In the 1980ís, as Philani started to expand further, with mothers involved in the Skills Training Programme, it was recognized that there was a need for a place where Philaniís pre-school children could play, learn and be safe. This was the beginning of the Pre-school Programme. At each Nutrition Centre, a space was made available specifically for the children, and the mothers took it in turns to care for them. Over time mothers who were interested, were sent for training in Early Childhood Education and Philani now has eight teachers with Level 4 or 5 training serving more than 250 children.
The Educare Programme has made further progress over the past few years, with the employment of a Coordinator who focuses on the on-going training of the pre-school teachers, ensures that the classrooms are well resourced, supports the teachers in meeting the Education Departmentís learning outcomes, manages the registrations of the Preschools and oversees the smooth running of the programme. Some of our pre-schools now qualify for state subsidies.
Philani now has eight Educare classes, one at each of the Philani Nutrition Centres and three at our Development Centre, all serving children three to six years of age. Educare Programmes are consistent with Philaniís mission of promoting good child health and development knowing that children who play not only enjoy developmental benefits, but also recover faster from illness and malnutrition.
At the end of every school year a graduation ceremony is held for the children leaving for primary school and the annual Educare Christmas party brings all the children together at our Development Centre to celebrate the end of a successful year.
A new programme was initiated in 2010, identifying sponsors for some of the educare children to continue their education in well run schools.