensure that all children at the ECD centres will go into the school system with an excellent foundation and that this exceptional project will continue long into the future and will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the ECD sector in South Africa,” continues Potgieter.
The Anglo American Education Programme’s goal is to provide children within its host communities with equitable and high-quality education. Beneficiaries include 114 ECD centres in these communities of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Northern Cape.
The project began in Amandebult in the Limpopo Province in December 2020 and by the end of March 2021, all 114 ECD centres in the three provinces have been successfully onboarded.
“The Unlimited Child is excited to be part of this dynamic partnership and hopes that this will be a catalyst in these host communities to ensure that the entire population of children in these communities will be supported and positively influenced in the years to come,” concludes Potgieter.
“ECD is a core part of our Anglo American Education Programme – a key component of the company’s Sustainable Mine Plan and its ambition to create thriving communities where we operate. The objective of this initiative is to ensure that 90% of our five-year olds are ready for Grade R. ECD is fundamental to the success of a child’s education and a good ECD foundation can prevent the learning challenges faced by many children in primary and secondary school,” says Zaheera Soomar, Head of Education at Anglo American.
The project has a clear set of deliverables for all partners, which are focused on ensuring that key outcomes are achieved. Most notable of the deliverables are that:
All children attain age-appropriate developmental outcomes and are ready for Grade R.
Competent and skilled ECD practitioners provide quality early stimulation to children.
Site owners, principals, or supervisors exercise effective oversight to ensure that sites are safe, compliant, and conducive to learning and that quality structured learning programmes are implemented.
ECD sites need to meet all essential safety requirements.
“Education is essential to address the triple evils of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Our goal is to ensure inclusive and quality education for children in our host communities. We are happy to be driving this collaborative effort with The Unlimited Child as our partner,” concludes Zaheera Soomar.