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Figure 1. Conceptual Map (v8). Describes the theoretical model upon which we plan our objectives and activities, with the ultimate aim being improving the education at the creche. See description below.


(I'm sorry, but I don't know why the image above won't maintain its aspect ratio - sorry if it looks stretched. If you download it to your PC and view it there it should look better.)


Description of Conceptual Map (Draft version 1.3)


At the Tšwelopele Crèche in the village of Indermark, our target condition is the learning environment. For there to be a positive learning environment at the crèche, there needs to be both trained educators and a nutritive diet for the children. English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) is a basic necessity for developing children, who later will engage further in a secondary educational system taught solely in English. If young learners do not receive the proper English language education early in their student careers, they will be unable to comprehend their text books and teachers/professors at later stages. Finally, educators at the crèche are in need of important teaching aids to effectively teach the young children.


The quality of the education the teachers can give is influenced by a number of elements, one of which is the availability of trained teachers, which is limited in the Indermark village.


A second element is the number of children. The crèche currently cares for about 160[1] children and has only four teachers, including the principal, Frederica. The number of children in the crèche is a result of several factors: many parents need to work, without anyone to look after their children at home; parents also prefer to send their children to Tšwelopele because the crèche has developed a good reputation over the years because of the quality of care that it provides. Additionally, Frederica influences the number of children because she believes the more children she permits to attend the crèche, the more money the crèche will receive from school fees.


A third element is the lack of teacher contracts. Currently, teachers are regularly sent for training so that they may become better educators, which is expensive (R350[2] per week of training); however, once trained, some leave the crèche for better and higher-paying jobs. Frederica pays each teacher R350 per month[3], and not at all in December, the end of the school year in South Africa. A related element, therefore, is lack of adequate funding to both attract and retain trained teachers. This is directly related to the poverty of the crèche, which charges R50 per child per month, but only receives a portion of that amount due to the poverty of the parents[4] and financial mismanagement.[5] is a function of both the poverty of most of the parents (who cannot afford large fees for the services the crèche provides), and the lack of adequate outside funding from either the government or private donors. In fact, all of the outside funding for the crèche is the result of private fundraising efforts. The government will not subsidize teacher salaries at private crèches.


The second major factor, child nutrition, has a major influence on the ability of the children to be receptive learners. At present, they are fed two meals daily at the crèche – breakfast (mabele, or sorghum porridge, for only some children) and lunch – consisting almost entirely of pap (maize or corn porridge), which is greatly lacking in vital nutrients. It is unknown of what their meals at home consist. The diet of the children is thus a function both of their home diets and the diet they are fed at the crèche, the latter of which forms the majority of their diet.


The children’s diet at the crèche is directly influenced by the availability of money for food and the ability of their garden to produce vegetables, as well as the methods of preparation.[6] Practically all of the food served at the crèche is purchased, and with money provided by private donors; also, the principal benefactors, the Gaighers, are currently engaged in the process of securing extra funding from the government. Additionally, and despite the profusion of fruit trees in Indermark as a whole, the crèche itself has no fruit trees and thus no fruit.


The staff are also affected by the food served at the crèche. In order for them to perform their best for the children, they require a healthy diet as well.


Another element is the money available to purchase fuel, including wood (the major fuel source) and occasionally gas, to cook the meals. In order to cook the meals for the day, the crèche pays for wood on a regular basis. This is unsustainable environmentally and financially. Wood smoke also has a negative impact on the health of the cook.


The garden’s productivity is influenced by several elements: variable weather; soil quality, which is low; the presence of pests, which consume part of the crop; seeds; and the need for continual maintenance.


last updated 30 November 2007

[1] This amount fluctuates month to month.

[2] R250 for one week of training (including room and board) plus roundtrip bus fare and light snack of R100.

[3] Teachers may be paid late or in installments, due to poverty or lack of budgeting.

[4] Most parents receive R200 per child per month from the government, which is their main source of income.

[5] An example of financial mismanagement: Frederica used available funds to take all the children and their parents on a day-trip to the Show Grounds in Makhado (Louis Trichardt), depleting the funds available to pay the teachers, the gardener, the cook, and the two cleaning staff.

[6] Although it is a common practice, the cook’s method is to remove the nutrient-dense skins of tomatoes and to overcook other vegetables, such as spinach, given to the children at lunch.

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