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Innovation in the National ECD Community of Practice

The importance of ECD is well documented and numerous stakeholders are now concerned with this aspect of the education system. Many voices are calling for innovation to ensure that ECD service delivery is integrative, socially appropriate and dynamic. It is the topic of ‘Innovation in Early Learning’ that formed the focus of the National ECD Community of Practice (ECD CoP) meeting held on the 13th October 2016. CoP members were introduced to the Innovation Edge, an organisation which aims to inspire, support and share innovations in early learning. Participants also familiarised themselves with Saide’s African Storybook Initiative, a project which provides hundreds of openly licensed storybooks for early reading in a range of African languages. The CoP then turned its attention to the collaborative and organic development of the ingenious ECD Quality Reflection Tool, an exciting culmination of the CoP’s efforts.

At the meeting, BRIDGE shared the findings gathered from piloting the tool. The data explored (i) how practitioners responded to the idea of self-reflection in their own contexts; (ii) practitioner views on different aspects of quality, and (iii) surprising stories from the field.

During the mediation of the tool across 20 diverse ECD sites, ECD Practitioners appreciated the opportunity to self-reflect and share their understanding of quality. In order to give an indication of the depth and extent of ECD practitioners’ understandings of quality, BRIDGE created a rubric which was used to analyse and extract themes and trends from the practitioner reflections. The most commonly expressed views on ‘quality’ were that it concerns commitment and dedication to the children in care, and that priorities are usually determined by context. Most practitioners highlighted the need for training and support from government in order to reach quality delivery. More detailed findings will be shared in a report which will be disseminated widely in November 2016 so watch this space!

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ECD CoP Member Patsy Pillay of New Beginnings, with an ECD Practitioner after a site visit to mediate the Quality Tool