Provisional Cost Estimate: R7,417,000

Project Leader: Dr Ian Corbett
Contact: 083 701 9977
Email: [email protected]

Click here to see the full Campus Project proposal

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Information on the Campus Project

Why a campus?

Research by Nobel prize winning economist James Heckman into the benefit of investing in high-quality early childhood development programmes in poor American communities shows that taking an integrated approach significantly increases impact. This important insight underpins the Starting Chance 2020 Vision.

Irrespective of ability, our programme aims to benefit all young children attending centres in our programme at four points on their developmental journey from birth to age 6. Heckman’s research shows that improvement in a child’s primary health has immediate benefit on performance as well as a range of far reaching benefits in later life. For children with physical and/or mental special needs, early diagnosis plus access to support in the form of primary health and different forms of therapy is especially vital to give them the best chance of reaching their potential – this is extremely difficult in under-resourced poor communities like Mfuleni. Consequently many children with special needs go unnoticed in their early years setting them back forever.

The campus concept evolved through several site visits to learn from existing special care centres around Cape Town and by accessing the knowledge and experience of local experts. The result is a design that follows the global best practice trend of creating inclusive environments enabling the safe interaction of children of different abilities during certain activities. In consultation with Principal Thandeka, we also became aware that children leaving her centre for mainstream schools face the challenge of making a transition they are simply not ready to cope with. The campus therefore offers a pathway enabling those children with potential to move into mainstream learning environments to do so with adequate support.

The inclusion of multi-purpose training facilities serves two purposes

  • Firstly, the facilities will enable Starting Chance to not only accelerate but also strengthen principal and teacher training, and;
  • Secondly they will provide space in which Lonwabo children readying themselves for life after Lonwabo can receive skills training giving them the potential to be employed.

By incorporating space for healthcare which can be accessed without compromising the security and safety of children attending the campus, medical practitioners will be able to provide direct support to Lonwabo learners and offer services to children from the greater Mfuleni community. It is our hope that this will assist in enabling families to access the help and assistance they need, rather than face the difficult decision of sending their child to live with their Gogo (granny) because it is too difficult to cope with them at home.


The Campus Layout

This picture shows the spatial arrangement of the four principal elements.

Off street parking allows easy access in to Lonwabo. All pathways are covered to keep rain and sun at bay.

The health care facility and training hub can be accessed by the public. Behind these, staff and children will be able to interact at specially designed meeting places promoting inclusivity.

Lonwabo Special Care Day Centre

The Lonwabo centre will be administered by Thandeka, who will be assisted by an advisory team during the transition to the new centre.

With space to comfortably accommodate 60 learners, the centre has been designed to meet registration and licensing criteria. This is important to enable access to subsidies that will aid financial sustainability.

Each classroom has direct access to ablutions and storage. The centre has its own kitchen, laundry and shower.

The outdoor play area will be equipped with specialised equipment suitable for children with varying needs.

Early Childhood Centre

The early childhood centre for 200 children has been designed to meet all of the registration criteria.

Like Lonwabo, the centre has its own administration block which includes a kitchen.

The large outdoor play area will include specialised equipment enabling some interactive supervised play by children with varying abilities. The large size of the area offers opportunities for mini-sport which is under-resourced in Mfuleni.

The design allows for the training facilities to be incorporated into the early childhood centre at a later stage. The main training hub will provide a large hall.

Starting Chance Training Hub

The Starting Chance education team will operate the Training Hub.

The training hub can accommodate 90 adult learners who can access it without compromising the safety and security of learners. The hub includes an Observation Classroom which enables visiting principals and teachers to observe best practice classroom management and teaching in action. This supplements in-service skills transfer by our fieldworkers.

If you would like to be a part of the campaign to make this campus a reality, click here to explore donation options or click here to find out how you can join our start_a_chance challenge.

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