Early childhood development

Early Childhood Development (ECD)


Projects in this category focus on the development of children cared for at local crèches and pre-schools.  Children catered for at crèches range from  babies to toddlers, between the ages of 3 to 6 years old.  International research reveals that “regardless of cultural distinction or level of development, it is that pre-school education for children greatly improves their chances of subsequent success in school. In particular, early childhood education can make a critical difference in the lives of disadvantaged children.”

In the South African context, you find many home-based crèches.  These are sometimes started by mothers in the community who provide day care facilities to working parents in the community.  Most of the home-based crèches are informal and do not offer formal structured learning for little ones.  We have seen over the years how volunteers have made a tremendous impact by assisting with facilitation of better organisation within the facility as well as providing useful help in terms of offering learning ideas for children at a young age.  We work with a range of crèches located in rural and historically disadvantaged communities.  Volunteers have made valuable contributions in the development of the facilities but also in beautifying and general upkeep.

Characteristics of early childhood development Centres

  • They all cater for children from toddlers/babies to pre-schoolers
  • Ages of children (depending on the facility) range from new born babies to 6 year olds
  • Some crèches are based in the backyards or homes of local community members
  • Facilities and resources are often quite limited
  • Some of the care givers have received little or no formal training

Types of projects

  • Crèches
  • Home-based crèches

What specific tasks and activities are involved?

  • Playing and interacting with children
  • Assist with lesson times, sing-along’s and storytelling
  • Provide support and assistance in terms of organising daily programme
  • Provide ideas and assist with fundraising initiatives
  • Beautifying of facility
  • Assist staff with annual projects (example end of year parties)
  • Bathing, feeding and caring for babies
  • Assist with general upkeep

What can the volunteer expect in terms of accommodation and food?

Ama Africa Experiences will take care of all accommodation and meals. There are various options available and these include living with a local host family or staying in pre-arranged and inspected lodge accommodation. Meals are either served in communal dining areas, or at host families or volunteers prepare their own food during their stay.