True North works toward providing Early Childhood Development support to children aged between 0 and 5 years from underprivileged backgrounds in Cape Town, South Africa. Currently concentrating on the Vrygrond and Overcome Heights areas of the Western Cape, the organization has developed a strategy which is built around the offering of in-center interventions (for children in ECD center care and provision) and out-of-center interventions (for children not receiving ECD care in a formal pre-school environment) using the TN 7 Key Principles to ensure a sustainable impact upon the community:
2. Building and maintaining relationships;
4. Partnerships with local community;
5. Strength/Needs assessments of the community via participative feedback;
6. Holistic implementation;
7. A clear exit strategy
Its holistic implementation methodology is based on four key principles: Training, Support, Provision of resources, and the Facilitation of connections between participants and stakeholders.
These four principles are implemented in six focus areas: Active learning; Health and Safety education; ECD Leadership and Management; Parent Engagement; Community Engagement; and Premises and Equipment. For premises and equipment, both minor and major upgrades to education facilities are provided and community labor and involvement is encouraged. Additionally, parent and community engagement are vital to the program to ensure its sustainability and success.
Offering culture-considerate services informed by clear strategic plans, and continuous M&E. Working with and expanding on existing infrastructure & personnel resources. Using enterprise development and rewards as a means for encouraging participation.
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CEI approaches in actionDeliveryChains or Networks of schools/centersMobile schools/centersDeliveryFinancingPolicy & AnalysisStudent supportSchool supportEarly Childhood DevelopmentEntrepreneurship skillsVocational/technical skills
Model details2007Not-for-profitComprehensive curriculumEntrepreneurship skillsVocational/technical skillsActiveLong-term projectFree service or product01,496
- True North bases its operations in historically impoverished locations such as Vrygrond and Overcome Heights in the Western Cape. The organization conducted preliminary research to establish the need for ECD services in the area, revealing overwhelming numbers of children unable to access ECD education owing to insufficient community or family resources due to inaccurate government census measurements. Currently, 2 independent agencies confirmed that there are nearly 5000 young children between the ages of 0 and 5, while the government census indicated only 3000.
- Providing 'Community Currency' in the form of tokens which are provided in exchange for attending ECD teacher training programs. This currency can be exchanged for educational resources to equip ECD schools. It also encourages independence and sustainability.
ScaleNumber of learners/youth aged 0-6 years reached in reporting period.146146 teachers and principals served during the reporting period.32Number of schools reached in the reporting period.May, 2015
In February 2013 True North staff cohort consisted of 2 full-time staff members catering to 5 ECD centers with a budget of R200,000. By May 2015, the organization was made up of 23 full- and part-time staff members caring for 32 ECD centers.
True North aims to continue increasing the number of students it serves until all of the young children in the Vrygrond area have access to fully-registered ECD facilities. Eventually it is intended that community members will assume all responsibilities and the program will run independently and sustainably, allowing True North to look to other geographic regions with similar needs.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Data collection tools include: Session Notes and Intake; Attendance, Assessment and Feedback Tools.
1. TN minimum standards
All centers who wish apply for and receive continued support from TN must meet the TN minimum standards. This checklist consists of basic tenets in the 6 Implementation Sections, which ECD centers must have in place. All centers will be taken through this process in 2015 and assisted to have these things in place, before receiving support.
2. Government minimum standards
A developed checklist consisting of Norms and Standards from the Children’s Act Chapters 5 and 6 will used as an overarching standards for centers to meet and subsequent support provided by TN will align to these standards.
3. TN quality Standards (ECERS)
Once centers are registered, the next step will be monitoring the quality of ECD provisioning in line with ECERS AssessmentsStandardized assessment performanceTeacher attendanceStudent attendanceTeacher retentionStudent retentionIncreased enrollmentOtherProgress in becoming a legal registered Entity; Financial sustainability; Quality programmes and teachers; School ReadinessNo