Encouraging a culture of reading is one of the reasons that Paballo day care centre and pre-school is the best Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) in the country.
The centre is located at Nyakallong Location in Odendaalsrus, Free State.
It was crowned the best ECD in the country during the South African Early Childhood Development Awards hosted by the National Development Agency (NDA) in 2017.
The centre which has been operational for 22 years has 82 children between the ages of zero to five years.
Their “Bana Bukeng” reading programme promotes and facilitates the love of reading and storytelling to develop the vocabulary of children.
Joyce Mthombeni who runs Paballo day care centre and pre-school said the programme has proven to be successful in making children fall in love with reading.
“As part of the programme, we usually start with pictures and ask our little ones to tell us what they see in the picture. This is followed by introducing words that aligned with the pictures followed by constructing a sentence,” said Mthombeni.
She added this type of learning makes children interested in books and want to know more about the words in the book.
The ECD also has a library play centre which has been constructed out of an old ship’s container.
“On Wednesday and Friday the children get an opportunity to select books that they want to read. This is followed by telling the class what the story they read is about.”
Mthombeni added that she has found that children who read at home learn faster.
“This is an indication that when parents involve themselves in the learning life of a child they are able to develop their reading and learning skills quickly.”
The centre also runs a successful recycling programme that involves the community. The collected materials are used to make toys for the children while they are also useful for the food garden that feeds the children. Spare cash is made out of extra vegetables that are sold to the community.
“The funds that come from the recycling programme also buys some of the books that we have in our library,” she said.
Mthombeni has encouraged parents to send their children to ECDs because this helps the child develop quickly.
“When a child has started learning at an ECD they are able to grasp lessons taught in primary schools more easily.”
Paballo Day Care Centre and Pre-School also since won an award from Shoprite for their continued dedication to the development of children.The centre is also registered with the Department of Social Development and receives funding for their work.
During Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu’s Budget Vote she said her department would continue to support the holistic development of young children underpinned by a strong coordinating mechanism.
For this financial year, an amount of R491 million has been allocated of which R412 million is for subsidy to reach 44 943 children.
“An additional R78.7 million has been allocated for infrastructure maintenance to renovate 369 Early Childhood Development centres. Currently, the total number of registered Early Childhood Development centres is 29 000 with a total of 827 338 children benefitting from these centres,” said Minister Shabangu.