Local Early Childhood Practitioner (ECD), Kgadi Sekwakwa is looking forward to the challenge of representing the province at the South African ECD National Awards on 11 December at a venue in Polokwane where she believes she has a very good chance of walking away with the title.
The awards are presented by the National Development Agency (Nda) and Sekwakwa was just named the provincial winner during the provincial award event in the city last Thursday.
The 44-year old mother of three who is an educator at Amos Mahlaona Crèche in Phoffu village, Matlala area competed against ten other ECD practitioners from across the province.
Sekwakwa met all the requirements of a good ECD practitioner to clinch the provincial title. At her crèche she considers children’s health, nutrition, education and psychology within the context of their families and their community. She has also implemented the latest innovations in early childhood development training methods and practice at the facility.
She says it is important to create a conducive environment for toddlers to learn, grow and prosper without hindrances. She pointed out that despite a lack of adequate and necessary resources at the crèche she always ensures that there is enough nutritious food and study material for the children.
“The recreational facilities are also key to the development of our children and we also make sure that we have enough of those. We play fun games in a clean environment with the children and we also teach them about values and principles of life. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing children practicing and implementing what we have taught them at their primary schools and their homes,” Sekwakwa said.
She informed Polokwane Observer that her commitment to ECD and her will to learn and explore the sector made her a winner.
“In 2016, I attended a workshop with the Department of Education for the National Curriculum Framework for ECD. I have been implementing the programme ever since and when officials from the Department of Education visit the crèche for monitoring I always get positive feedback. Since last year, the department has been using me as a best practitioner in the province to motivate other practitioners to use the framework. I also ensure that parents are involved in their children’s work. We have meetings with them on a regular basis.”
Amos Mahlaona Crèche was established in 1995 and caters for 118 children from the age of 3 months to 5 years.
She stressed that her ten years of experience in early childhood development and her fair share struggles in life will propel her to greater heights.
“I matriculated at Kgoke Secondary School in 1994, but was unable to further my education due to financial constraints. I was raised by a single mother and we survived on a grandparent’s grant. It was not easy, it was tough. I wanted to further my studies but I did not have the resources and the money to achieve that goal. I got married in 2006 and I joined the crèche in 2008 as a caregiver. I was relieved to eventually find something to keep me busy after stressful 14 years of unemployment. I must admit that the caregiving was not what I had wanted and needed but I developed an immense passion for ECD and children. I am happy that I found solace in this profession,” Sekwakwa elaborated.
“I am passionate about education and I have always wanted to be educated. My passion is to take care of the children and to make sure that the children who pass through in my class succeed when they go to school.”
“I want to leave a long lasting legacy in ECD and I believe I can. I have never represented my province in anything and I will be honoured to carry the provincial badge and flag for the first time at the national award and I promise the people of the province that I will win the award and make them proud,” remarked Sekwakwa.
She said she dreams of owning an ECD centre and share her skills and knowledge with other aspiring ECD practitioners in her community. “But, before that I want to register for a degree in ECD at the a university because I believe one is never old to study and learn.”
Story & photo: Herbert Rachuene