Felicity Toll’s dream of running a successful an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre, is without a doubt, coming true. As Principal of Dienkie Dot Creche in Humansdorp, she started with just one child in 2002. Sixteen years later, the ECD centre takes care of 56 children and employs three practitioners, a cook, and of course Felicity.
“It was always my intention to run a big centre, so I’m very pleased that we have continued to grow alongside the children we take care of.” said Felicity Toll.
In order to grow and to ensure that all practitioners are suitably qualified, the ECD centre required funding and support. The first backing came in 2015 from Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm for developmental resources and practitioner training. Shortly thereafter, the centre received its first subsidy from the Department of Social Development for the 2016/2017 period.
The Wind Farm’s ECD practitioner bursary programme meant that Felicity was able to complete her NQF Level 5 training and the Centre’s Grade R Practitioner, Denea Fleur attended STELLAR Training during 2017-2018. Additional practitioners, Beronique Kees and Nicolene Smith, have both completed NQF Level 4 (Further Education and Training Certificate) and are currently attending NQF Level 5 (Higher Education and Training Certificate in ECD), also made possible by the bursary programme.
“The gradual completion of these two qualifications, NQF Level 4 and 5, allow for the professionalisation of the ECD sector and creates a career path for practitioners,” explained Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
Dienkie Dot looks forward to the next stage of support from the wind farm, in the form of outdoor equipment and additional educational resources.
“At present we don’t have any outdoor equipment and we are very excited to hear we will be receiving some even though we don’t have a lot of space available,” added Felicity, whilst she explained that the centre is still operating from her home, which has undergone alterations twice to accommodate all the children.
Felicity continues to dream big and is now looking to obtaining a piece of Municipal land. “There is no municipal ECD centre building in Gill Marcus, so it is my vision is to obtain a piece of land from the Municipality and to raise funds to build a centre which can accommodate a more children, especially all the children that are in the streets on a daily basis and don’t attend a ECD Centre.” she concludes.
• NQF is the set of principles and guidelines by which records of learner achievement are registered to enable national recognition of acquired skills and knowledge, thereby ensuring an integrated system that encourages life-long learning.
• NQF Level 4: The minimum qualification required to teach children between the ages of 0 and 5. The Departments of Social Development and Basic Education recognises this as an entry-level qualification for those who want to enter the field of education, specifically within the sub-field of ECD. This qualification enables recipients to facilitate the all-round development of young children in a manner that is sensitive to culture and individual needs (including special needs).
• According to the South African Early Childhood Review, if a four-year-old child is in one of the 20% of poorest households, there’s only a 50% chance of them attending some sort of early education programme.
• Universal access to schooling in South Africa only starts in GradeR with free schooling. That means a child from a poor family would already be entering at a disadvantage