Ubuntu Education Fund follows the research based model of play-based, emergent curriculum. This means that the curriculum is co-constructed between the children and the teachers around the interests and strength of the children.
Play-based emergent curriculum sees the child as an active, self-motivated explorer of their world. Play is how children make meaning out of their world. Through play they explore, investigate, and build on what they already understand. Play stimulates cognitive development. Teachers observe the children’s play and build off of emerging themes to bring in new ideas and concepts.
In the play-based model, the teachers’ reflections and observations are crucial and help to further the children’s engagement through play by facilitating opportunities for further exploration of their interests and the world around them.
The Ubuntu Education Fund ECD team meets weekly to reflect on the engagement of the learners and discusses, creates and enacts plans to further the learning and engagement of the ECD scholars in the week ahead. Plans and activities are carefully constructed through these team meetings, by the classroom teachers in conjunction with the ECD Manager and Mentor Teacher.
In exploring curriculum development for the Early Childhood Program at Ubuntu Education Fund, it was recognized that the South African Early Learning Framework document entitled NELDS (National Early Learning Developmental Standards) possessed significant gaps in terms of child development, especially in the area of language and literacy devleopment; therefore, Ubuntu Education Fund chose to utilize Teaching Strategies Gold ©, Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening Pre-k © and Early Math Diagnostic Assessment© to build, monitor and assess the Early Childhood Program participants.
Teachers record observations throughout the week and input these observations onto Teaching Strategies Gold©, then pair them with developmentally appropriate objectives. This process allows teachers and the ECD Manager to visualize a snapshot of the scholars' developmental progress.