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Rhodes > Community Engagement > VC's Education Initiative > Early Childhood Development

ECD Residences Programme

Research has shown that good Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes offer long lasting benefits to learners, as these learners will have better cognitive abilities and attainment levels. Responding to this, the Rhodes University Community Engagement Office (RUCE) piloted the ECD Residence Programme in 2016. A total number of 13 ECD centres (12 pre-schools and 1 Toy Library), 1 Primary School, 13 Rhodes University halls of residence, and 2 residences took part. This resulted in 15 partnerships being formed.  Community Engagement (CE) Representatives from each Hall (and/or Residence) had an opportunity to choose a community partner to work with, which they felt best aligned to their Hall and/or Residence core values. Many of these partnerships were a natural transition as some Residences were already working with some of the centres. These partnerships will carry on, with newly appointed CE representatives working with the Volunteer Managers at each ECD centre each year on a newly identified goal. 1 Hall opted to continue work with a Primary School, as they already had a strong established relationship.

RUCE plays a facilitation role and provides training to both students and community partners on project planning at the beginning of each year. This training equips both the CE representatives and the Volunteer Managers with critical skills that are needed in building and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships and jointly working on a co-created project. CE representatives are required to visit the centres at least once each week, for a minimum of an hour to work on the identified goal for the year, working in teams that consist of various students from the Hall and/or Residence. Two processes are followed, the Siyakhana@Makana (S@M) process and the School Readiness programme.

S@M is a 19-week project planning process, where student groups and community partners together work on a co-created project from start to finish. This is done through a process of jointly planning the proposed project, jointly executing it, jointly evaluating progress mid-way through the execution phase, followed by a final joint evaluation once the 19 weeks comes to an end.

The School Readiness programme runs weekly (alongside the S@M process) in the mornings during term time. The RUCE office provides students with learning aids (resource packs), to support the learners’ educational needs, focusing primarily on school readiness. These resource packs include books filled with educational activities, songs, and lessons for the learners – with each week focusing on a different theme. As these resources were locally produced, they are not only beneficial but also relevant for the learners.

All CE representatives and Volunteer Managers meet with the RUCE staff for monthly meetings, to share their progress on their identified goals, share ideas, and network with other centres for possible collaboration. They are also provided an opportunity to present details of their identified goal to a panel that consists of various key stakeholders from our local community who can give input.



The partnerships that resulted and the goals they jointly worked on in 2016 are as follows:

Partner Name


Hall and/or Residence

Tyhilulwazi Pre-School

We want to start afternoon classes so we would like student volunteers to assist us by helping learners with their homework, and other things they are struggling with

Hobson Hall

With our pre-school kids we would like student volunteers to assist with storytelling, using educational games (like puzzles), outdoor games, and assisting with teaching in our classrooms

CSD Toy Library

Coming up with ideas to better manage the library and activities for the kids

Creating lively environment

Assisting in keeping the library open when the library administrator has to share toys with schools that are far from the library and cannot access it

Oppidan Hall



Sibanye Special Day Care Centre

Educate the parents & community of Grahamstown about disability

Rosa Parks Residence

Raglan Road Day Care Centre

Story books & walls

Lilian Ngoyi Hall


Floor renovations

Computer training for teachers and children

Boy Boy Mginywa Pre-School

Get outdoor equipment

Courtney Latimer Hall

Little Flower Pre-School

Help children with reading stories in isiXhosa and English

Help children with special needs

Assist children with using their educational equipment (e.g. puzzles)

St Mary Hall

Siyazama Pre-School

Assist in teaching how to do storytelling using puppets and dramatization

Assist in organising fun run, exercise, promoting healthy living because we are what we eat. Using our own vegetable garden

Founders Hall

Shaw Hall Day Care Centre

Library for the kids

Miriam Makeba Hall

Luzuko Pre-School

Massages (hands and feet) for the elderly

Kimberly Hall

Assisting in organising Mr & Ms Luzuko

Allan Webb Hall

Nokwandile Day Care Centre

Improve computer skills

Phelps House

CM Vellem Primary School

To create an environment that is conducive for learning

To re-organise one classroom to create spaces for different kinds of learning

Nelson Mandela Hall

Oasis Rainbow Kidz Pre-School

A successful community sports day with 5 pre-schools (planning, training of teams, programme for the day)

Desmond Tutu Hall

Noncedo Pre-School

Create a small space for gardening

Drostdy Hall

Nokwandile Day Care Centre


Jan Smuts Hall


RUCE is excited to see the partnerships grow stronger in 2017 and wish all centres the best of luck with achieving their goals! 

Last Modified: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:00:38 SAST