The offices of the Absa and Sowetan Early Childhood Development Awards are a hive of activity as the number of entries swell in anticipation of the closing date at the end of next month.
Group public affairs manager for Absa's corporate social investment projects, Jacqueline de Winnaar, said: "This recent wave of entries is probably from people who received their nomination forms during December.
"They have returned to work after the holidays and are using the opportunity to fill them out and send them in before the closing date on February 29," said De Winnaar.
Nomination forms are available from www.ecdawards.org and you can get entry forms through e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 011-447-5199.
After filling in the nomination forms, fax them to 011-447-6204 or post them to PO Box 1511, Saxonwold, 2132.
Through these awards, Absa and the other partners hope to create much-needed awareness around the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector, in particular the importance of the sector and the need for development.
The competition invites South Africans from all the provinces to either nominate themselves or someone from their community who works in the ECD field. There are four categories in the awards and the team will be looking for entrants, both registered and unregistered, from all four fields within the sector. The categories are:
l ECD practitioner of the year;
l Home-based care centre of the year;
l Community-based care centre of the year;
l Resource and training centre of the year.
The Absa Early Childhood Development Awards were founded in 2003 and were operated on a provincial level for three years.
As part of the growth plan for the awards, Absa and the South African Congress for Early Childhood Development (Sacecd) approached Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation last year to help them create awareness of the awards and make it a truly nation-building event for all South Africans.
As a result, the 2006-2007 awards went national and the first national ceremony was held at a gala dinner in Johannesburg in April last year.
The growth continued into the 2007-2008 awards with the addition of three more partners: The Education Department, the Office of the Rights of the Child in the Presidency and SABC Education.
The 2007-2008 awards will take place in Johannesburg in June.