HR Indaba Africa 2019: Earlybird Educare brings research-based early childhood education services to your doorstep

They can set up centres on business premises to provide employees with convenient access to socially-inclusive educare.

With over 3,000 attendees, close to 50 exhibitors and numerous knowledge sharing sessions, the inaugural HR Indaba was arguably a resounding success. In this article Megan Blair, CEO and Founder of Earlybird Educare talks about why they have chosen to be a part of this year’s conference.

What does Earlybird do, how long has it been around and what was the reason for starting the company?

Earlybird operates high-quality educare centres on-site at large organisations (such as companies, housing estates, campuses, office parks, and precincts) across South Africa and provides a subsidised version of the same high-quality education model to our ‘Blue Door’ franchisees operating educare centres in social housing developments and low-income communities.  Based at the Solution Space Philippi, Blue Door is an evidence-based preschool network that I founded in partnership with Luke Crowley and was created to provide children throughout South Africa with affordable access to the high-quality early education they need. In this way, Earlybird functions as a social enterprise which uses a cross-subsidisation model to drive measurable and sustainable social returns across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Commencing in 2016, Earlybird’s evidence-based early education model was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of early childhood development experts with the purpose of equipping children aged three months to five years with the twenty-first-century skills they need to successfully enter and navigate school and life. Each child is met where they are at and their ongoing development and learning progress is facilitated through a holistic set of support functions. 

Every aspect of our model has been designed to ensure our high-quality offering can be delivered with fidelity at scale across a variety of contexts and we use multiple delivery channels in order to be able to provide children from across the socioeconomic spectrum with access to our high-quality educare. 

How do you differentiate yourselves from other competitors in your space?

Our model has been built for quality at scale. Our carefully developed and tested preschool package draws on rigorous evidence about the drivers of quality in ECCE programmes. We have created innovative ways to implement these key drivers affordably across a nationwide network of preschools: from our approach to teacher recruitment and screening to our roaming in-service mentors to our app-based daily teacher planner and activity guide, as well as our school management system. Thanks to the cohesive model we have built, all Earlybird and Blue Door centres are equipped to provide the enriching learning and development experiences children need to succeed in school and flourish in life.

Why have you signed up for the HR Indaba and what should attendees look forward to seeing from you at the event?

One of our delivery channels includes establishing At-Work Early-Learning centres within corporates. We partner with large companies to improve their attraction and retention of employees and tenants by providing world-class, workplace-based ECCE services for their children. These sites can be limited to employees from a single company or they can be open to employees from multiple companies. 

We think the HR Indaba is the perfect platform to engage business partners and display the value an onsite Early Learning Centre can bring to their Attraction and Retention strategies. 

Earlybird Educare is opening its first work-place centres over the next few months and we invite everyone to visit our website to schedule a visit to one of our centres. 

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the HR profession?

Competition for talent is certainly one of the biggest challenges HR professionals face. As millennials and younger generations who demand more supportive work environments shift workplace demographics, we think it’s important to not only accommodate their preferences but to promote and maintain a company culture that allows them to flourish. This will require some change in practices, but we think this change will benefit everyone.