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Occupational Certificate: Early Childhood Development Practitioner

Photo by Katerina Holmes:

Level: 4

SAQA ID: 97542   

Credits: 131


The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as an Early Childhood Development Practitioner.
An Early Childhood Development Practitioner plans and prepares early childhood activities, facilitates and mediates learning, observes and assesses the progress of children, and reflects on learning in an inclusive, play-based environment to support holistic development of children (from conception - school going) in different centre-based or non-centre based settings.

A qualified learner will be able to:

  • Plan and prepare broad-phase learning environment and stimulating activities that meet the holistic needs of all children in centre-based or non-centre-based settings.

  • Facilitate and mediate all aspects of the daily programme in a centre-based or non-centre based setting.

  • Observe, assess and record each child's progress according to the age and stage.

  • Compile a report of each child's progress.

  • Maintain and promote the well-being, health, nutrition, safety and protection of children.


The Occupational Certificate: Early Childhood Development has been designed to meet the needs and interests of the early childhood development sector in a variety of settings and contexts with an inclusive focus on education, health and safety issues, amongst others. There is a vast need for early childhood development services and it is critical that the field must be served by competent practitioners. In order to meet the needs at early childhood development level, it is important to be able to identify and recognise competent early childhood development practitioners who are able to work in centre-based and non-centre-based early childhood development settings.

  • This qualification will provide a means to give recognition to practitioners at an entry level, thus making it possible for practitioners to increase their employment prospects within the Department of Basic Education. The Department of Social Development, through the registration of early childhood development centres and/or sites, may also provide business opportunities to successful practitioners who may wish to establish early childhood centres and/or sites. It will also provide access to a recognised career path and at the same time provide the field with suitably qualified professional practitioners.

    The qualification will provide opportunities to people who wish to enter and/or continue learning in the early childhood development field, which include the employed, under-employed but not qualified, and school leavers. Every child has the right to high-quality, holistic education and care which forms the critical foundation for further development and learning from childhood into adulthood.

    This necessitates the universal availability of high-quality early childhood development and education as a vital strategy to yield personal and long-term benefits to individual children, their families and the society at large.

    Early childhood development is an essential component of economic development within the framework of child care services. Changing social and economic needs require parents to enter the labour market. Therefore quality early childhood development service provision is required to meet growing demands in the country, both in urban and rural settings. 

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