At the start of 2019 we were faced with a funding dilemma in that there was insufficient funding to fully support our ECD programme across all 20 ECD Centres which we worked with in 2018. We then decided to create a definite separation between our inclusion and school readiness approaches. We developed 2 ECD-based programmes with the funding available. For school readiness we developed an Early Learning activity ladder for ECD practitioners which focused on 0-2 year olds. For inclusion we identified 5 ECD Centres who would become Inclusion Hubs.
The Inclusion Hub programme was strengthened and supported by our partnership with uHambo, their ‘Let’s talk Disability’ and Ndinogona activities. Nontuthuko Ngeleka was appointed the Inclusion Hub Co-ordinator and worked diligently with uHambo and the ECD Centres to support inclusive practises in these ECD Centres.
The more ECD Centres who are inclusive and able to support children of all different abilities, the more access this creates for children with disabilities and their parents.
These are the successes and transformations that have happened over the last year.
Zothani Success Story
Zothani was first identified by Siyakwazi in 2017. Zothani is a child with Down Syndrome and has been attending Woza Entokozweni Creche.
Through Siyakwazi’s support and the implementation of the Ndinogona programme, Zothani has had the opportunity to be included amongst his peers successfully, has strengthened weak muscles supporting his movement, knows how to use writing tools and communicates more effectively. He loves to help his friends with their work. “The other children at the creche have learnt to understand the way Zothani communicates even though is unable to speak clearly all the time. He has made a lot of friends.”
“The programme has helped us a lot. We used to isolate children with special needs because we did not know how to handle them. Children with disabilities would be put to one side when doing our daily programme and try and attend to them later, but we sometimes forgot.
Ndinogona taught us about different kinds of disabilities and letting us have more understanding about disabilities and how to teach children with disabilities. We have been able to use the activities with all the children and now the children with disabilities participate with all the other children. Our creche is not the same and we are grateful for the support Siyakwazi has given us.”
“Before working with Siyakwazi I didn’t know how to include every child and I felt sorry for children with disabilities. I would take children with disabilities aside and treat them separately. I’ve realised now why its so important to support children from a young age, as it helps identify what their barriers are, even if the disability is not obvious.
I’ve also become better at supporting parents as often they don’t want to hear about challenges that their children have, they see disability as a curse, but I know that their support is really important to help with the child’s development. There needs to be a good relationship between the teacher, parent and the child so that all can work together. I can help support this now.”