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Strategic Vision

The CSD envisions vibrant communities that take responsibility for the early childhood developmental needs of their children as a foundation for achieving human potential.

The CSD facilitates the development of early childhood communities and imparts skills to teachers and practitioners to strengthen community owned initiatives.

Our Practice is based on a caring professionalism that builds relationships which affirm and support the ability of people to arrive at their own solutions.



It takes a village to raise a child.

Where ECD teachers and community leaders learn.


History of CSD

The CSD was established in August 1981 by Ms Thelma Henderson as a Unit of Rhodes University with the Vice-Principal as its Chair and with donor funding from the Anglo-American and De Beers Chairman’s Fund.

The aims of the CSD included:

  • assisting people to achieve and run their own community projects
  • the development of skills in administration, decision-making, fund raising and community involvement through committee membership and involvement in projects
  • training of pre-school teacher-aides
  • the administration of four large bursary funds.

Through the years, CSD’s activities contributed significantly to the objectives of the University. CSD was first linked with the Department of Social Work so that students could become more closely involved in community affairs.

In 1999, the University redefined the relationship between the CSD and the University to make the Centre the interface between Rhodes and its communities. At this time a Senate Committee for Community Engagement was created. The CSD, under the directorship of Ms Di Hornby was asked to formalise the community engagement function of the university. In 2010 the university established a Community Engagement Directorate, with a dedicated Director of Community Engagement.


CSD’s role now

While the university’s Directorate of Community Engagement focuses on a broad range of programmes involving the civic and social responsibility of all students and staff of the university, CSD focuses on early childhood development of children from conception to the age of about nine within their households, neighbourhoods and ECD programmes.

The CSD is a self-funded institute which falls under the Faculty of Education.  It is in the unique position of linking

  • teacher development qualifications through a career path beginning with access through the NQF Level 04 Further Education and Training Certificate in ECD, through the NQF Level 05 National Diploma in ECD into the NQF Level 07 B.Ed. Foundation Phase (part-time, In-service)
  • with additional specialisations in literacy through the Funda Wande programme
  • and the Advanced Certificate in Foundation Phase Teaching: Literacy which will be offered in 2020 to qualifying teachers.


  • community-centred programmes which focus on supporting and monitoring quality ECD programmes for children through registration and government subsidies; nutrition and gardening; water, sanitation and hygiene; enhancing links between indigenous and traditional play and the national curriculums; repurposing of waste as resources; toy library administration: parent programmes and links to Grade R in the Foundation Phase.



Last Modified: Mon, 06 Jan 2020 15:46:04 SAST