What is Lifestyle ECD (Early Childhood Development) Centres?
LEC is a ministry to provide optimal environments to foster resilience in children in disadvantaged areas instead of providing temporary or fragmented remedies, which often get under-utilized due to a lack of support.
Challenges that children face
There are many adverse life experiences that children in disadvantaged areas go through.
- Child abuse or neglect
- Witnessing violence
- Assault or Rape victim
- Parental divorce or separation
- Death of a family member
- Extreme hunger
- Under educated parents
Unfortunately, many children from SA townships live with one or more risk factors. Children with multiple risk factors are likely to exhibit psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, aggression and even learning disabilities. When a child exhibits such problems, the effectiveness of education and the child’s potential decreases.
Why build resilience in children?
Resilience is the ‘capacity to adapt under difficult circumstances and it can be taught’ according to Ann Masten, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development. In her interview, she also said that it’s about “having close relationships with competent, caring adults. It’s not in the child. That is in a relationship, and, unfortunately, not every child has that opportunity.”
In her research data, some of the common traits of resilient children are higher intelligence and positive attitudes (humor and easy going attitude).
Lifestyle ECD Centre’s building resilience and reaching families
- Select a partner (existing or new) preschool and provide financial assistance to the teacher.
- Recruit children with motivated parents and limit the capacity to 10:1 children to teacher ratio.
- Equip the preschool or a building to provide a clean and safe environment.
- Train the teacher with Practical Life program from Montessori and help them guide the children with proper life skills. (Children spend 10 to 11 hours each day at a preschool)
- Train the teacher and equip the facility to provide a stimulating environment and fun based mentally challenging programs for children to develop intelligence and positive attitudes.
- Conduct regular visitations (admission requirement) with the teachers and identify risk factors in each of the children’s lives through interviews and research.
- Provide guidance and counselling using Women’s Ministry to the mother or the primary caregiver to build a caring relationship with the child. The teacher will play the role in a child’s life if the primary caregiver is not able.
- It is our belief that the above steps and the nurturing environment that was created will plant hope, which will have a positive impact on the child’s resilience against other unaddressed risk factors. Then, the behavioral or psychological problems would be addressed and the child will be ready for the next step. The foundation period is expected to be 6 months to a year.
- Once there is a strong relationship with the caregiver (and the teacher), mental development and positive attitude are in place, the individual implementation of Montessori Programs will begin and Women’s Ministry will continue to the next step such as discipleship or further education.
Candidate site for the 1st Lifestyle ECD Centre
Preschool Name: Siyaqingqa Creche
The preschool is in an informal settlement called Endlovini, Khayelitsha. It hosts 20 to 30 children but there are only 3 due to a late opening in February, which gives us a perfect opportunity to get involved with the enrollment.
Teacher/Owner Name: Penelope Mnengisa (Center)
Penelope has many years of relationship with Jaemin through LOVEa ministry and with Helen through monthly seminars. Jaemin will lead the Women’s Ministry and Helen will lead the preschool part. Jaemin has an extensive ministry background with preschool teachers and has a seminary degree. Helen is the Head Directress at Liyabona Montessori Preschool (a ministry of OLIA) and has been training township teachers for the past 5 years in South Africa and is a qualified Montessori teacher from Canada.
- Stationary: copy paper, pens, pencils, crayons, etc…
- School equipment: desks, chairs, dishes, cups, carpets, cleaning products, hand sanitizers, books, posters
- Play equipment: soft balls, bean bags, toys, blocks
- Volunteers: to repair the building and to teach children with stimulating educational programs and games
- Financial support is always welcome
Helen Lee – OLIA
021 853 5390