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Masikhule trains ECD educators in marginalised communities of the Helderberg area in Early Child Development and early learning skills.

Community-based Early Learning Centres in these communities are mentored and developed.  Early intervention, nutrition and capacity building are key to this.

Over 1 800 children from birth to 6 years of age are educated and nurtured in these pre-schools each year, providing them with a sound early learning programme and the best start in life.

Our Vision

Masikhule strives to develop women and children within marginalised communities towards self-reliance, independence and achieving their full potential, and thus also the potential of the community as a whole.

Our Mission

To train and develop educators and caregivers to ensure that all children living in marginalised communities of the Helderberg area and beyond are cared for at Early Childhood Development Centres that provide a holistic child development and stimulation program, so that these children may enter formal schooling with a solid foundation of knowledge, maturity and independence.


Education is essential to a child’s development. The economic benefits of investing in children have been extensively documented. Investing fully in children today will ensure the well-being and productivity of future generations. By contrast, the physical, emotional and intellectual impairment that poverty inflicts on children can mean a lifetime of suffering and want – and a lasting legacy of poverty.

Early Childhood Development intervention, with babies and young children being exposed to appropriate early stimulation, is critical for providing the foundation for life-long learning and productive participation in life.

An Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre is a site where the holistic development of children from birth to six years is nurtured and developed by providing a safe environment and a sound education programme in partnership with educators, parents, community and government.

Masikhule provides training courses to an average of 300 staff, volunteers and mothers of young children annually and, through them, has impacted positively on the emotional, social and intellectual development of more than 1800 young lives each year.

“For children from disadvantaged backgrounds, timely and appropriate interventions can often reverse the effects of poverty and early deprivation and maximise the development of a child’s innate potential. One way of achieving this is by increasing access to good quality Early Childhood Development programmes. Pre-schools become the focal point and catalyst for wider community development and change.”


Through a process of consultation with all stakeholders (community leaders, Early Learning Centre staff and parents), ECD Centres are identified to receive regular mentorship plus post-training mentorship is supplied. Mentorship includes assistance with strategic planning, education, regular in-service training, monitoring and coaching; resource assessment and development; management and administration; and the planning and implementation of an ECD Programme at these Centres. Masikhule currently offers this service to more than 30 centres situated in the local townships and on farms within the Helderberg region of the Western Cape.

From experience we have found that merely offering training, no matter how practical, does not guarantee a carry-over of this knowledge into the classroom situation. Regular visits and spending time with the educators at their ECD Centres is vital to ensure the sustainability and ultimate growth of these Centres.

At the end of the mentorship period, we envisage Early Learning Centres that:

•     are registered, well-resourced, well-managed and well equipped;

•     have qualified and dedicated staff;

•     have a varied and holistic Early Childhood Development Programme
in place; and

•     provide children with nutritious meals in an environment that is safe
and conducive to learning and holistic development.


In 2015, Masikhule developed an initiative to screen/assess 4 to 5 and 5 to 6 years olds at Masikhule-mentored ECD centres on an annual basis. The main objectives were to assess the children’s general development (physical, fine and gross motor, perceptual, school readiness, early literacy and numeracy, etc) and with this information, to report to the educators and principals on the findings; to inform parents on how they can encourage developmental skills and for Masikhule to adapt and improve its training, mentorship and in-service training program according to these results. The purpose being to ensure these disadvantaged children enter formal schooling being more school-ready in all vital areas of development.

From these initial findings, Masikhule has developed and is implementing a project to offer Teaching Enrichment Workshops throughout the year for pre-school educators and principals to highlight the challenges the children are facing (based on the assessment results); how they can be assessed in the class; why these skills are important for learning and how teaching can be adapted and enhanced to minimise these problem areas.

Ten Teaching Enrichment Workshops (TEWs) are presented annually to senior educators, addressing developmental delays identified during this screening.

These TEWs include teaching resources, and educational material is made accessible through the ECD Resource Library.

Early Nutrition Workshop

Masikhule facilitates a 4-day workshop for women who prepare food in ECD Centres in marginalised communities. These practical workshops provide accessible solutions and guidance as to how best store, prepare and plan menus to provide the children with the required nutrients within the limited budgets available.

Healthy eating is important for every individual at every stage of their life. The regular consumption of fruit, vegetable and whole grains has been well documented to decrease the incidence of non-communicable diseases (heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer) in later life. Simply put; healthy eating is an investment in one’s health and future well-being.

This investment is especially important for young children under 5 years as these years lay the foundation that shapes children’s future health, growth, development and learning achievement at school. 

In an effort to address and prevent malnutrition at the Masikhule-mentored ECD centres we have, under the guidance of a registered Dietitian, developed an Early Nutrition Programme to ensure the children at these centres have an optimal nutritional base from which to grow, develop and learn.



Dream of Developing an ECD Resource Library Realised

Masikhule realised that a challenge facing community-based ECD Centres is that due to financial constraints and limited experience in the principles of Early Child Development, as well as the lack of space, the majority of the Centres in low-income areas and informal settlements are not able to offer the young children in their care optimal learning programs and a variety of learning experiences.

Our plan of action was therefore to give community-based ECD Centres the opportunity to become members of an Early Learning Resource Library. In 2015 we took this concept, and with lots of hard work and assistance from many supporters, made it a reality!

ECD Business Course
1 Course per annum

Once a year Masikhule runs a seven-module course for pre-school Principals focusing on administrative and office management skills, financial management, human resources, positive discipline and leadership skills. This highly practical course, which includes follow-up mentorship and in-service training visits, enables delegates to successfully manage and sustain an Early Learning Centre or crèche.

The course includes three pillars:


During the course we also develop business letterheads so that their communication is presented professionally. Letter writing, time-keeping, learning techniques and conflict-resolution are some of the skills that are imparted during this hands-on training programme.



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