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How Emily Ngobeni improved her school with Grow ECD

By Grow ECD

Emily Ngobeni is the proud owner of Firm Foundation Education Centre in Benoni, Gauteng. She has a heart for children and a passion for seeing her kids succeed. “I used to be a teacher and so I know that a big part of teaching is to assess the learners’ developmental progress to make sure they are learning and are where they should be. I started to see that when children went to Grade 1 they were not school ready. They couldn’t cope with big school. So, I decided to open my own school,” she says.


“I wanted to help our kids learn through play and be able to learn in a safe environment. I wanted to use the 3Rs teaching technique, and I know they must learn their shapes, sorting, patterns, life skills, learn about themselves, and how to draw, colour, and cut,” she says.


Although Emily was determined, it was not easy. “In the beginning, I was struggling with themes and lesson plans. I was confused about which themes we were supposed to use for the week, which activities to do with the children and even which activities were age-appropriate,” she says. “The worst challenge was with assessment time. Assessments are so important if I want to be sure that my learners are all reaching their developmental milestones and getting ready for big school, which is why I opened my school! I was really struggling.”


Emily came across the Grow ECD programme and her life changed. “I did the free online Learner Assessment training with the Grow Learner Assessment Tool on the Giraffe ECD App. It helped me so much, we are all clued up now and I can assess my learners properly.”


Emily started using the Grow Giraffe app to help her manage her centre. “What attracted me to Grow ECD is how beautiful the programme centres were, the materials they were using, and that it was paperless. You could monitor the functioning of your centre in the palm of your hand, with the app on your cellphone,” she says. Emily uses it to monitor her teachers’ and children’s attendance and manage her business’ finances, “Now, I’m 100% sure that teaching and learning are taking place at my school.”


“I saw how Grow helped other centres to improve their standards and I wanted to have that for my school too, so I decided to invest in the Grow ECD Small Business Programme and I am so happy that I did,” she says. “Joining Grow will change your centre for the better; there are workshops available that will help you develop as an owner, as well as for the teachers. If your centre is not yet registered with other Departments, they will guide you with the steps to be compliant so you can qualify for the government grant.


“Grow helped me with a low-interest loan to buy new learning and teaching material. They also delivered all the material and on top of that, they gave my centre a small grant so that I don’t pay the full amount of the loan – it is a big help,” she says.


“I regard my centre as the best centre because of the improvement I’m witnessing daily through teaching and learning – even our kitchen nutrition has changed. My teachers are very eager to do the work; there’s a competition among them. They all want to see their kids succeed,” she says.


By investing in her school with a sustainable, low-interest loan from Grow, Firm Foundation Education Centre now has beautiful, relevant teaching materials, kitted out classrooms, fantasy toys, and lots more. “My teachers are happy; they love how easy it is to access the learning materials. The children have improved tremendously; they are more informed, and they love the materials that they are using every day,” she says.


To learn more about GROW ECD visit or email


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