Oxbridge Academy is an established private college offering distance learning courses to students in South Africa and abroad. Mission is to provide superior skills training and quality learning programmes through affordable courses designed to enable students to advance, succeed and achieve their true potential in their careers and professions.
On 20 November, we celebrate Universal Children’s Day. This important day recognises that children are our future, and that we should all work towards the goal of helping them to reach their full potential. Let’s explore this landmark day and how you can celebrate it.
What is Universal Children’s Day?
Universal Children’s Day was established more than 60 years ago by the United Nations. The 20th of November marks an important date in history, as the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on this day in 1959. Exactly 30 years later, the Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Signed by all 193 of the UN’s member states, these two documents signify a global commitment towards protecting the rights of children.
Are the rights of children being protected sufficiently?
In many respects, the worldwide commitment to secure the rights of children is not being realised. An estimated 262 million children, out of a total world population of approximately 2 billion children, do not attend school. In 2017, an estimated 6.3 million children died before turning 15, with around half of these deaths being due to conditions that could have been prevented with simple interventions.
South Africa’s Bill of Rights states that every child has the right to:
A name and nationality
Family care or parental care
Basic nutrition, shelter, health care services and social services
Be protected from abuse
Be protected from exploitative labour
Not be required to perform work that is inappropriate for their age
A basic education.
Unfortunately, millions of children in South Africa, particularly those living in disadvantaged areas, are being deprived of these rights every single day.
How can you celebrate Universal Children’s Day this year?
For 2018, blue has been adopted as the ‘colour of the child’. The United Nations is encouraging people from all sectors of society to wear blue clothing or accessories, and share photographs on social media under the hashtag #GoBlue.
The UN has also developed several educational lessons to help children understand and realise their rights. They encourage teachers, parents, caregivers and guardians to use these lessons to educate children.
Want to take things a step further?
Access to quality basic education is one of the greatest challenges in developing countries around the world. According to Statistics South Africa, more than half of children from lower income households do not attend early childhood development (ECD) facilities. The first five years of a child’s life is crucial in terms of development, and the need for more ECD facilities and practitioners is becoming increasingly urgent.
If the idea of educating children appeals to you, then you could consider one of the following careers:
Day care centre administrator
Day care centre manager
Assistant grade R teacher
As adults, it is our responsibility to care for, nurture and protect children. This Universal Children’s Day, play your role in helping children to flourish!
During your educare studies, you’ll be required to put the theory you’ve learnt into practice! You’ll have the exciting opportunity to spend time at educare facilities and to present lessons to children. Read on for expert advice that will help you pass this important part of your course.
Oxbridge Academy’s experienced educare tutors offer the following 6 tips to students who are doing their practical assessments:
1. Stick to your schedule
There are various requirements regarding how much time you need to spend at an educare facility for your practicals. During the N4 Educare National Certificate, for example, you must be present at the crèche or school for 10 school days, for at least 5 hours per day. Make sure that you arrive a few minutes early every day. If you are going to be absent, you should let the teacher, facilitator, or supervisor know as soon as possible.
2. Prepare your lessons properly
As part of your practical component, you will be required to present lessons during your time at the ECD facility. You need to ensure that your lessons are well prepared at home and in line with the lesson plan that you would have received with your study material. Also remember that lessons have to be discussed with your teacher, facilitator, or supervisors at least two days before you aim to present them. You will not be allowed to present your lessons if you can’t show that you’ve done the necessary preparation.
3. Be helpful and proactive
During your time at the school, you should strive to be as helpful and attentive as you can. Assist the teacher with the various tasks they need to do in the class, and pay careful attention to how everything is done. Being passive and unenthusiastic will more than likely result in you failing your practical.
4. Follow the assignment instructions
Your practical component will also include various assignments for you to complete. You will be given a list of instructions that will tell you what sizes, colours, and formats these assignments need to be in. Make sure that you always keep this information at hand when completing your assignments: it’s a good idea to print them out and stick them up in your study area. Remember that all the information you’ll need to complete the assignments will be in your textbooks.
5. Be neat and tidy
During your practicals, you should strive to create a good impression by dressing neatly and ensuring that you comply with the school or crèche’s dress code. Make sure that you dress professionally; clothes such as low-cut tops or short mini-skirts will be frowned upon. You should pay similar attention to the neatness of your assignments. For example, ensure that pictures are neatly cut out and that your writing is clear and neat.
6. When in doubt, ask for help
Many students are reluctant to approach their college for help when they are unsure of something. It’s therefore important for you to know that your tutors, student advisors, and facilitators are there to answer any questions you have and to give you advice. When you’re struggling with something, don’t be afraid to approach them.
All parents want to know that their children are safe and properly cared for while they are at work, and that their children are given the opportunity to grow and develop in a healthy manner. Parents also want to know that the people who will be looking after their children are properly trained and that they have the necessary skills to look after and teach the children.
It is therefore important for everyone who is interested in starting an ECD (Early Childhood Development) centre in South Africa to know what the rules and regulations are that need to be followed in this regard.
For example: Did you know that there must be one toilet and washbasin for every 20 children? Or that the kitchen must be in a separate room? Or that there has to be a separate area for children who are sick?
Starting your own ECD centre is not easy, which is why we have created a short infographic to help you determine whether or not you have what it takes to do so:
If you are interested in starting your own ECD centre, and you’d like to study a childcare course to prepare yourself for doing so, you can click here to view the childcare courses available at Oxbridge Academy.
Note: This article was originally published on 27 May 2016, and has been updated by Lungiswa Nyatyowa for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
Teachers have the immense responsibility of educating the children who will one day become accountants, doctors, and engineers. For a child, the long education journey has its foundations in Grade R. If you love working with children, then you’ll love working as an assistant Grade R teacher!
What duties will you be tasked with as an assistant Grade R teacher?
Assisting with the planning of interactive activities that expose learners to language.
Assisting with play-based learning that exposes learners to numbers, shapes, and measurements.
Assisting with early development of life skills in areas such as personal wellbeing, social interaction, creativity, and health.
Your overarching responsibility as an assistant Grade R teacher is incredibly important: to prepare children for the big transition to primary school.
Why should you study towards becoming an assistant Grade R teacher?
Here are some of the reasons why you may want to study towards this role:
1. The work is fun!
The Grade R curriculum doesn’t involve formal teaching of subjects such as English, Maths, or Science. It rather revolves around fun activities that are based on play, but that also introduce children to the basic building blocks of the subjects they will take at school. As an assistant Grade R teacher, you’ll be assisting the teacher with arranging and supervising activities such as painting, games, and puzzles. Looking after a group of energetic children can be hard work at times, but in general it’s plenty of fun!
2. The working hours are good
Typically, Grade R classes only run until around lunchtime. Although you may have to do some preparation after teaching hours, you should still have the freedom to work a second job in the afternoons, or to further your education by studying distance learning courses from home. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of those long school holidays!
3. The job is rewarding
You’re playing a crucial role in putting the first building blocks of a child’s education in place. Seeing the development of children under your care is a highly rewarding experience. Throughout the year, you’ll see the children start to make friends, learn life skills, and begin making noticeable improvements in their learning areas. At the end of the year, your learners will be prepared to take on Grade 1!
4. You’ll be prepared for further study
The National Certificate: N4 Educare is usually the first step in becoming an assistant Grade R teacher. Once you’ve successfully completed the course, you will be qualified to further your studies in the field of childhood development at N5 and N6 level. With the help of practical experience gained by being an assistant teacher, you’ll have the opportunity to strive for bigger goals, such as opening your own early childhood development centre, or becoming a fully fledged teacher (if you study a university degree after you complete your national qualifications in Educare).
So what are you waiting for? Take your first steps to a career in childcare with this range of courses from Oxbridge Academy.
Want to start gaining practical experience in the Educare field? Remember that, while you are busy with your course, or after you have completed your studies, you can sign up for the DHET’s free placement service – https://webapps.dhet.gov.za/iWIL – so that your profile can be matched with a suitable employer offering opportunities for Work Integrated Learning or Workplace Based Learning.
As a childcare professional, you will spend your days teaching children how to sit, crawl, walk, talk, draw and count. Childcare professionals have a huge impact on a child’s life as they shape young minds in the foundation phase. If you are a patient and nurturing person who loves kids, this might be the perfect career for you.
Working with children can be a joyful and rewarding experience. If you’re starting your childcare career, there are various routes you can take. We’ve outlined three main career areas in the childcare field to help clarify your options:
1 – The administrative path in childcare
If you’re quite an organised person who can take on many administrative responsibilities such as filing, scheduling, and co-ordinating, you might enjoy managing the day-to-day tasks at a daycare facility. Some job options in this line of work include becoming an aftercare assistant or a crèche assistant. In this career path, you can also work your way up to becoming a daycare centre administrator or manager. With enough experience and upskilling (for example, through a business management course), you could even start your very own daycare centre!
Babysitters and au pairs care for children when their parents are not around, generally in those families’ homes. Depending on your arrangement with the parents, your duties may include cooking, shopping, or fetching the kids from school too, but the main role is to mind the children, feed them, clean up after them, and entertain them.
Au pairs usually live in the family homes, where babysitters or nannies might not. A childminder, on the other hand, will look after children in their own home, and not go to the parents’ homes.
3 – The teaching career path in childcare
If you think you have the right kind of personality to manage a larger group of children, you might enjoy working in a classroom environment. Specific childcare career options in this area include becoming a playschool teacher or an assistant Grade R teacher. Duties may include teaching your class basic skills like drawing and counting through various games and activities, as well as preparing study material and supervising the children. With this career path, you always have the option of studying further in the education field and teaching at higher levels (primary school and high school) if you so choose.
The one thing all of these career paths have in common is that you must be able to work with children on a day-to-day basis. Is that something you could see yourself doing? If the answer is yes, then you’re in luck.
If you are starting your career in childcare, consider enrolling in one of these childhood development courses via distance learning, where you can study at your own pace from home, or while you work. Consider your options, further your education hassle-free and start flourishing in your childcare career.
If you’re a playschool teacher, parents will entrust you with their children, but you will know that parents also need to be actively involved in their children’s education and development. To make sure that the parents are involved, you need to communicate with them in an effective manner. Effective communication will help to create harmony between what the children learn at home and what they learn at playschool.
Here are some essential parent-teacher communication skills you need if you are a playschool teacher:
Understanding children as individuals:
It is important to see and understand children as individuals. The development levels of children differ, and this affects how they need to be taught and how they respond to their teachers. Some children are more independent from a young age, while others may still need a lot of guidance and help from the teacher. Understanding the children as individuals will help you to communicate in an effective way with parents about the children’s learning and development.
Children need their teacher and their parents to be actively involved in their learning. This helps children feel more confident and supported throughout their learning experience. Parents need to be kept informed about what is happening in the classroom. They also need to be guided in how to help and encourage their children, and how to get involved in their learning. As the teacher, it is your responsibility to inform parents about the activities done at school, to let them know how they can support their children, and to let them know how much involvement is needed from their end.
Being approachable and having regular conversations with parents:
Keeping the communication channels open with parents gives them insight into their children’s progress. Instead of simply handing out report cards, progress reports, and notes, invite parents in for conversations about their children. This can make them feel included, make them feel that you as the teacher are approachable, and encourage them to work with you for the benefit of their children. It is also a great opportunity for you to understand the children better and for the parents to ask questions.
While it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that learning takes place in the classroom, it is the parents’ responsibility to support both the child and the teacher by ensuring that they play an active role in the child’s learning journey.
The journey of a child’s learning starts at home; it is further moulded in the classroom, and it needs to continue being nurtured at home. As a teacher, you play a crucial role in this learning experience, and you therefore need to ensure that communication between you and the parents is open and effective. You can do this by understanding the children as individuals, offering parents the opportunity to get involved, and having regular conversations with parents. This way, the children benefit from a support system that functions as a team.
Are you responsible, adaptable, patient, and great with kids? Can you help with preparing meals and doing school work – all while working in a foreign country? If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, you could consider becoming an au pair.
First, let’s take a look at what an au pair is. An au pair is a person, usually a young woman, who takes care of children in a foreign country. Families hire au pairs to look after their children, either at home or while they are away on holiday. In South Africa, local working parents might also employ au pairs to look after their children while they are at work.
What does an au pair do on a daily basis?
As an au pair, your responsibilities will be varied and will include tasks related to the family’s children. Your primary responsibility will be to look after children, and to make sure that they are safe and happy. Your day-to-day life will include:
Playing with and entertaining the children
Preparing meals and snacks for the children
Bathing and dressing the children
Helping school-age children by packing lunches, taking them to school, and helping them with homework
Taking the children on outings, to playdates, and to other activities
What do I need if I’m interested in becoming an au pair?
A valid driver’s licence with at least 1 year’s driving experience (depending on the family’s needs)
Mature and positive attitude
What are the pros of becoming an au pair?
It gives you the opportunity to gain experience in childcare while saving on living expenses.
If you work in a foreign country, it allows you to see the world on a shoestring budget.
It allows you to enhance your CV by improving your intercultural competence and foreign language skills.
What are the cons of becoming an au pair?
You do not become an au pair to make lots of money. Depending on your employer, you may be paid a monthly allowance or an hourly rate. On a positive note, however, you will have few expenses, as your employer will usually provide food and accommodation, and will reimburse you for some or all of your employment-related travelling costs.
You are sometimes responsible for household chores and cleaning. Part of the au pair deal usually requires you to help with housework, including doing laundry, preparing meals, and doing light cleaning such as sweeping or vacuuming.
You may find it hard to separate work time and free time, as you will be living with your employer.
While being an au pair gives you the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures and learn new languages, it is also a very serious job. Taking care of children requires someone with passion and someone who understands the importance of keeping children safe and helping them learn. It is also a rewarding job and one that will help you build relationships with families that could last a lifetime.
Would you like to become an au pair?
Click here to view the au pair and childcare training courses available at Oxbridge Academy.
Please note: This article was originally posted on 13 October 2014, and has been updated for relevance and accuracy.
How often does it happen that when you look for something, you have absolutely no clue where to start or where to find it? This happens to me all the time! This can become a nightmare for early childhood development (ECD) practitioners, who need resources and guidelines that are easily accessible. Don’t worry, though – in this article, you will find some essential resources that you can use as a future or current ECD practitioner.
Firstly, let’s talk about the profession and what you would be expected to do as an ECD practitioner. Some of your duties would be to:
Plan, organise, and conduct educational activities to help children develop a wide range of skills, including speech, reading and writing, and social skills.
Supervise children, usually within a limited age range.
Supervise indoor and outdoor playtime.
Create social lesson plans and organise activities throughout the day.
There are many rules and regulations involved when it comes to working with children, and the job of an ECD practitioner comes with high levels of responsibility. ECD practitioners are expected to be proactive in preventing mistakes and accidents, but must also be able to react quickly if something goes wrong. This is why it is so important for ECD practitioners to have the right resources on hand, as well as to know how to find relevant resources quickly when they need them.
As a parent or caregiver, it’s essential to understand the various stages of emotional development that children go through. A child’s emotional development takes place on both a conscious and a subconscious level, and monitoring a child’s emotional development is an important part of raising a healthy, well-adjusted child.
What are the basic stages of emotional childhood development?
Infant or baby (birth – 2 years old)
A child goes through many changes in terms of their emotional development in the first year of their life. The infant will go from being a sleepy baby in the first few weeks to being more alert, responsive and interactive with people whom they see on a daily basis. During this period, the child will develop a very close bond with their parents or caregivers and could even start imitating people and breaking into a smile from the age of 3 months.
When the child becomes more aware of their surroundings, they will start exploring and developing their own sense of belonging in the family. Once the child is fully aware of their surroundings and family members, they could also start showing signs of jealousy when a parent holds another baby. If this happens, you should not be too worried, as this is a normal sign of emotional development.
If you would like to know more about the stage of birth to 24 months, click here.
Toddler or preschool age (2 – 5 years old)
When the child starts walking, they will take on a whole new adventurous approach to life. They will start exploring on their own and their language skills will develop significantly. They will start naming objects and people and will start developing their own personality very quickly.
During this stage of their lives, they will start exploring their emotions and might even start throwing tantrums. During these moments, it is important that the parents or caregivers learn to teach the child the value of delayed gratification. In other words, they need to teach the child that they cannot get everything that they see. Just as the child learns to say ‘no’, they need to learn to accept hearing a ‘no’ from other people too. (Source: Child Development Institute)
Schoolgoing age (6- 12)
During this stage of a child’s life, they become a lot more independent and social. It is during this stage that a parent or caregiver needs to instil a good set of morals and accepted behaviour.
Some children may struggle to adapt to schooling, and according to the Child Development Institute, it’s important at this stage that parents are able to “provide praise and encouragement for achievement but parents must also be able to allow [children] to sometimes experience the natural consequences for their behavior or provide logical consequences to help them learn from mistakes.”
Adolescent or teenager (13 – 18 years old)
The teenage years often pose the biggest challenges when it comes to parenthood. During this time, a child goes through many emotional and social changes. Most 13- or 14-year-olds are going through puberty, which means you can expect a slight change in mood, sensitivity, and self-consciousness.
At around the age of 15, most children want to do things without their parents and want to be more social with friends.
According to www.verywell.com, most teenagers at the age of 17 “are equipped to regulate their emotions. They’re less likely to lose their tempers and healthy teens know how to deal with uncomfortable feelings.” During this stage, they will develop and strengthen relationships with people they feel close to.
Please keep in mind that these developments are only some of the developments that will occur during these stages of a child’s life. Also, every child develops at his or her own pace, and the ages at which certain developments take place are not set in stone.
Why is it important to be familiar with the stages of a child’s emotional development?
A child’s environment can have a big impact on his or her behaviour and development. And as a parent or caregiver, you can help a child to develop to his or her full potential by:
Understanding the stages of emotional development and how they influence a child’s behaviour
Using this understanding to create an environment that fosters a child’s development
If you want to learn more about how you can help children reach their full potential, you can read the following articles:
Children go through distinct stages of development as they grow from infants to toddlers – and during each stage, various physical, mental, and social changes take place. Before we go any further, let’s look at some interesting childhood facts:
Now let’s take a look at the different stages of childhood development from birth to 24 months:
Keep in mind that the ages above are merely a guideline – each child will develop at his or her own pace, and may sometimes take a little longer to reach a certain milestone.
If, however, you notice that your child (or a child in your care) is developing considerably more slowly than the norm, it would be advisable to consult a medical practitioner (or to suggest to the child’s primary caregiver that he or she consults a medical practitioner). While some developmental delays are entirely normal, others may indicate an underlying problem. In the latter situation, early detection can increase the likelihood that the delay will be effectively remedied.
If you are interested in learning more about childhood development, and would like to study towards a childcare qualification from home, then click on the link below: