Early Inspiration has multiple levels of intervention which are all regularly monitored & evaluated: teacher training, home visits, and a parenting program. In addition, the program provides teachers and pupils with a number of classroom resources which fit within the available resource budget.
The first phase of intervention is teacher training, which offers a level 2 skills program as well as a level 4 qualification in Early Childhood Development. Both of these are ETDP SETA accredited and provide practitioners with certificates which are recognized across South Africa. The training provides teachers with a thorough understanding of what to teach young children, how to teach them, and follows up on the implementation of the new knowledge and concepts. Teachers from ECD centers sign up for free training with Early Intervention after hearing about the program through word-of-mouth sources.
The second phase involves home visit interventions, which focus on individual children & their families. These children are the most vulnerable pupils identified by the teachers who have undergone the training courses and care for and educate the children in question. The educators pay visits to the children's homes and provide parental support as well as one-on-one interventions, stimulation and input.
The parenting program is made up of community-driven interventions where families, parents and caregivers are provided with knowledge, skills, and values to share responsibility and best understand their own roles in the children’s development.
A strong focus of the program is on creating sustainable interventions which are supported and driven by the community in order to promote a culture of excellent education support and development. Early Intervention relies heavily on community input and support for the program to be successful and self-perpetuate even after the organization's direct period of intervention is complete.
Early Intervention also offers a number of classroom resources to better equip the facilitators and parents to implement the methods learned in the classroom and at home.
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CEI approaches in action
Level 2 skills programs as well as a level 4 qualification in Early Childhood Development are offered to teachers, both of which are ETDP SETA accredited and provide practitioners with certificates which are recognized across South Africa.
Classroom resources such as puzzles, books, and other educational equipment are included in the program.
The poorest and most vulnerable children in a community are identified by the teachers who are trained by Early Inspiration and who are in close contact with the children daily. Their vulnerability is determined by their in-school performance, attendance, and knowledge of their family and financial environments.
Since 2011, 250 teachers have received certification. 250 additional teachers have enrolled in the programme in 2015.
The staff has grown from 1 member in 2011 to 28 in 2015, and from 12 enrolled teachers in 2011 to 250 in 2015.
The program has expanded from Port Elizabeth to other Eastern Cape locations as well as the Western Cape. There has been a notable expansion into more rural locations.
Capacity development was conducted in 2014 to enable a larger portfolio of assessment opportunities (including school inspections), and to prepare staff for geographic expansion to other provinces. Thus far, expansion is centered on within the Eastern & Western Cape, with a focus on quality improvement over quantity of locations served.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Pre- and post-assessments of learners are conducted from the intake stage, monitoring and comparing their academic performance. Children's progress is continually tracked throughout their early development years. Teachers are also monitored and assessed using in-class inspections, video footage, and testing. The training program for teachers is accredited and was the subject of a doctoral thesis to ascertain the effectiveness of this method of intervention.
Various tools of technology are used to support this internal monitoring, including bulk SMS services, smartphone applications, tablets, and cameras.
A pilot study was conducted to determine the potential success of the intervention, with a sample size of 648 pupils aged between 5-6.5 years old and 30 practitioners. Assessment performance was measured on the following development markers: physical motor development, social-emotional development, language & speech development, and cognitive development & visual perceptual skills. The results showed significant improvements on all development measures listed above. Practitioners were also tested on teaching methods and knowledge both pre- and post-intervention. Their improved results can be found in the attached doctoral thesis by Dr L.K. Stretch.
Number of teachers enrolled for training has increased from 12 in 2011 to 250 in 2015.
The program is and will continue to be offered free of charge to educators & pupils.