Recent research by Port Elizabeth‘s Dr. Lauren Stretch into the effectiveness of practitioner training in underprivileged early childhood development, has uncovered that a deep practitioner understanding of childhood growth and development results in effective stimulation and development which in-turn sets them up for a successful progression in their education.
Considering the Government’s National Development Plan and vision for 2030, and its emphasis on education, we need to set our children up and give them the best possible chance to be successful and be part of South Africa’s development.
Of her findings, Dr. Stretch says: “The development displayed in children whose teachers received additional skills and knowledge was substantially greater than that in the children whose teachers had not received any additional training and support.
“The knowledge gained through attendance of the Early Inspiration Training Programme clearly provided teachers with a deep understanding of early childhood development and growth; but it also provided practitioners with practical tools to use in their early childhood centre. Many early childhood centres in the underprivileged schools in South Africa have few resources, no electricity, and no running water. Although practitioners may lack resources and infrastructure, with the knowledge of early childhood development, a passion for children, together with a sense of empowerment and responsibility, practitioners can provide the concepts dealt with.”
The Early Inspiration Training Programme used to train practitioners in this study places great focus on the child being the centre of the learning situation, and was devised, in accordance with the Constructivist theory, which focuses on the learning and development of the young child in the context of their environment, and stresses the importance of young children being active participants in the learning process.
For the practitioner, the programme has been designed specifically to empower those who are unskilled and working in the underprivileged sector of South Africa to provide them with knowledge and understanding of how children develop, and the ways in which to enhance growth and provide a stimulating environment, unleashing young children’s potential.
Given the research findings, effective practitioner-training programmes should be readily available to early childhood educators, especially within underprivileged areas.
A step-by-step understanding could be implemented, which focuses on the various developmental levels, an understanding of how children’s brains grow, and develop, enabling children to learn, as well as the various aspects of children’s development, according to the new South African CAPS curriculum, namely mathematics, literacy and life skills, with their various sub-sections.
Dr. Stretch adds: “This Early Inspiration Training Programme, as well as an indication of the ways whereby concept development could be provided for in the classroom, should be explained to practitioners working in early childhood centres. It is clear that the concepts the programme address need to be provided for in early childhood centres, as concept development has clearly proved to be crucial in the intervention programmes, as has been adequately demonstrated in this study.”
Author: Kimberley Nanson
The following two tabs change content below.