The Project for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education (PIECCE) is now in its final year, and BRIDGE continues to participate as a consortium member. In recent months, consortium members have had some stimulating (and heart-warming) hands-on engagements with practitioners and their charges at ECD centres. In September 2018 Ntataise organised a number of visits to ECD sites in Bloemfontein, and in January 2019 TREE did the same for us in Durban.
The idea for site visits combined with practical and interactive de-briefing seminars with practitioners and trainers came about from an acknowledgement by consortium members that they did not themselves have extensive on-the-ground experience in the Birth to Four space. Many of the practitioners working in these centres are NGO-trained, while university lecturers involved in the consortium have focused more on teacher education for the Foundation Phase, in the context of more formal schooling. The experience of viewing practitioners in action, and having opportunities for face-to-face conversations with these practitioners – potential students who may take up degrees and diplomas developed through the PIECCE framework – proved to be informative and stimulating for all concerned. It also strengthened the idea that different sectors in ECD, such as the NGO and Higher Education sectors, have a lot to learn from each other. All of us in the PIECCE consortium look forward to further opportunities for these kinds of cross-sectoral learning sessions.
Trainers from TREE involved in a fish bowl activity at UKZN after the site visits, watched by PIECCE consortium members.