Our ECD model

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Our ECD ModelWe empower qualified, passionate women to own and run successful high quality ECD centres in low-income communities through our proven social franchise model.

Why is ECD so important?

The Early Childhood Development (ECD) report released by Statistics South Africa in February 2018* shows that of the nearly 8.2 million children aged between 0 and 6 years old, almost 46% live in low-income households.

About half of these children do not attend ECD facilities. For the children who do have the opportunity to attend a preschool, the problem is not access to education but the quality of the education. As for the home environment, a large percentage of children are growing up in homes that do not provide adequate communication or play to stimulate learning.

High-quality ECD education is crucial to a child’s brain development. It creates the foundation for school readiness, improves a country’s economic viability by supporting working families and results in proven lifelong gains for the child and their future families**.

Too many children in South Africa spend up to 12 hours a day attending crèches and preschools that offer no more than a babysitting service. In these centres, there are very limited educational resources, no structured education programmes and mostly unqualified teachers. Teachers are underpaid and unmotivated. Parents who are desperately seeking quality education for their children have to spend the little money they have on transport to centres outside of their communities, and this transport is often unsafe.

Children who don’t have access high-quality early learning are being left behind, perpetuating South Africa’s endemic inequality.

Our Recipe for ECD Success

We provide women who have a heart for children and head for business with a complete recipe for ECD success. This franchise model significantly improves the educational outcomes for children under five and ensures that the business owner can run a professional and sustainable business. We call this our “Early Learning in a Box” and “Business in a Box” model.

We empower qualified, passionate women to own and run successful high quality ECD centres in low-income communities through our proven social franchise model.

All the ingredients are included in the “Early Learning in a Box”. This includes infrastructure upgrades, a complete kit of high-quality education equipment, extensive education training and ongoing mentoring. We have proven that if franchisees follow the recipe, GROW-educated children graduate at the age of five significantly more school-ready than children from the same socio-economic background who did not attend a GROW Educare Centre.

Each franchise is supported by a business mentor who trains and mentors them to run a professional business and supports them through the registration process. This is our “Business in a Box” toolkit.

What's included in "Early learning in a box"

What's included in "Business in a box"

Our vision for 5 Star ECD

GROW Educare Centres have a proven model that works and a formula for success. Franchisees are incentivised to achieve the GROW Educare Centres aspirational five-star ECD rating.

Each centre is ranked and star-rated on an annual basis against 5 core success factors (note lets list them).

This helps us to

  • monitor the quality and sustainability of the centre,
  • reward determination and hard work, and
  • provide additional support and mentorship to centres who are not at 5 Star level yet.

Why social-franchising?

Social-franchising adapts the proven principles of traditional franchising (one of the most successful business network models around) to suit the needs of small businesses in low-income communities.

GROW with Educare Centres brings social-franchising to Early Childhood Development to empower women to create sustainable businesses while ensuring quality is maintained at scale.

A ranking of the long-term economic effects of developmental interventions focused on poverty relief, and job creation shows franchising to be the most effective and sustainable solution.

Most owners of educare centres in low-income areas find it challenging to access training, resources, a proper curriculum, and to meet registration requirements and have very limited business experience. Franchising solves all these problems and can be replicated at scale.

GROW Educare Centre's vision for the social franchise is not to be profit-generating but rather operational self-sustainability.

Teacher internships (Yes4Youth)

GROW Educare Centres offers a comprehensive Teacher Internship programme in partnership with Yes 4 Youth, based on available funding from corporate funders. If your business is eager to invest in developing young teachers, reducing unemployment and partnering for improved ECD in South African, please sponsor Yes 4 Youth teacher interns!

Who qualifies?

Unemployed Level 4 qualified ECD teachers under the age of 30 years.


Features of the GROW Teacher Internship model:

  1. The first two weeks of training include:
    • GROW induction modules which prepare Interns for the implementation of the curriculum in the classrooms.
    • Two days of observation and orientation at the centres where they will be working.
  2. Interns work in our ECD Centres (4 days a week) while receiving continuous professional training and development (1 day a week)
  3. Interns receive continuous mentoring and coaching
  4. Interns receive personal development (essential skills such as debt management, budgeting, conflict resolution and problem-solving)
  5. Our interns have access to a counsellor when needed