Rationale and Purpose
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is central to a child’s development: it lays the groundwork for successful learning, which in turn helps children progress confidently into formal schooling. In this way it serves as a foundation for the development of an active and educated citizenry which can contribute to social and economic advancement. ECD is prioritised in education policy in South Africa, yet the actual provision is fragmentary and functions to some extent in competitive silos.
In order to promote co-ordination and the sharing of knowledge at both national and provincial levels, BRIDGE has built on the significant gains it has made in the Western Cape over five years by catalysing provincial focus groups that link to its national focus area in ECD. The Western Cape ECD community of practice offers a space for collaboration as well as sharing and developing area-specific working practice.
BRIDGE’s Western Cape ECD Community of Practice includes a range of stakeholders who meet regularly to share working practice, tools and resources. It links closely to the National ECD Community of Practice so that there is a mutual interchange of knowledge and information. There is a Western Cape ECD champion who facilitates meetings according to the BRIDGE methodology, ensuring that they are interactive, engaging and valuable to participants. The champion also makes sure that learnings are captured and shared more widely for increased impact.
This group focuses on the sharing of models for increased systemic impact. One example is the communication of lessons from the Ilifa Labantwana model which promotes mechanisms that will significantly shift the way ECD programmes and services are delivered and accessed, thereby improving ECD provision in South Africa.
Link to the BRIDGE Knowledge Hub for meeting highlights, presentations, tools and documented working practice from this Community.
Over the last five years, the Western Cape ECD Community of Practice has made significant gains in terms of communicating working practice for reducing duplication and maximising resources. In 2014, the Western Cape ECD Community of Practice formally aligned itself with the National ECD Community of Practice for the sharing of knowledge at all levels.
If you are an ECD stakeholder based in Western Cape and interested in improving your own practice through collaborating with other ECD stakeholders, then join this community of practice. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The Western Cape ECD Focus Group meeting was interesting and enjoyable, with a good range of people in attendance.