With some out of the box thinking and collaboration to kick off 2018, Siyakwazi worked on developing a new early identification tool which will be put into action in the first Term. Our aim is to reach the estimated 5000+ children across ECD centres and Grade R in 2018 and screen for any red flag developmental issues so that we can action inclusive learning practises!
Managing the collection and processing of data within Siyakwazi and the children we work with is a huge part of ensuring that we not only activate the right resources in the right areas, but that we contribute to a collective understanding of what the ECD picture in South Africa looks like. It is our hope that this tool will be the first step in understanding our data better. In addition, understanding Siyakwazi’s impact, can only be achieved when our data collection and processing are in sync. Implementing change/ corrective action and assessing what is working can only be realised if we are constantly feeding back into our model. It’s a very ‘businessy’ side of what we do, but a necessary process to ensure our own growth and development as an organisation. The newly developed tool will therefore help in developing a standardised measure so that we can more accurately report on the mine of information we are sitting on at the end of the year.
So, thinking caps came on, along with some outside collaboration with Maria Liggett of NAG and the process of developing standard procedures and methods started to unfold. And just what did we come up with you might ask? An easy tool with just a few everyday items that will help us roll out an early identification system in the KwaNzimakwe region of lower KZN.
Let’s just take a step to the side for a moment and review very quickly why early identification in the ECD space is so critical.
- A CHANCE TO CATCH UP: children who have not been given enough learning opportunities and stimulation are identified early which mean that Siyakwazi can help give them a chance to catch up with the rest of the class.
- REDUCED LABELING AND STIGMA: children with barriers to learning are identified early which means that Siyakwazi can work with parents and teachers to improve their understanding of the child’s particular needs as well as his/her ability to learn. Hereby preventing children being labelled and misunderstood as they continue with their schooling career.
- ESCALATION OF INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORT: children who raise warning flags are provided with individual support from Siyakwazi and are referred for further assessments and therapy. The earlier the interventions the more chance a child has to learn, as they are given the right support from the start from which they can continue to grow.
Ok so back to the tool. Our aim is to reach the 5000+ children under the age of 7 that reside in the KwaNzimakwe region of KZN. All children in Grade R and Grade 1 across the 4 local Primary Schools will be assessed as well the children within the 17 ECD Centres in the region. In doing so we will have a better understanding of the exact percentage that are experiencing barriers to learning as well as the reach of ECD in the area. For example, the percentage of children who attended an ECD centre prior to attending Grade 1. The outcome is twofold; we as an organisation will know where to mobilise our resources and expertise for inclusive learning and we are in a better position to activate funding and support from DSD and DoE. As a side note too, data is an often understated resource for many NPO’s and NGO’s. With access to more accurate information about the education situation in SA, specifically from a grassroots perspective, organisations, similar to Siyakwazi, will be able to implement their own strategies and development programmes.
It’s going to be an exciting journey for us in 2018 and we are so looking forward to the collaborations that will take shape out of this accelerator.