Search for those who make a difference in development of children

South Africans are continuing to strengthen early childhood development (ECD) - which is a societal development backbone - through the popular Absa-Sowetan ECD Awards.

South Africans are continuing to strengthen early childhood development (ECD) - which is a societal development backbone - through the popular Absa-Sowetan ECD Awards.

Education Minister Naledi Pandor attended the awards' 2007-2008 launch in Pretoria yesterday.

The launch coincided with a national call for nominations for candidates suitable for the:

l Best ECD practitioner;

l Best Home-based Care Centre;

l Best Community-based Care Centre;

l And, the Best Resource and Training Centre.

This signals that the search has begun for those remarkable individuals and organisations who are making a marked difference in the development of our small children - mentally, physically, spiritually, morally and socially.

Through the awards, Absa, in partnership with Sowetan (for the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation), the South African Congress for Early Childhood Development (SACECD), Office on the Rights of the Child, Department of Education and the SABC, aims to create a culture in South Africa of a holistic approach to a child's development.

This holistic approach should consider the importance of a child's health, nutrition and education while looking at the psychological and environmental factors, all within the context of the family and the community.

To ensure that the awards effectively assist the ECD sector, the partners have created several key drivers for the project, namely:

l Recognition of the hard work and dedication that the sector invests in the future of our children;

l Effective use of the strategic networks of all the partners to reach the individual practitioners, centres and organisations involved in the ECD sector;

l Creation of an understanding among parents and caregivers of the importance of the development of children in their early years

l Setting a standard to create a sector of highly-skilled ECD practitioners, centres and organisations;.

l And, successful academic and skills development of the awards' winners to enhance their abilities and capabilities.

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