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In the context of Early Childhood Development, teacher training plays a critical role in supporting the healthy development of a child’s formative brain and is largely responsible for laying the groundwork for a successful future.

What is Early Childhood Development (ECD) and why is the role of a trained teacher so important?

ECD is an integrated approach to learning which weaves together the important intellectual building blocks of a young child’s brain, helping to ensure wholesome development and life-long learning and ability. These building blocks are formed through early learning experiences and deeply affect the child’s future physical, cognitive, linguistic and socio-emotional development. Accredited ECD training empowers educators with a deepened understanding of child development and learning, and equips them with the knowledge and professional competencies to support their development and positively shape their future.

Teacher training is a key component of our iThemba Educare Programme and through partnership with the Natal Early Learning Resource Unit (NELRU) our teachers receive specialised training in ECD orientated courses namely, Basic Educare, Orientation, Baby & Toddler Care and NQF Level 4.

While we recognise that training is an important part of the Programme, the implementation of the practices and principles learned is even more important, making the role of our resident ECD Monitor, Busi Khumalo, a vital part of the process. Having gone to NELRU for training herself and obtaining an NQF Level 4 through them, Busi understands the systems and processes well and can share this knowledge with our teachers. “It is important for me to observe teachers when they come back from training because I need to make sure that they are doing everything correctly,” she says. “I have seen the impact that NELRU training has had on every lady because the standard of teaching in the classroom has improved.”

Busi further noted that teachers are able to use proper teaching language, independently plan and implement daily programmes, correctly set-up the classroom and make good use of teaching aids. There is also a lot more creativity, confidence and control being seen in the classroom, showing how well children are responding to the training. “Training has increased the effectiveness and efficiency of our Educare Programme.”

Outside of the classroom, teachers have commented on an improvement in their level of self-esteem and how training has empowered them to feel like they are contributing women of society. We were so encouraged by the words of one of Project Joy’s teachers who shared that through training she has grown so much in herself. An improvement in self-confidence and belief has enabled her to be “a better teacher” and make a difference to her community, one child at a time