Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Childhood Education]]> vol. 6 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Early care and education in disadvantaged contexts (birth to 9)</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Cash transfers and early childhood care and education in Zimbabwe: A critical inquiry to discourse, theory and practice</b>]]> Cash transfer based social protection can potentially contribute positively upon targeted beneficiaries on a variety of developmental aspects. This study explored the pilot and scaled-up phases of the Harmonised Social Cash Transfer program to determine impacts towards improving under-eight children's access to food, education, and health services. Stories of significant change were gathered in retrospect from purposively sampled caregivers and children beneficiaries. Based on thematic and guided analysis, it emerged that the programmes' theoretical and practical approaches renders the interventions less effective as impact assessment is narrowed to the early childhood cohort. This is furthered by relatively insufficient size of grants disbursed per household and commodity supply-side challenges. Consequently, a review to theoretical and practical tenets of the cash transfer approach becomes imminent in the Zimbabwean context. Targeting criteria needs refinement and supplemented with policy and multi-faceted public investment to address underlying limitations to impact on young children. <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of the effects of text-based instruction versus standards-based instruction in the early years</b>]]> The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a text-based (TB) English structured language development programme and a teacher-designed standards-based (SB) English instructional model. The sample of this study comprised of 500 Samoan children, in Kindergarten (K) and Grade 1 (G1), on the island of American Samoa attending eight different schools. All the children enter school with no English competence. Six schools implemented the TB Language for Learning scripted programme and the Read Well. Two schools implemented the SB instructional model for English language development (SB), and only one of these schools implemented the SB instruction in reading. The results of this study support the efficacy of TB structured language programme as compared to the teacher-designed SB instructional model in all language and reading skills assessed. <![CDATA[<b>Science and mathematics teaching through local games in preschools of Botswana</b>]]> This article presents a study regarding preschool teachers' skills and competencies in teaching science and mathematics. The aim of the project was twofold; one to find out the preschool teachers' knowledge about mathematics and science concepts and then to develop support material to empower them with skills and competencies to teach these concepts in preschools. A qualitative approach was adopted, and a case study method was used. Data were collected through two workshops and focus group discussions with preschool teachers. The study revealed that the preschool teachers had content knowledge, but lacked pedagogical knowledge that is crucial in teaching of preschool children, and they provided science and mathematics experiences in preschools scarcely. A resource book of 33 local games and rhymes thus was developed as a support material to empower the teachers with skills and competencies to use play to teach science and mathematics in preschools. The resource book developed consists of 33 local games/rhymes and is packaged with the games' illustrations, steps and rules followed in the games, science and mathematics concepts and competencies that could be taught to children, along with probing questions that would help in teaching of science and mathematics concepts to children. <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' discourses of literacy as social practice in advantaged and disadvantaged early childhood contexts</b>]]> This article examines two teachers' discourses of literacy as social practice in advantaged and disadvantaged early childhood centres for three- to four-year-olds. The intention is to make sense of the dominant discourse of literacy, its constitutive nature and its effects on children, teaching and learning. Foucault's theory of discourse is used to make salient the influence of interpretive frames of references on the understanding and practice of literacy. The data for the study was produced through a qualitative approach using in-depth semi-structured interviews. The findings show that teachers in both the advantaged and disadvantaged contexts are located in the dominant discourse of early literacy as a technical, autonomous skill. This discourse foregrounds children as adults-in-the-making (the becoming child) and a maturationist-environmentalist view of readiness for early literacy development. This narrow view of literacy discounts young children's positioning as social actors, issues of diversity and contextually situated practice. <![CDATA[<b>Child well-being in a rural context: Shifting to a social sustainability lens</b>]]> This article is based on findings drawn from a large-scale study aimed at mapping barriers to education in the context of social disadvantage. The research sites focused on in this paper are: one early childhood facility, four primary schools and the communities of these learning centres. Participants included learners, teachers, caregivers and parents and interested community members. Findings from the study were published widely in a research report, book chapters and peer-reviewed publications. In this article an attempt is made to revisit the findings on child well-being and quality of life, drawing on debates on sustainable development, in particular on the concept of social sustainability. The analysis draws attention to the importance of creating cultures of social sustainability within social institutions and communities to enhance the well-being of children. The article highlights the significance of values that are rights based and collective networks in cultures of sustainability. <![CDATA[<b>Teaching reading in a multi-grade class: Teachers' adaptive skills and teacher agency in teaching across grade R and grade 1</b>]]> The skill of reading is regarded as the cornerstone of literacy learning in the foundation phase. Although it is the most complex skill to master, it forms part of literacy teaching. Most learners begin schooling without having any kind of exposure to reading. This lack of exposure introduces a number of challenges, which are consequently exacerbated if teachers have to teach in multi-grade classes. This case study was conducted in two primary schools in the Ndwedwe Circuit in KwaZulu-Natal. It is framed within the interpretive epistemology embedded in a qualitative research methodology. Empirical data were generated from two rural schools where multi-grade teaching was undertaken. To produce data, two teachers teaching multi-grade classes (incorporating both grade R and grade 1) were observed during an isiZulu Home Language reading period. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews were used to elicit more data for corroboration of findings. The findings show that teacher agency is crucial in making adaptive decisions. These decisions are based on the intersection of formal knowledge, situational knowledge and experiential knowledge that the teachers have acquired over time. <![CDATA[<b>Interrogating the 'artificial' divide between health and education for children aged 0-3 years in urban poor locales in Kenya</b>]]> Holistic integrated early childhood policies foster child well-being in the first 3 years of life. The normative framing of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) entrenches segmentation and creates artificial divides between education and health. This segmentation persists yet development processes for children are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. We trouble this artificial divide by drawing on findings from a study which examined the discursive care spaces in an urban poor locale in Kenya. Data were produced through in-depth interviews; participant observation and focus group discussions with caregivers and both state and non-state care providers. Using a socio-ecological lens to analyse intra- and inter-household interactions among caregivers, our analysis exposes the assumptions and silences in ECCE health and education and presents caregivers' rich nuanced experiences and counter accounts. We conclude by calling for the imperative of bridging the divide between and within early childhood health and education to support integrated, adaptive and contextualised policy and practice. <![CDATA[<b>'Every mother dances her baby': Contextually responsive narratives of early childhood care and education in Kenya and Uganda</b>]]> Despite major steps towards providing early childhood care and education (ECCE) services in Kenya and Uganda, access to responsive services is still out of reach for many young children, and where available, they are often out of touch with local realities. In this paper, I trouble the universalising and totalising tendencies of the dominant narrative of ECCE as a template of thought and action and highlight the role of indigenous knowledge as a critical but often missing link in ECCE policy and practice. I draw on the situated experiences of caregivers and local communities, which counter the dominant narrative and argue that culturally responsive ECCE requires contextually sensitive policy and programmes. Such policies should affirm and support the important role of local knowledge in the care and socialisation of young children. Policies should also recognise the informal resilient social protection system without obscuring the role of the state in addressing structural vulnerability. <![CDATA[<b>African indigenous care-giving practices: Stimulating early childhood development and education in Kenya</b>]]> The indigenous communities in Africa, specifically Kenya, which is the focus of this article, had their own well-developed motivational systems that positively enhanced teaching and learning programmes in the community. These motivational systems were manifested in behaviours that were presented as sequential cultural tasks that demanded active engagement from children at every stage of development. The philosophical tenets of African indigenous education underscored education as preparation for life. This was a culturally based education that addressed the physical, emotional, mental and social aspects of a child's successful development. It offered the child an opportunity to participate in practical, productive and responsible livelihood activities. This article suggests that a concert of research into these indigenous motivational care-giving practices and community participation in the activities of early childhood education may offer important insights into transitioning children from life in the home environment to that of the school and its accompanying academic tasks. When these motivational care-giving practices are incorporated in the process of transitioning children to formal schooling, then their chances of success in these new educational programmes could be enhanced. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges in establishing kindergarten education system in villages of Guizhou, China: A preliminary study</b>]]> The Miao ethnic group is among the 56 minority groups in China. Their ideas of education for young children differ from that of the mainstream education system in China. This study examines the scenario of early childhood education for Miao children living in villages of Guizhou Province. It discusses the history and traditions of the Miaos and the kinds and forms of education provided, but not necessarily desired, for their children between 3 and 5 years old. School principals and teachers responded to such issues, and visual data collected during a field trip to two different villages were used to triangulate the responses. Findings show that even though there has been a strong belief that links poverty to the opportunity of schooling, empirical evidence from this study cannot yet confirm this argument. Parents' views of schooling were considered as influential factors. Nonetheless, challenges of early childhood education in rural areas, especially in underprivileged villages, of China are still inseparable from availability of resources and the government's initiatives.