The first of many… Parents rejoice as ECD learners graduate

The Chronicle

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief
THE third term has come to an end, marking the conclusion of the 2022 academic year for learners.
One of the major highlights of this term was the graduation of Early Childhood Development (ECD) learners.
Pre-school administrators organised elegant graduation ceremonies for the little learners, which were a befitting send-off for little princes and princesses. Parents of graduates took to various social media platforms posting pictures of their well-adorned “bundles of joy”.

They also took time to prepare their little ones for their graduations by buying them new outfits and organising classic hairdos. One can safely say that tertiary institution graduates had strong competition from the little ones this year who walked out of their various ECD centres in style.

So viral were the graduation events that someone posted on social media: “Some parents are just doing too much in these pre-school graduations. Like why are you crying and passing out? The only thing Junior did this entire year was to colour and drink juice.”

While some may not attach much value to Early Childhood Development graduations, parents and teachers see it as a significant stage in a child’s life worth celebrating.
Monitor Ncube, whose daughter graduated from Barney and Friends Nursery in Gwanda, said she took her time to prepare for her daughter’s event as she realises the importance of celebrating every milestone in her child’s life.

“I’m happy that my daughter has graduated because she has moved from one stage in life to another. As a parent every development in my child’s life is important and I need to celebrate it whenever possible. For me, ECD wasn’t just a stage in which my child was just going to school to play, eat and sleep but she was developing.

ECD graduation

“My daughter learnt a lot during her ECD level. She can count, she communicates well in English, she can write her name, she can recite rhymes, the alphabet and a whole lot of stuff. When I was her age, I couldn’t do half of the things that she can do now,” Ncube said.

She said ECD was a crucial stage in education which has helped to develop children.
Langelihle Noko, who has a daughter who graduated from Happy Little Feet Nursery in Bulawayo, said it was a delight for her to watch her child perform during the graduation ceremony. She said it was the start of many more graduations to come.

They also took time to prepare their little ones for their graduations by buying them new outfits and organising classic hairdos.

She said ECD centres have groomed children to exude a great deal of confidence at a tender age. Mrs Noko said the achievements and growth that her daughter had acquired at the Early Childhood Development stage were worth celebrating. She said her daughter was also proud of her achievements.

“My daughter knew that she was graduating and she couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. The day meant a lot to her as well. She knew that she had completed one stage in her education life and she will now move to the next stage which is exciting for her. She was also eager to perform as I watched and after the event, she kept asking whether I had seen her perform and whether I heard her presentation.

“The nursery administration also did a sterling job in preparing for the graduation. We enjoyed top-class performances from the little ones and there was a lot of diversity. There were mass displays, singing, plays, bel air and presentations in French,” she said.

Bhekithemba Dube, who has a son who graduated from Disney Pre-School in Gwanda, said he valued the development that the ECD stage had brought to his son’s life. He said it has helped his son to gain confidence. Dube said ECD level allowed children to grasp key life skills at a tender age.

Patience Kgwadi runs Happy Little Feet Nursery in Bulawayo and believes ECD is a crucial stage in a child’s life. She said the work of Grade One teachers has been made easier because of the introduction of Early Development Childhood Learning.

“Early Childhood Development isn’t merely about eating and sleeping as some might think. Children pick up a lot of life skills at ECD level such as social skills and communication skills. When conducting their lessons, ECD teachers don’t work randomly but they have targeted goals which are key result areas in the development of their pupils. Children learn some independence and they mature to a certain stage during Early Childhood Development learning,” she said.

“Children come in raw and they learn a lot of things. As ECD centres we lay the foundation for Grade One teachers. Today, when children proceed to Grade One the burden which teachers used to face in the past, would have lessened. As ECD centres we take pride in our graduations as they signify an end to a great journey and the start of an even greater one. Just as tertiary institutions celebrate a great milestone, we also do.”

She said graduation ceremonies were an opportunity for the learners to display and showcase the knowledge and skills that they had acquired. It is also a time for the institutions to regain the confidence of parents in their learning systems.
Sibusiso Ndlovu who runs Disney Pre-School in Gwanda said Early Childhood Development was the foundation for a child to grasp concepts.

“Children can learn responsibility at ECD level. That interaction with their peers becomes a motivating factor. Children learn through playing which makes the learning process interesting and ideal for them.” – @DubeMatutu

Article Source: The Chronicle

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