Nosipho Gumede has been the Early Childhood Development Technical Support Officer at Network Action Group (NAG) in KwaZulu-Natal since 2014. Her work involves enhancing the skills of practitioners, improving programming, and providing monitoring and support to all sites in the Ugu Municipality District.
I joined the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector because there was a need for an ECD facility in our rural community of Mehlomnyama. My husband and I started an ECD facility in the community, so that our small children could develop more social skills with their peers and at the same time we accommodated additional children to bridge the gap that existed at that time. This initiative exposed me to greater opportunities. I attended the NAG ECD Network meetings and ECD training, where I gained greater understanding of ECD whilst developing the confidence to share parenting experiences with other ECD practitioners.
My first Every Word Counts (EWC) training in September 2016 was enlightening. I felt encouraged and motivated to go back and share what I had learned. NAG had already started ECD Learning Groups, but we were struggling to retain participants and keep them motivated. Immediately after the training, we started to plan how we were going to use the EWC material with these groups. ECD practitioners responded very positively and valued the new ideas for activities and resources. We have seen improvements in attendance at the Learning Groups as well as in parenting and teaching. Practitioners now have a better understanding of how to conduct parent meetings. Instead of waiting for parents to show up at set times, they now approach parents informally. The Wordworks EWC team also provides on-going support and updates, making it interesting and inspiring to work alongside them.
EWC training has contributed immensely to our personal growth as a family. I have even downloaded the CareUp App (https://www.wordworks.org.za/category/resources/) which we view in our home language – isiZulu. My husband is also very motivated and plays the guessing game and reads stories with our children. I have realised that engaging children in everyday activities helps boost their self-confidence and improves their vocabulary drastically. I am so confident now about my children’s language development.