Across South Africa, clubs are being set up to support the women and men running the SmartStart playgroups. These clubs encourage, motivate and inspire. By connecting clubs from Doornkop to Ngobi Village, from Khayelitsha to Queenstown, we are building a national network that enables SmartStarters to really feel like they are contributing to a better South Africa – not just the community where they live and work.
It can be lonely as a SmartStarter when you are trying to come up with new ideas and solve problems all on your own! Our SmartStart Clubs connect SmartStarters to one another, and help to build greater peer support and encouragement.
A SmartStart Club is a group of 16 SmartStarters who live close to one another. All Clubs meet monthly and are organised and facilitated by their Club Leader.
During these meetings, SmartStarters talk about the journey that they are on to change the lives of the children in their programmes. Here they can share challenges, celebrate stories of triumph and success, and develop new and creative solutions. It is also a platform for receiving new content and materials.
The sense of belonging and shared purpose experienced in the Clubs provides encouragement and develops the enthusiasm needed to persevere - even when things get tough!
Do you love working with children?
Are you over 18 years old?
Do you have a Grade 10 or 3 years’ experience working with children?
Are you able to work hard and keep trying – even though things may get tough at times?
Would you like to be responsible for running your own small business, according to the principles, and with the support of SmartStart?
If so, you may be a perfect SmartStarter, providing early learning to 3 – 4 year olds in your community!
How do you become a SmartStarter?
1. Join our RECRUITMENT phase:
How do you join/ sign up to become a SmartStarter?
Contact the SmartStart Franchisor in your area, and let them know you are interested. (If you don’t know who your local SmartStart Franchisor is, contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Complete an application form and if you fit the criteria you will be invited to a matching day where you will complete a basic assessment. If successful, you will be invited to attend SmartStart training.
2. Participate in the SmartStart TRAINING:
Attend the 5 days of classes and an assessment.
If successful, receive your Starter Licence!
3. Recruit children and set up your venue:
If successful, you’ll get a SmartSpace Licence.
4. Run the SmartStart Programme according to our standards:
If you’re doing this well – you’ll be given your Practice License.
5. Maintain standards and involvement in clubs:
If you do this throughout the year, you’ll be re-accredited each year and receive an updated SmartStart practice licence.
The SmartStart daily routine is a structured programme of activities that a licensed SmartStarter must adhere to every day when running their programmes. This daily routine has been designed so that children can get age-appropriate stimulation for their growth and development. By following this routine consistently and regularly, it makes children feel safe and secure in their early learning environment, preparing them for later success in school and in life.
The daily routine is informed by the 5 Pillars which we believe are critical to effective development of our young learners:
Building strong, caring, engaged families is the best way to build strong, caring, engaged children!
Parent or caregiver involvement is another important component of the SmartStart Programme. We see parents and caregivers as the FIRST teachers of their children! We know that children who learn and discover at home have better outcomes in life – and this is particularly true of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
SmartStarters are supported to run monthly meetings with parents and caregivers. During these one hour meetings new content and practical ideas are shared. Parents are also encouraged to ask questions and share any concerns or stories they might have. In this way, they are celebrated as crucial partners in the development of young children.