Celebrating and uplifting women within the Early Childhood Development space

Women are the corner stone of the society often taking on the responsibility to work and earn a living to support themselves, communities, and their families. Empowering women can be done in many ways, and the Edufundi support Programme is just one of those ways Standard Bank Corporate Social Investment has chosen to create champions in communities.

Edufundi has crafted a three-year professional support programme especially for South African teachers and school leaders to equip schools to develop sustainably into centers of teaching excellence. The methodology blends international pedagogic practices with local educational expertise – which saw them reworking the Doug Lemov Teach Like a Champion model for the South African context. This is done by providing intensive mentorship in two spheres: Leadership Support and Teacher Support.

Kirston Greenop, Head: Regulatory Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement and CSI Head at Standard Bank says the bank’s purpose is to drive economic growth on the continent in a sustainable and inclusive way. For this reason, we are deeply intrenched in growing and enhancing the ECD space with a strong focus on the women on the ground – doing the daily work, ensuring there are well trained to handle this growth path for the future generation.

Evidence shows that Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme in developing countries can make substantial improvement on the nutrition, health, cognitive development, and educational outcomes. Early Childhood Development has the potential to address broader development challenges.  This training programme offering solutions to improve parenting skills, nutrition, literacy, and language development while establishing reliable referral pathways to facilitate registration documentation, and grant access for infants, toddlers, and children.

Teach Like a Champion (TLAC)

The Teach Like a Champion (TLAC) programme is accredited by SACE and follows a three-year structured support programme for school management team members and teachers. Weekly classroom observation sessions are followed by structured feedback sessions. School Management Teams (SMT) are also a part of the TLAC programme, i.e., they are mentored by an Edufundi mentor to improve their pedagogical practices in the classroom to deliver the curriculum effectively. Furthermore, they are given specific skills to supervise the educators and provide them with effective feedback to improve their teaching practice.

This helps sustain the TLAC programme in their schools as it becomes part of the school culture and learning practice. It also informs the way they plan to deliver the curriculum each term and how they plan lessons each day in the classroom to ensure that learning takes place. They are also able to use these skills to have professional development sessions with their teachers on an ongoing basis.

Lead Like a Champion (TLAC)

The  SACE accredited Leadership Support Programme (LLAC) enables school management teams to refocus on Instructional Leadership: the business of teaching and learning. Local education experts mentor school management teams according to especially designed curriculum, equipping them to improve the culture of learning in their school and, ultimately, improve learners’ academic outcomes.

The course allows leaders to concentrate on the philosophy of education rather than the administrative running of a school, thus allowing the school to become a hub of educational excellence. It creates four provincial school leadership networks, allowing leaders to derive support, solutions, and learnings from their local community of practice.

Schools that have been part of the Edufundi programme since 2022 have articulated how this has assisted them in ensuring they deliver quality education in their respective roles and communities; this includes Cypress Primary and Encotsheni Primary School.

Every day, Ms. Mafu uses the Threshold Technique to ensure her learners are greeted as they enter the classroom. Then, it is straight into a Do Now exercise. Ms Mafu uses a little hourglass to time the learners which gives an exciting time pressure that they all enjoy. In the words of Ms Mafu “Now, I prepare everything a day before. I’m more confident now. Even my learners are having fun every day because they know what to do in the morning. I think it has made my teaching easier and prepared. I’m having more fun now!”

As an acting HOD, Ms Abrahams is also part of the leadership support aspect of Edufundi and works with our Western Cape Leadership Support Coach, Kholeka. “A lot of what Kholeka is doing speaks to my outcomes in terms of being and HOD,” says Ms. Abrahams. She hopes to be a role model for teachers and create an environment where” ‘teachers feel that their opinions also matter [and to] make them feel they are part of making decisions.”

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