Early Childhood Development Gathering
A question we have been asking over the last few months in relation to young children’s development is – How are parents / caregivers of under 6s supported in township communities? It is key that young children develop, reaching the age-appropriate milestones and parents have a significant role to play.
From the work we as Soul Action are involved in we are aware of many crèches within communities, facilities where a parent / caregiver can leave a child while they work. But what facilities are available for a parent / caregiver who is at home with a child? Toddler groups seem non-existent and when you drive through communities young children can be seen wandering unsupervised. Therefore we have been carrying out a small piece of research to try and establish what support there is for parents/caregivers; this has consisted of Thabile (our ECD monitor) interviewing some mums and visiting (alongside Clare) other projects who are asking similar questions.
We are also aware that the government has been working on establishing an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy. In the draft policy it highlights in addition to opportunities for learning in ECD centres, parental support is an area which needs to be addressed (2014, p.42).
So in response to the above and conversations with a few people in regards to ECD provision in communities we decided to organise a focussed gathering for organisations working with crèches in their communities. The gathering focussed on considering ways forward in supporting families of under 6 year olds. Through the discussions the key question that emerged was
‘How can we partner with parents / caregivers?’
There was an awareness that for change to happen parents / caregivers need to take responsibility and ownership. However at the same time there was a realisation that parents / caregivers lack knowledge in how to develop age appropriate skills.
At the gathering we started some really important conversations so we have decided to re-gather in January to discuss practical ways in which to partner with parents / caregivers.