May 2021 1st edition

Encouraging ECD centres to grow

Written by Allison Cooper

Grow Educare Centres (Grow) has established a new programme to help early childhood development (ECD) centres in low-income areas become more professional and financially sustainable.Grow’s mobile app can help ECD owners manage their preschools better.

The non-profit organisation is calling on all ECD facilitators to join its new 5 Steps to 5-Star ECD programme, which will give them free access to a mobile app that has tools to help them manage their journey of becoming a 5-Star early learning centre, measure their performance and access training content.

Chief Executive Office of Grow Tracey Chambers says many ECD centres lack professional staff or the right resources required to educate and care for young children.

“Grow has a long history of operating high-quality ECD centres in vulnerable and under-served communities.

“Now we are sharing our technology, expertise, systems and tools with early learning facilities across all communities to help build and shape the broader ECD sector for the better. This is our gift to the ECD sector,” she says.

Sign up for Step 1

Step one of the programme provides free access to custom-built Grow mobile apps for principals, teachers and parents. It also provides other ECD tools and data-free online training.

“It is available to all ECD owners, irrespective of their affiliation to other ECD support organisations, socio-economic standing or registration status. These apps will help them manage their entire preschool from the palm of their hand,” says Chambers.

The principal/owner app includes various functions, such as learner and staff attendance, income and expense trackers, professional learner assessments and reports, teacher assessments, a parent communications portal and performance tracking against the 5-Star standards.

The mobile technology is designed for Android devices, can work in offline mode and uses very little data.

Centres also receive access to data-free online teacher training (12 modules) for all of their teachers and assistants to support their professional development.

The Grow model has five steps:

  • Step 1: Access to technology, including the Grow App, tools and online training.
  • Step 2: Quality education programme. Centres can apply for the Grow daily programme, education equipment and advanced teacher training and mentorship, through an affordable micro-loan.
  • Step 3: Business growth programme. Centres can apply for infrastructure upgrades, registration support and business mentorship.
  • Step 4: Grow 5-Star certification.
  • Step 5: Grow branding.

For more information, visit and click on ‘Join Grow’ or call 021 531 2134.

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