As of 2023 the transition of ECD ( early childhood development) which was moved from the department of social development to the department of education, will be in effect in South Africa.
What does this mean to you the parent?
Grade 00 is now compulsory
The biggest change aside from how academic development in young children is approached, is the compulsory attendance of children from Grade 00.
Currently compulsory school attendance for young children only starts at grade 1, when your child is turning 7. So, you will now be required to ensure your young child is attending an educational facility from the year they turn 4.
Parents need to do their homework
With a huge push for compulsory education it’s important that parents look for ECD centres which are still play based and child-led. Focusing on teaching children skills through the use of educational material too old for their development and ignoring the need for children this young to rather learn through play, would be counter productive to their development.
Things parents need to consider
When you are looking for the right early childhood centre for your child for next year, here are some things to look out for to help you make the right choice.
- -Qualified teachers who are trained to teach in an ECD environment.
- A school that is accredited and registered with the education department.
- Look for a school that values play based learning and child-led philosophy. Montessori, Reggio Emillia and Waldorf based schools hold these traits.
- Does the school value the students well being as being the most important factorover and above academic results?
- Look to see if the teachers are kind, gentle in approach and caring with positive dispositions. Your child’s teacher will spend the most time moulding them in their still formative years, that experience needs to be a positive, loving one.
- Does the school have and instill a strong sense of community?
- Is the teaching within the classroom fun, engaging, relevant , interactive and based on play?
- What discipline policy is in place. Is the child guided and supported as they grow and develop their social and self- regularly skills?
And if I can leave you with one last reminder that children learn best through play. They need time to explore, discover, experience and experiment to understand the world around them.
If you are finding it overwealming to choose an ECD centre, look beyond the pleasing athletics, the brightly coloured playground equipment and the fancy toys or learning aids within the classroom. Look to see if the teachers in your chosen school will facilitate your child’s learning journey with careful observation and offer stimulating, meaningful and engaging learning materials, whilst still having the ability to hug them often, talk gently and guide them as they develop.