Evaluation of the psychomotor education programme of a community based early childhood programme at the Dalton Trust Education Centre (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) in support of school preparation.
The early years of a child's growth and development are crucial for health, wellbeing and success in later life. Adequate stimulation during the pre-school years is a critical factor that can be associated with higher levels of achievement and better adjustment in school (Arnold, Barlett., Gowani, & Merali, 2006). Some children, for example those growing in contexts of adversity, are in particular need of pre-school assistance. This research evaluates a one-year implementation of the Psychomotor Education Programme (PMEP) at the Dalton Trust Education Centre, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. PMEP is an educational programme that stimulates the child‟s psychomotor functions and supports the development of the whole child through play in the pre-school years. An evaluation of the programme was required to establish if the PMEP had achieved the envisaged objectives of improving preparedness of children for their entrance into the formal school system. This summative evaluation used focus group discussions to collect data on whether the outcomes had been achieved from the perspective of the trained and experienced family facilitators who had participated in the PMEP. The participants were asked about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the PMEP. The areas identified as being attributable to the PMEP include social-emotional competence, self-awareness, emotional regulation and autonomy. The participants reported that PMEP had enabled the children to achieve the learning outcomes described by the Revised National Curriculum Statement (South African Department of Education, 2005). However, further research is needed to overcome the difficulty of maintaining the achieved outcomes in a new environment, such as the formal school context, where methods of teaching and resources may differ substantially from those provided by the PMEP.