The third phase of whole school development is working with our adopted schools to build the capacity of educators. We run regular and ongoing capacity building workshops for Level R educators as well as maths workshops, both areas of great need.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Mathematics are two priority areas for education in South Africa, as evidenced by the Annual National Assessments which show that children are starting school without the required levels of basic literacy and mathematical knowledge and competence at is poor.

These capacity building programmes for educators were launched in order to address the quality of education in key learning areas and as part of Eco Children’s goal of developing schools in the area holistically, ultimately improving education outcomes.

Early Childhood Development capacity buildingEarly Childhood Development capacity building

Eco Children conducts a training programme for Grade R educators at our four adopted schools. This project is designed to help children and educators become better equipped for the requirements placed on them by a formal education system.

The educators’ training emphasises holistic development of the child and educator and lessons provided for inside and outside play while also illustrating the importance of subjects as diverse as music, puzzle solving and personal hygiene.

Mathematics capacity buildingMathematics capacity building

On average, the learners in Limpopo and Mpumalanga know approximately one third of what they should know about mathematics at the vital stages of their learning. Even more concerning, ANA tests at grade 9 level indicate learners’ mathematical knowledge and competence is around one tenth of what it is expected to be at this level: the national average percentage score for grade 9 maths in 2014 was just 11% (Limpopo’s was 7%, Mpumalanga’s was 12%).

Eco Children runs a series of regular and ongoing workshops for grade 4 to 7 mathematics teachers. The workshops typically involve 15 – 20 teachers, many of whom have not had formal training in mathematics and did not do grade 12 level maths themselves, but owing to the lack of resources have been placed in these positions. Our Maths Capacity Building workshops are facilitated by Dr Hannah Barnes from BushMaths. Despite difficult circumstances, the teachers are keen to learn and improve their understanding of the subject.

The primary focus of these workshops are conceptual understanding and content, mental mathematics skills, working through past Annual National Assessment questions, and exploring different teaching styles.

Together, these important capacity building projects complement Eco Children’s mission in sowing seeds of change and empowering children in rural communities by improving their learning environments and the quality of their education.