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?

5 Star early learning can lift entire communities out of poverty.

Quality ECD (Early Childhood Development) is globally recognised as the most impactful investment in human capital that a country can make. Research shows ROI of between 7% and 13% when investing in early learning.

In developing countries, low-quality early learning can be a life sentence that perpetuates poverty and inequality. Children who don’t have access to high quality early learning are being left behind, perpetuating South Africa’s endemic inequality.

Nationally in South Africa, only 29% of children under 6 are on track to meet their developmental milestones. Children from low-income households are at the greatest risk due to lack of access to quality early learning opportunities.

High-quality ECD education is crucial to a child’s brain development. It creates the foundation for school readiness by developing foundational skills in literacy, numeracy, creativity and problem solving, social skills and personal identity.

Children who access high quality early learning opportunities are less likely to drop out of school, to get a criminal record, or to require a government subsidy in adulthood.

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.

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. Our recipe for success includes 21 x Early Learning and Business Sustainability Components in order to achieve impact:

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.

Our 5 steps to 5-Star journey

Getting to 5 Stars is a journey. We’ve developed a 5 step programme to help ECD centres become a GROW franchisee at their own pace and capacity while also expanding our programme to reach more centres.

The 5-step programme helps us

  • reach more ECD centres faster
  • make our tools accessible for all that want to run a professional centre
  • reduce the risk for the ECD owner and GROW
  • reward effort and perseverance
  • develop a more sustainable finance 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.


Our mobile app and learning technology

We’ve invested in an App Suite as well as an online training platform to make our recipe for success more scaleable and accessible for ECD owners. The mobile technology is designed to work in offline mode and uses very little data.

There are three mobile apps:

  1. Giraffe App for ECD Owner
  2. Meerkat App for Teachers
  3. Lion App for Parents

The ECD Owner’s Giraffe app helps her reach her goal of becoming a more professional ECD centre by allowing her to

  • manage the school (create classes, calendars and profiles, staff attendance)
  • support the learners (enrolment, attendance, assessment results and reports)
  • empower the teachers (professional evaluation, resources, training)
  • grow her professional skills (data-free online training)
  • engage parents (learner progress reports, fee-payment tracker and notification)
  • track her progress towards 5 Star
  • track her progress towards registration
  • manage her finances (record income and expenses, a statement and progress)
  • Access professional resources: policies, procedures and templates, educational tips, training and registration checklist.

The Teacher’s Meerkat App helps her:

  • Track learner’s attendance
  • Assess learners and identify development areas
  • See and respond to development areas per learner
  • See messages from the principal
  • Access ECD resources

The Parent’s Lion App helps them:

  • View their child’s assessment results
  • View their child’s attendance
  • View their payments and outstanding balance
  • Access educational resources
  • Receive notifications from the principal
  • View the school calendar

GROW with Educare Centres provides women living in low-income communities the opportunity to run excellent, private, fee-paying early learning centres that are also viable businesses using the principles of social enterprise and micro franchising.

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