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Bambanani – Creating A Better Future For Children Through Education

  • NEWSWIRE
  • 10 min read

Bambanani Sifunde = Coming Together To Learn

Afrika Tikkun Bambanani is the coming together of Afrika Tikkun and Bambanani Sifunde to form a group of ECD Specialists who implement a standardised ECD curriculum in rural underprivileged schools.

At the launch of the BambaLearn App by Afrika Tikkun Bambanani (ATB)last night, expert insights were shared around the upskilling and training of teachers required to assess and monitor learner development. Simultaneously the programme is designed to facilitate teacher progression equipping them to screen for learning difficulties and arrange intervention, provide psychosocial support and monitor child growth and progress. The BambaLearn App aims to extend children on the curriculum ensuring that no child is left behind.

“The period from birth to six years old is the most vital stage of brain development for children and these informative years represent a crucial window of opportunity for education. The ATB programme is developed to ensure early childhood care and education that is truly inclusive. It is much more than just preparation for Grade 1, ECD is the foundation for emotional wellbeing and learning throughout life; and is one of the best investments a country can make as it promotes holistic development, gender equality and social cohesion,” shared the passionate ATB programme CEO, Theresa Michael.

Afrika Tikkun Bambanani’s Mission & Vision

To reach as many children as possible aged birth to six years of age across all rural and underprivileged communities of SA and to provide play-based learning through trained ECD teachers who will build a solid foundation for their education and overall wellbeing. The long-term vision is to standardise the ECD curriculum throughout SA to ensure that no child is left behind in terms of education which will lead to equal opportunity for all children in SA.

Afrika Tikkun Bambanani’s Impact

Currently 800 upskilled practitioners working in 200 Early Learning Centres in disadvantaged communities and underprivileged rural areas are providing a solid foundation for 10 000 children through this initiative.

ATB aims to provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for South African children and invest in their education by providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Early childhood education has a positive impact on our society as a whole; helping reduce poverty, promote economic growth, and decrease the likelihood of negative social outcomes such as crime and substance abuse.

What does Afrika Tikkun Bambanani offer?

  • ECD Curriculum age 0-6 years
  • Teacher training
  • Resource kits
  • Data-free online assessment centre to monitor student and teacher progression
  • Data-free online screening tool assessment for children
  • In-class teacher training and mentorship
  • The BambaLearn App for children from 2-6 years old

How does Afrika Tikkun Bambanani work?

The three-year ECD programme is presented as a customised ATB package to suit the needs of each centre/community. It includes a five-day teacher pre-training programme, monthly up-skill teacher training, online curriculum, printed manuals and workbooks, online assessment centre and in-class mentorship.

Registered as part of the Afrika Tikkun brand, the ATB training, assessment and curriculum programme has brought together a team of ECD practitioners, theorists, educators, investors and therapists to create the best ECD curriculum available in South Africa and make it available to ECD practitioners and children living in under-resourced communities around South Africa. The programme readily collaborates with government and private sectors.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the period spanning from birth until the year before a child enters formal schooling. Research shows that children who do not have access to adequate ECD are more likely to struggle academically and have lower earning potential as adults, and they are also more likely to engage in risky behaviours, such as substance abuse or criminal activity. Furthermore, the effects of inadequate ECD can have an intergenerational impact on children, in that they are likely to struggle as parents themselves, trapped in a perpetuated cycle of poverty.

Sadly, the highest failure rate in South African schools occurs in Grade 1. Investing in ECD can lead to better school readiness, improved academic achievement, higher earning potential, and better health outcomes in adulthood. Additionally, a nurturing and supportive early childhood environment can promote positive social-emotional skills and behaviours, which can lead to stronger relationships and increased well-being throughout life.

We can change the trajectory of many young children currently at risk if we equip ECD practitioners with the skills needed to deliver quality early learning programmes that meet children’s developmental needs.

Many ECD centres in under-resourced communities are not able to employ qualified practitioners, and although a lot of their staff do have years of working experience, they do not have the formal training to design outcomes-based programmes. To support these centres, we have developed an innovative and comprehensive ECD curriculum that is designed to meet the developmental needs of children aged one to six years, which can be implemented by ECD practitioners who have little or no formal ECD training.

The key activities to support participating ECD centres to implement a quality ECD programme include:

  • Developing an outcomes-based ECD curriculum that provides the framework for children aged one to six years to meet their developmental milestones and equip them with the skills needed for future academic success.
  • Providing the ATB curriculum to participating centres in the form of printed manuals, workbooks, theme posters and assessment portfolio files. An online version of the curriculum is also available.
  • Offering off-site training to ECD practitioners and principals up-skilling them to implement the ATB curriculum, as well as outcomes and teaching methods.
  • Providing in-classroom training and mentoring for the first three years of implementation.
  • Monitoring and assessing practitioner progress through online teacher progression assessments and monthly tasks they are required to upload. Any gaps identified will be addressed by our trainers through offering additional training sessions, as well as on-site implementation support.
  • Using tracking sheets to assess the termly progress of all children aged one to six years who are in the programme.
  • Providing the schools with screening assessments tools for children aged six months to six years.
  • Providing ongoing support through site visits from year 1, and into year 3.

These activities are supported by two innovative technologies, thereby removing geographical limitations as any ECD centre with internet can access the programme.

1.           Learner Tablet App – BambaLearn (Data Free)

BambaLearn is an app that allows young children to develop their critical thinking and to reach their milestones through play. Created by experts, designed for (and loved by) children ages 2-6 years, this app ensures that age-appropriate milestones are reached through rigorous performance monitoring through games. These include a wide variety of educational puzzles, story books, numeracy activities, problem solving games, literacy, shapes, tracing, counting, letter and number recognition. This app ensures that no child is left behind by enabling stronger learners to work ahead and providing extra revision and repetition for weaker learners.

2.           Afrika Tikkun Bambanani Assessment Centre (Data Free)

The goal is to improve and standardise the ECD content in our nation’s ECD centres, empowering practitioners to spend more time with the children. The ATB assessment centre ensures that no child or teacher is left behind. ATB provides tracking sheets and termly reports to monitor learner progression, focusing on critical developmental milestones, screening tools to red-flag learners that require intervention, and practitioner tracking and evaluating.

A state-of-the-art remote upload portal allows us to assist and observe our learners and teachers, especially schools in remote areas. ATB’s online trainers assess and report on all activities and video tasks assigned to the practitioner for the week.

The potential of millions of young children is lost due to our inability to provide families living in marginalised communities access to quality early childhood education programmes. ATB’s vision is to uplift the lives of our children and improve the quality of ECD teaching in South African to reach remote and disadvantaged communities and ECD centres with the knowledge and resources needed to implement an effective ECD curriculum, changing the trajectory of thousands of young beneficiaries of this programme.

What makes Afrika Tikkun Bambanani different is their approach to sustainability. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals aim to promote sustainable and responsible practices, with the SDGs addressing a wider range of development issues on a global scale, and ESG goals focusing on the environmental, social, and governance factors of companies and organizations. The underlying value of the ATB programme is to “leave no child behind”, and in so doing supports several SDGs, including:

  • SDG 1 (No Poverty): Effective ECD programmes can break the cycle of poverty by improving children’s development, health, and learning outcomes, which ultimately leads to better employment opportunities and higher incomes in adulthood.
  • SDG 4 (Quality Education): This ECD programme has been designed to prepare children for school and lifelong learning by providing high-quality early learning experiences, such as language and literacy development, social-emotional skills, and critical thinking.
  • SDG 5 (Gender Equality): As inclusivity is one of ATB’s priorities, the programme aims to address gender inequality by providing equal opportunities for boys and girls to learn and develop, addressing gender stereotypes, and empowering parents to support their children’s education.
  • SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities): This programme can be adapted to include all children, including those living with disabilities, and has been designed to be relevant to all children, including those from poor households, in the spirit of “leave no child behind”.

ATB are looking at how to link their centres to their health and psychosocial programme, which focuses on nutrition, psychosocial intervention, eye screening and audio screening, Once this is included, ATB will also be supporting SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing).

Afrika Tikkun Bambabani Curriculum Overview:

Play-Based Learning

A play-based programme which nurtures vital life skills including social, emotional and cognitive development. This enhances the whole child by providing the self-confidence required to explore new environments and experiences.

Broad-Based Curriculum

A curriculum based on an eclectic education system which combines knowledge from multiple disciplines and educational theorists that is developmentally appropriate. The approach encourages children to think independently, with the emphasis on teaching a child how to think, rather than what not to think.

Child-Centred Approach

The approach is child-centred, ensuring children play an active role in the classroom. Children are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas, enabling them to learn from each other.

Measurable Results

The assessment model monitors key learning areas like cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development. These skills are continuously assessed through ATB’s tracking sheets and screening tools.

Unfortunately, many children in rural communities lack access to the resources they need to succeed academically. That’s why ATB is reaching out to corporations and individuals to join them in their mission to close the education gap.

Through sponsorships, it becomes possible to work together to provide early learning centres with the resources, curriculum, and training necessary to give children the best possible start in life. This ‘Adopt-an-Early Learning Centre’ will make a meaningful difference in the lives of countless children and help create a brighter future for all.

Corporations and individuals are invited to join ATB in this effort by adopting a learning centre enabling ATB to ensure that children have access to the education they deserve. Together, we can make a positive impact on the lives of children and help build a more equitable society.

For more information about Afrika Tikkun Bambanani or to find out how you can donate to the programme, please visit https://afrikatikkunbambanani.org/