School of Education

UKZN academic part of Handbook on Early Childhood Education in South Africa

Dr Makie Kortjass and the new book.
Dr Makie Kortjass and the new book.

Dr Makie Kortjass, a senior lecturer in the School of Education, was part of a recent launch of the book, Curriculum Pedagogy and Assessment: A Handbook on Early Childhood Education in South Africa with Professor Hasina Ebrahim, and Drs Colwyn Deborah Martin, and Mary Clasquin-Johnson.

The book is a robust presentation of the tenets of Africanisation of education in South Africa. It introduces the concept of the “thinking teacher” that enables teacher agency for a transformative future that reflects the democratic South Africa. It aims to foster knowledge and understanding of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment relevant to local and international readers interested in Early Childhood Education.

As a teacher educator, Kortjass wanted to contribute to high quality early childhood education.

‘A focus on early childhood development has incremental long-term benefits. The core focus is the interactional nature of the playing technique within the early childhood teaching and learning landscape. The other factor is the universality of ethnomathematics that affirms the space occupied by mathematics in day-to-day functioning. In one of the chapters, that I authored, the book offers a different perspective on how we begin to change the narrative of the challenge we have with mathematics,’ explained Kortjass.

She added that the book is relevant to teacher educators, teachers and student teachers in the Early Childhood Education sector due to its alignment with the South African National Curriculum Framework and related policies and guidelines. ‘It also aims to develop and inculcate the reflexive abilities that maintain and sustain developmental skills. This contributes to teachers and students becoming more competent, and increases their capabilities.’

Kortjass noted that, ‘the book begins to define early childhood education as a professional field in South Africa by creating a knowledge base that will come to define the content and contours of this exciting area of study. It was valuable to collaborate with other teacher educators in the field on how we could connect theory to policy to practice.’

The book is available as a hardcopy and e-book via

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