November 4th 2008 marked a proud day at the Institute as we celebrated the graduation of seventeen Early Childhood Development practitioners. These women come from Manenberg, Lynedoch, Athlone and Gugulethu where they are running crèches for children between the ages of 3 months and 6 years. This graduation is the culmination of two years of training and support of implementation in their ECD centres. Nine learners achieved the Level 5 Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Development, eight learners achieved the Level 4 National Certificate in Early Childhood Development. Two additional learners were awarded Level 4 Numeracy Fundamentals and a third was awarded Level 5 Communication Literacy Fundamental.
Graduates walking into the hall
The ceremony was held in the Sustainability Institute hall which was transformed for the occasion by flowers and candles. We were thrilled by the number of people who came to watch their daughters/ wives/ mothers or grandmothers graduate. In addition the learners currently undergoing training were there to support their colleagues and were inspired to continue with their studies so that they too could be rewarded by wearing their caps and gowns at their own graduation ceremony.
The graduates proceeded solemnly down the centre aisle to the stirring tune of the National Anthem. Rosieda Shabodien, Sustainability Institute Board member was the main speaker, who gave an impassioned speech on the role of the family in bringing up children responsibly, without violence and with respect for each child. Eve Annecke, Sustainability Institute director, followed by suggesting that the graduates realise that they have the most important job on the planet, namely that of caring for young children. Carmel Davids, a graduate, read a poem (see below) she had written and Edith Swartz another graduate summed up what the training had meant to her and the other learners. Naledi Mabeba, the final speaker, who is the ECD programme coordinator, trainer and assessor, thanked all those who had made this long awaited moment possible. In particular she thanked British American Tobacco South Africa who have funded this programme.
Graduates listening to the speeches before receiving their awards
In between the speeches the graduates lead us all in jubilant singing. At the end of the ceremony, each graduate lead the way out of the hall, each holding a candle to symbolise the light of learning they were taking out into the world with them. The audience followed the graduates to a tree planting ceremony to commemorate the first graduation of ECD learners from the Sustainability Institute. After the tree planting ceremony, we returned to enjoy a delicious finger supper during which many photos were taken to capture a truly proud moment and achievement not only for the graduates but for the Sustainability Institute, as this is an internationally recognised ETDP SETA qualification.
Inschaaf De Bryn, a graduate from Manenberg receives her Certificate from Naledi Mabeba and Pru Ramsey, ECD trainers.
Poem by Carmel Davids, an ECD graduate from Manenburg
I can still remember year 2005
The first time we walked through these doors
Stressed by our jobs and lives
Feeling hopeless and frustrated
We were challenged from day one
This was going to be a bumpy ride
So everyone hold on.
The roller coaster was steered by people
Who had one interest at heart
A passion passed down to us
Of which we’re now apart.
During our lengthy modules
The weirdest things were taking place
The healing techniques that we had done
Left stunned looks on our face
I can still recall
The first time Bryce showed us some Tai Chi
And all those funny positioning
I heard creaking of some knees.
Before our journey took its course
I had soon realised
There are people who truly care
About the way children live their lives
In this wilderness out there
Montessori showed us how to see
These children are precious gifts
God gave to you and me
We now have an opportunity
To step into this world
To make a change in our communities
That are with children filled
God has given us this mission
To bring difference, just for one
So graduates be proud, stand tall
A new journey has begun.