Domino ECD

Stories from the crèche: 4th Quarter 2016

For children to reach their full potential it’s crucial they receive Early Childhood Development, a chance for them to grow mentally, physically and emotionally within a safe learning environment. With that purpose in mind our ECD programme aims to improve the quality of learning and to increase preparation for school readiness for children under the age of seven; a task we’ve taken to heart over the past three and half years.

As we’ve worked alongside 23 crèches in the Amaoti community we’ve watched them grow and gain essential skills to better the lives of pre-grade R children within the community.

During the 2016 year we slowly started phasing out in the crèches in the Amaoti area, testament to the success of the programme. With crèche owners now empowered and equipped with the necessary tools to improve active learning within their ECD centres, they have the opportunity to stand on their own and become self-sufficient, small businesses. We will still continue to feed the children in these crèches.

This year has also been an incredible time of expansion and we’ve assessed a number of crèches in two new areas, opening up opportunities for future involvement. We look to the new year with excitement and anticipation for what it holds, our dream of seeing children reach their full potential continually pushing us forwards.


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Stories from the crèche: 3rd Quarter 2016

We dream of seeing active learning taking place in crèches around South Africa, where Early Childhood Development centers are not just a baby-sitting service but a place for young children to learn, develop and grow.

For the past three years, we’ve been working tirelessly into 23 crèches in Amaoti through empowering ECD center educators and owners with essential education and enterprise skills. There have been great successes and as we prepare to slowly step away from them we look back at the programme through the eyes of our ECD mentors.


“Firstly, I would like to say it is a privilege and honour to serve the Amaoti community through ECD. Working with little ones gives me the reason to serve God to the fullest. Through The Domino Foundation I’m now a qualified ECD educator with ECD NQF level 4 and am able to assist and mentor ECD teachers in the community to implement active learning in their ECD centers. I have seen a lot of improvement in the crèches we’re working with, with some being registered with the Department of Social Welfare, some in the process of registering. For all the crèches we’re working with I see active learning taking place.”

Zanele Gumede


“ECD in Amaoti has been a very exciting experience for me. It has shown me the potential I have to influence the people around me to take education seriously from a young age. There has been transformation in the teachers and it has improved the children’s skills and learning abilities. Active learning now takes place in many of the crèches and teachers are passionate about teaching learners and developing them in all areas.

In the last year, there have been some exciting developments. Two of our crèches have undergone registration and are well on their way to registration – which has been one of our main objectives. One of the crèches also had a challenge where they had to close down due to another day care operating nearby causing many learners to leave. By God’s grace they decided to operate in a different area and have managed to continue working in their church building and now have a larger amount of school learners.”

Nauleen Luthuli


To continue positively impacting the ECD programme we’re looking for these items:

  • learning resources for ages between 0-6 years (skipping ropes, puzzles, play dough, stencils, big lego blocks)
  • bright, funky material for our bean bag project (squares of 16cm x 16cm can even pre-cut)
  • Stationary (fat kokis, crayons, powder paints, colouring books/ pages, paper, chalk)
  • scrap paper collections (children can draw on the back of them)
  • nappies, wet wipes, toilet paper
  • cleaning materials to wash floors, tables/chairs, dishes etc.
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Stories from the crèche: 2nd Quarter 2016

The Early Childhood Development Programme has been going from strength to strength, with new Programme Manager, Jessica King, ready to take the reigns and lead it into the next season of growth.

Jessica King is more than qualified for the position and brings her unique learnings from a Bachelor of Social Science in Organisational Physiology & Industrial Sociology and Foundation Phase teaching, into her new role.

Past programme manager, Toni Wilkens, who helped build, establish and nurture the programme from the ground up, has decided to focus her attentions solely on counselling and life skills. We wish Toni only the best in her endeavours.

On the ground, the ECD programme is hoping to move into the area of Waterloo, just north of Durban, to bring quality education and training to fifteen new  crèches.

Another exciting new venture is moving into the ushobeni community of Port Shepstone. With the support of the JT Ross Group our ECD programme is aiming to increase active learning and school readiness for five crèches in the area.

As the Amaoti crèches reach the end of the successful ECD programme our trusted field workers will start working in the new community of Waterloo and uShobeni, meeting with crèche owners and teachers and understanding how they can help implement active learning.

One of programme’s goals is to help the crèche become more than just a babysitting service and teach them how to put stimulated learning into practice. This prepares children for ‘big school’, giving them the best chance at a successful schooling career. The ECD programme also aims to empower creche owners to be successful small business owners, giving them the tools and knowledge to take control of their business.DSC_0062

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New season, new roles

With a new season comes new leadership. As the Domino Foundation increases its capacity to reach more communities there have been some internal shifts to ensure that the hands who do this work are passionate, skilled and ready to impact lives.

At the beginning of the year Mickey Wilkins stepped down as CEO of the Domino Foundation. After twelve incredible years of leading the non-profit Mickey has now decided to look after the sustainability of Domino and has started Domino Business. As of February 2016 the Domino Foundation welcomed in a new CEO, Richard Mun-Gavin, lead pastor of Cogs Church. Not only does Richard bring a wealth of pastoral experience but his passion for people means he’s more than ready to take Domino into a new season of growth.

Shaun Tait has officially moved into the role of  COO and is overseeing the day to day operations of all the programmes and its staff. Although a tall task Shaun has slid into his role with effort and ease.

After heading up the ECD team since its inception Toni Wilkins has decided to focus her attentions on the Life Skills programme and counselling at the Door of Hope Counselling Centre. The team is now been led by the capable Jessica King, who moved over from donor relations. Jessica is more than qualified for the position and brings her unique learnings from her studies, a Bachelor of Social Science in Organisational Psychology and Industrial Sociology and a Foundation Phase Teaching qualification and is currently Clinical Psychology. Jessica also handles the Domino volunteers.

And in the feeding programme Cathy Whittle has taken over the reigns as Programme Manager. Cathy comes from the cooking industry and has the heaps of experience needed to steer the many Domino feeding projects in the right direction. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s our Sandwich Kitchen, Soup Kitchen and Relief Kitchen. Past Project Manager, Brenda Scheepers has moved onto an exciting venture with Domino Business, which you can read more about here.


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Stories from the crèche: ECD Effects 1st Quarter 2016

Since 2011 our ECD project has assisted crèches in the Amaoti area by providing nutritious meals daily, empowering crèche owners and helping to create a solid learning foundation for the little ones. Here are some encouraging snapshots from the project.

  • The focus of the ECD Project has been empowering teachers and crèche owners. We’ve found, through experience, that confident and equipped teachers better benefit learners. Regular short courses on business and teacher training and weekly visitors from field workers assist crèche owners with practical and on the job advice.
  • Infrastructure that’s bright and cheery can make the world of difference in a classroom environment. The ECD project has enabled eight crèches to have makeovers and educational toys and clothes have been distributed to all the crèches – encouraging lots more learning and playing!
  • Through the Sibaya Community Development Trust, which has funded 23 out of the 32 crèches, one crèche has been registered and three crèches have submitted their registration papers. This is a very exciting development and one of the main goals of the project. If a crèche becomes registered they become eligible for government funding, a step forward and invaluable resource for the crèche.

Thanks to the kind donations of delicious Easter eggs from Maris Stella School, Danville Park Girls’ High School, Crawford College La Lucia, ADT Security, the COGS Church Ladies Meeting and the volunteers from the Sandwich Kitchen we handed out 2103 Easter eggs to learners from the Domino Foundation’s projects and 592 Easter eggs ti the Foundation of Life Church.



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ECD Effects 4th Quarter 2015

Early Childhood Development 4th Quarter 2015

“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”

These great words from Nelson Mandela inspire the Domino Foundation’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, an initiative that hopes to empower unequipped and under-resourced ECD centres to build a stronger foundation for young learners.

One of South Africa’s greatest education challenges is access to quality learning from a young age and even those that do go to foundation phase learning are often scared by the social ills of a broken community. The Amaoti area is marked by poverty and child-headed households and the reality is that what’s happening at home affects the school day – making teaching difficult and requiring teachers to double up as counsellors too.

The Domino Foundation’s ECD team walks alongside 16 ECD centre owners, monitoring the crèches weekly. Educational and enterprise assistance is provided to help meet the nutritional, cognitive, social, behavioural and educational needs of children in their formative years.

Even though the programme has been implemented for a few years it has been a joy to see the suggested improvements being cemented in centres’ routine. All the crèches now teach the same themes and work in tandem together, whereas before the teachers worked in silos isolating themselves from peers. Through the guidance of Unlimited Child and the continued support of the Domino Foundation’s crèche mentors, crèche owners and teachers are empowered to not just care for the children but actually teach them too.

The Sibaya Community Trust have generously funded the programme for the past three years and have been so encouraged by the improvements in the crèches that Domino works into that they are extending funding to cover 15 more crèches in the Waterloo area. Crèche assessments have already been well under way as life skills workers rate the Waterloo crèches on their standing on the registration process, their hygiene, teaching methods and infrastructure.

As a thank you for the teachers’ selfless dedication the Domino Foundation threw an awards ceremony for the crèche owners and teachers complete with holidays hampers and gifts to acknowledge them for what they have done.

The ECD team is excited to unroll what they have set up this year; a season they feel is full of promises and miracles. 2015 has been a year of strengthening and laying the foundations to make an even bigger impact on vulnerable children in the Amaoti community in 2016. As God opens doors into government the team prays for the completion of all the crèche registrations, an accomplishment that brings life and security to the creches and a stepping-stone to a brighter future for our children.

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ECD Effects May

With a vision to improve the quality of learning and preparation for school readiness our Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres benefit vulnerable children.

An exciting development has been the addition of a research and evaluation component to the feeding of our crèches. All of the children from our crèches receive highly nutritious JAM SA porridge and recently underwent a nutritional assessment by the NPO to assess whether they’re underweight or overweight. The assessment measured the weight, height and upper arm width and will help create a baseline assessment to compare from in six months time to see if there has been any improvement.

The 50 gram portion of JAM porridge provides children with 75% of their daily micro-nutrient requirements. The porridge, known as CSS+ (Corn Soya Sugar Blend) consists of 65% corn, 25% soya, 10% sugar and fortified with micro- and macro-nutrients.

Our ECD programme also partners with The Unlimited Child, an NPO that provides educational toys, training and on-going support to caregivers. Our crèche owners have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from their training with The Unlimited Child and NELRU and the changes have been seen in the classrooms. Children are no longer just sitting on the floor but engaging with their learning environment- painting, playing with play dough and playing with theme tables.

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ECD Effects Jan/Feb 2015

F Ecd post (1)After a busy and successful 2014 the Early Childhood Development Project started the new year off by all 36 creche owners joining together to plan and prepare for 2015.

ECD will be working quite closely with another Durban based NPO in 2015, The Unlimited Child, to try plan and roll out a common set of themes for all the creche owners to follow in their classrooms. At the moment each creche is doing their own theme, but by streamlining themes exciting and necessary resources can be gathered, pooled and prepared.

The field workers are currently completing their NELRU NQF level 4 training, a year long courses upskilling them and enabling them to impart more knowledge to the creche owners they regularly visit who in turn impacts hundreds of little children.

A big ECD dream for 2015 is match last year’s achievement of registering three creches with the government. The process is rather lengthy and complicated but once registered creches can receive grant money for each child, a huge benefit for both creche owner and child! The creches also become a small business, one of the main pillars the ECD programme is trying to achieve.

F Ecd post (2)

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The Domino Christmas Story

This Christmas we wanted to spread the festive joy by placing a toy in the hand of as many underprivileged children as possible Photo 2014-12-10, 10 17 22 AM (2)in the Amaoti community. On the 28th of November we organised an event to gather presents together so that we could make this Christmas a special one for the hundreds of kids who are in a creche on our ECD programme.

The day was an incredible, all-round success with businesses such as Megapile, Donald Insurance Brokers, Nexia International, Platinum Consulting and Vopac coming in to wrap hundreds of presents.

JAM also made a donation that allowed every child to receive a pair of shoes and a facecloth with their toy. An abundance of toys also allowed us to distribute excess to other charities.

1442 presents were individually wrapped and sent out to 1442 smiling faces in Amaoti. Thank you to every person who either donated or wrapped these gifts , your contribution has truly made a difference in the lives of so many.

The Wrapping & Packing:



Photo 2014-12-10, 10 17 22 AM (1)Photo 2014-12-10, 10 17 22 AM

The Distribution:








DSCN1777 DSCN1886 DSCN1895

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ECD Effect 11/14

This past Saturday we hosted a Creche Owner Christmas Party in Amaoti. This was a time to gather all 32 creche owners and staff and thank them for a year of hard work. They have invested their time and talents into educating the little stars of our future and we would like to thank them for partnering with The Domino Foundation in impacting the lives of over 1000 children each day!

There was an abundance of joy and dance at the party and an incredible time was had by all! We’re excited for the new year ahead and to achieve new goals and impact the community.


Read more from our November Domino Effects Newsletter:

Babies Home Effect

Life Skills Effect

Literacy Effect

Feeding Effect

General Overview

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