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Early childhood development practitioners are happy with parental involvement in the learning and teaching programmes of their centres.
Parenting Corner interviewed several practitioners who were finalists in the 2008 Absa and Sowetan Early Childhood Development Awards, which are sponsored and organised with SABC Education, the Department of Education, Department of Social Development, Unicef and the South African Congress for ECD.
Lungile Gumede of the Thandukuhle Day Centre in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, said: "Parental support at Thandukuhle is not the best, but it is okay because at least 65percent of the parents help us out.
"These are parents who are regulars at meetings, parent and teacher workshops and who help out when we make child support and playgroup materials.
"They even volunteer and stand in when teachers are away on specialist ECD practitioner training and development workshops.
"We see new faces now and again because we have a standing invitation to parents to show up at any time, sit in during lessons and play sessions, so that they get a clear picture regarding their children's nurturing."
Alice Komape of the Shiny Stars Day Care Centre in Polokwane, Limpopo, said: "Our parents are supporting ECD, especially in the African cultural development aspects, including the translation of Tshivenda, Xitsonga and Sepedi folklore like short stories, idioms and poetry. Sadly, it is half of the parents, while the rest just pay school fees and only show up at three parents meetings a year."
Johanna Wesinyane of Legae La Bana ECD Centre in Jouberton, Klerksdorp, North West, said: "Almost half the parents attend the weekly meetings where we plan lessons together and structure these into themes, with which they help their children at home.
"Unfortunately, the other parents lack understanding of the collective effort required to develop children into future leaders. They simply dump the kids with us and fail to continue the learning and teaching at home."
Millicent Diamond of the Kgodisho Day Care Centre in Thaba Nchu, Free State, said: "It all changed for the better after we were nominated for the annual Absa and Sowetan ECD Awards last year. Parents even accompany their children on our educational outings. More parents are getting involved. Other ECD centres in the Free State report greater parental involvement."
Kelebogile Femmers of the Kgatelopele Crèche in Christiana, Northern Cape, said: "We have a hard time involving parents. Not all of them are consistent.
"It is surprising that they are unhelpful because they are mostly youths, are employed, receive child support grants or are unemployed."
Priscilla Fourie of the Christian Social Services of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, said: "We have enjoyed pleasing parental support, including cooperation and collaboration regarding funding proposals, fundraising events and learning and teaching projects.
"When we had a vandalism problem parents stepped in, and the culprits were apprehended."
Lindiwe Vilakazi of the IK Early Learning Centre in Mhluzi, Mpumalanga and Morinah Nkanyane of Bright Mbokotha Pre-school in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, said parents were giving much-needed support in the urban areas.