Early Childhood Development is a thorough approach to policies and programmes and for children from birth to nine years, with the active participation of their parents and caregivers. Its purpose is to protect the rights of children to develop their full cognitive, emotional, social and physical potential.
If you are considering working in the ECD environment, you will need to study an ECD course, such as a National Certificate in Educare.
When you have studied a childcare course you can apply for the following positions:
- Aftercare Assistant
- Au Pair
- Crèche Assistant
- Day, Mother
The role of ECD practitioners is to plan, organise and conduct activities to assist pre-primary school children in developing a broad array of skills including reading, writing, motor skills and social interaction.
The main tasks of an ECD practitioner are the following:
- Planning ways to teach children indoor as well as through outdoor play.
- Choosing educational material to use in the teaching of children.
- Giving activities that help to develop children's motor skills, cooperative social skills, confidence and knowledge.
- Promoting language development through storytelling, role play, songs, rhymes and group discussions.
- Safeguarding the well-being of children.
- Discussing children's progress with their parents.
- Attending interviews with parents, as well as staff and committee meetings.
- Helping sick children by administering first-aid.
- Communicating with parents to alert them of any distress (sickness or emotional distress) their child might feel.
- Planning and preparing a broad-phase learning environment and stimulating activities that meet the holistic needs of all children in centre-based or home settings.
- Facilitating and mediating all aspects of the daily programme in a centre-based or home setting.
- Observing, assessing and recording each child's progress according to the age and stage.
- Compiling a report of each child's progress.
- Maintaining and promoting the well-being, health, nutrition, safety and protection of children.
The Education Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP) sector has identified a high demand for ECD practitioners, as trained or qualified ECD practitioners are a scarce skill in South Africa. Most parts of our country do not have enough ECD practitioners.
If you acquire this qualification, you will be able to:
- Do planning and preparation for Early Childhood Development.
- Monitor and facilitate babies, toddlers and young children develop.
- Provide support and care and to babies, toddlers and young children.
An ECDP plans and prepares early childhood activities, facilitates and mediates learning. They observe and assesses the progress of children, and reflects on learning in an inclusive, play-based environment to support the holistic development of children in different centre-based or outside centre settings.
The qualification facilitates the holistic development of a young child in a way that is sensitive to culture and individual needs (which includes special needs). It also teaches you how to provide quality ECD services for children in several contexts, including community-based services, ECD centres, in institutions or at home. It also provides a basis for further professional development for many experienced practitioners in the field who have had limited access to additional career development opportunities.
Contact The Read Institute via phone, email or website if you are interested in starting a career in Early Childhood Development.