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Early Childhood Development - SmartStart & Penreach Regional Launch

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Early Childhood Development (ECD)
A group of public and community stakeholders have re-affirmed that Mpumalanga’s future lies in its young children.

Smartstart and Penreach hosted a regional launch on 18 October at the Ehlanzeni District Municipality, to introduce the future of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Mpumalanga.   SmartStart is an early learning social franchise and was established with the intention of creating universal access to early learning opportunities for 3-and 4-year olds in South Africa. SmartStart’s goal is to bring quality and affordable early learning to one million children annually by 2025.

Penreach has been appointed as the Regional Franchisor for SmartStart.  Penreach is a local NGO focussed on providing access to quality education.  Penreach will scale SmartStart in the region by recruiting practitioners in the communities and supporting the establishment of early learning development playgroups across the region. SmartStarters are provided with training and resources and are able to run an independent micro enterprise.

The event brought together community leaders, the Department of Education, the Department of Social Development and other ECD stakeholders and set the scene for robust discussion around ECD and opportunities within the province to advance and roll-out the SmartStart programme. 

Guests attending the launch enjoyed a panel discussion where influential role players in ECD talked about important matters affecting ECD in Mpumalanga such as access to early learning, documentation for children and sector support.

Susanna Oosthuizen, Director of Penreach Partnerships, Communications and Marketing said; “We appreciate the commitment showed by stakeholders to ECD and towards Penreach and the work we do in our communities.  We are excited to partner in this initiative to build on the extensive work we have done in ECD in Mpumalanga over the past 15 years.”

Panel:

Nomxolisi Malope-Rwodzi; SmartStart
Beauty Mohlala, Department of Education - Subject Advisor
Rhulani Irene Mpangane Department of Education – ECD Institute
Zodwa Maseko; Provincial Department of Social Development
Doreen Malinga, Department of Social Development
Tseli Scharer; Ntataise Lowveld – Director
Wesna Middleton; ETDP-SETA – ETQA Officer
Kenneth Mkohonto; Ward Counsellor

Thulile Makofane, Director of Penreach Early Childhood Development added; “It is wonderful to see how various entities can come together with a common goal to impact the lives of young children.”

In the last three years since SmartStart started, it has developed a curriculum, tested the model, launched the brand and built a network of in excess of 3600 franchisees offering early learning for 3-and 4-year olds in South Africa.
 
Early learning plays a significant role in overcoming South Africa’s legacies of poverty and inequality. It sets children up for success from an early age and prepares them to enter school on an equal footing. It is both a universal human right and a national imperative for country success, possible only with collective and focused effort from every sector of society.
 
SmartStart’s goal, to bring quality and affordable early learning to one million children annually by 2025, is closely aligned to our National Development Plan to make quality early childhood development services available  to all young children by 2030. Both goals are ambitious but very necessary.
 
Visit www.penreach.co.za or smartstart.org.za to get involved.  Penreach takes pride in being a CSI partner to our local businesses, making sure people at grassroots are benefitting.
 

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