EsF Community Rooted Education (CoRE)

The CoRE training programme supports ECD practitioners apply Montessori principles and practices to the care and education of children aged 0-6 in underserved and under-resourced communities. This training programme helps ECD practitioners cultivate a greater understanding of a child’s developmental needs and teaches them how to construct learning materials using local resources to prepare a low-cost, developmentally-supportive classroom environment that serves the needs of each, individual child in context.

Programme overview

The CoRE training programme was designed in collaboration with AMI to enable ECD practitioners currently working with children aged 0-6 to radically improve the quality of education and care in these crucial years of a child’s neurological development and to make quality training accessible in underserved communities.

Research reveals that children in the most disadvantaged quintiles of their societies are at the greatest risk of being deprived during the ages of 0-6. Without early intervention, biological and psychosocial risk factors associated with poverty lead to inequalities which undermine educational attainment and adult productivity, thereby perpetuating the poverty cycle. With this understanding, CoRE focuses on supporting early childhood development (ECD) practitioners and optimizing the use of community resources, talents, and capabilities to create nurturing environments where children can thrive. CoRE complements innate culturally based knowledge and community engagement, encouraging dynamic discussions about children’s development supported by observations of children and how adults can best support them in their context. Montessori theoretical principles are interwoven with practical guidance enabling adults to create supporting environments. Local resources are utilised, and adults engage in the co-construction of the learning materials that are developmentally supportive. CoRE is implemented within the existing local framework for ECD and seeks to take a holistic approach to ECD to integrate health, nutrition and education of mother and child from before conception through the first years of life and requires collaboration with local agencies to offer comprehensive ECD.

CoRE is centred on the idea that a community grows and flourishes when children are supported to realize their fullest potential and is run in collaboration with local government, recognised educational investors and important NGO partners from the local and international community.

Successful completion of this programme leads to being awarded an international Educateurs sans Frontières (EsF) certificate. The Indaba Institute seeks to develop a model to take this training to scale and grow its relationship with local government and key players within the private sector to make the training accessible to more ECD practitioners working with children in underserved communities across the Cape Winelands and South Africa.

Programme format

This training course is offered in modular format and consists of 740 hours of classroom-based training composed of knowledge and practical skills modules (74 credits). The course is presented in six modules (one week per month) over six months. CoRE is an incremental programme, focused on meeting educators where they are and linking theoretical sessions with practical experience, observation, and individualised support to support ECD practitioners through a process of exploration and reflection. It also includes the creation of low-cost, child-centric learning materials.

To find out whether CoRE training is available in your community, reach out to [email protected]

“It’s amazing how we absorb everything in such a short amount of time. I noticed how now I’m observing everything and everyone now! I have that in me now. It’s all just natural. What you learn, its just natural… I love to go the LCH in the morning. How I work with the children, how I speak to the children, the language, it has changed. Before I could never speak Montessori. The other teachers would talk about the spindle boxes and the (brown stairs). I was confused. I could see children work with (the materials) and could never understand.  I am so grateful… I really want to make a difference, to do something, especially with the farm children because I meet with them, with the parents and I know their background”

“I was definitely not where I was with knowledge and understanding in the previous module. I absorbed in the first module and this module feels like it is about application. It is taking place in me before it goes to the child. It’s how I’m learning. The course is showing me the kind of person I want to be, a better person, and shows me what I want to see in other people”

“I gained more confidence in each module. I can do things better. I’m not afraid of it because of how I learn here, how I do things. I’m not perfect but I’m getting there. I used to not be able to talk to people. I used to think about my school and things would come into my head and worry me. But when I get into the gate of the Institute, I forget about everything else. Now, I am able to concentrate.”

“I used the walking on the line activity with the children in church and it worked. There were around 30-40 children and they all became silent…What BethAnn [one of the 3-6 Trainers] said is that what we learn here are “pockets of gifts given to the child”. But actually, these are pockets of gifts that I feel I’ve received. The way they present and do things in the classroom. It is really wonderful.”

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