They help create a solid platform for children, the future of a country

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Giving praise where it is due is vital in promoting a culture of excellence in any community.

In February Sowetan, Absa and the South African Congress of Early Childhood Development (SACECD) will honour individual practitioners, centres and organisations involved in early childhood development (ECD), which forms the anchor of a community's social, emotional, spiritual, psychological, cultural and academic potential.

The Sowetan, SACECD and Absa ECD Excellence Awards will be for ECD Resource and Training of the Year, ECD Home-based Centre or Playground of the Year, ECD Practitioner of the Year and ECD Community-based Centre of the Year.

The Presidency Award is expected to be given under the Office for the Rights of the Child in the Presidency.

ECD programmes invest in our children and provide equal developmental opportunities.

They help to create a solid platform for children - any country's future leaders - and empower communities.

The awards have been running for more than a decade. They recognise and acknowledge the hard work, dedication and passion of ECD education and training practitioners at both community and home-based centres, also known as creches and kindergartens.

Nominations were invited from the people, including Sowetan's readers, Absa's clients and the SACECD's affiliates. The nomination's criteria related to the practitioners' level of qualifications, and whether the nominated ECD centre made any efforts to provide ECD-friendly learning and teaching equipment and related playing equipment suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Nominators also had to explain how the centres had adapted to conditions in the area, and whether they had made any efforts to involve parents and communities in their activities.

The nominators also had to tell the organisers if the nominated centres delivered additional services to the children, including home visits and-or home day-care, as well as advanced formal and-or informal learning activities.

Favourable regard goes to centres registered with the local government, education, or social development departments, and those in other community development forums. The nominees also had to employ sound financial management systems, among other things.

Practitioners' qualifications and the centres' accreditation are highlighted because the organisers are helping to preach the gospel related to the academic development of practitioners to ensure that their charges are given top-notch nurturing.

The centre's accreditation ensures that the centres are not money-making fakes.

ECD centres, creches and kindergartens are encouraged to register with the education and social development department and the local governments.

ECD training and resource organisations are encouraged to register with the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP Seta).