Our woman of the month
Pauline Turusida is a Training Facilitator & Assessor at Cotlands. Pauline is however more than just an employee to Cotlands – she’s an inspiration. During Women’s Month, it only seems apt to highlight the work of this incredible trailblazer, who’s not only done an extensive study on Early Childhood Development in marginalised communities, but continues to dedicate herself to Cotlands early learning programmes to drive positive change every single day. Pauline shares her story with us:
The first time I heard of toy libraries was in 2017 when I joined Cotlands as a facilitator. With a lifelong passion for inclusive education, I have developed an interest in how young children are included in ECD programmes. I would not have carried out this study had it not been for the exceptional work that Cotlands is doing, empowering ECD workers and reaching marginalised children. Through the training sessions that I facilitated I met with different ECD workers, including toy librarians, and they often raised the question “so how do we include young children with diverse needs in our early learning programme?” Such questions prompted me to think this through. The work that toy librarians do includes conducting play sessions with children who do not have access to ECD programmes, training parents on how to use toys and conducting play sessions with young children in ECD centres and outreach programmes. It made me realise that toy librarians are in a position to promote inclusive education and that toy libraries can be used as a model for inclusive education, hence the research topic, “The role of toy librarians in promoting inclusive education in Gauteng Province“.
Dr Monica Stach was my inspiration for carrying out this study. Her passion for toy libraries was motivating and it put the fire back in me to climb the ladder in my profession. The glow on her face and the tone of her voice when she spoke about toy libraries stole my heart. She has made such a big impression on my life. I am also deeply indebted to Bonnie Haack and Elanie Olivier for their unwavering support that made this study possible, giving me time off to collect data, and not forgetting all the wonderful Cotlands staff for the support they gave me when I was carrying out the study – no one succeeds on their own. The accomplishment of this degree is not for my benefit but the community at large and what I have learnt through this academic journey is not only the skills needed to advance in my profession but to become significant. This is what happens when you help others around you to be successful and reach their potential – being significant also entails making a positive impact on your community. Onwards and upwards!