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Diploma in Grade R Teaching 
91726  Diploma in Grade R Teaching 
North West University 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Diploma (Min 360)  Field 05 - Education, Training and Development  Early Childhood Development 
Undefined  240  Not Applicable  NQF Level 06  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 1141/23  2021-07-01  2024-06-30 
2025-06-30   2030-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of the Diploma: Grade R Teaching is to develop teachers who can demonstrate general educational principles as well as focused knowledge and skills for Grade R teaching. The qualification requires in-depth specialised knowledge, together with practical skills and experience in a Grade R classroom teaching context. As part of the qualification, students will be expected to gain experience in applying such knowledge and skills in the context of working with Grade R learners in a school. This will be realised by the proposed curriculum on the basis of the coherent and ongoing connection between the core theory of pedagogy, the theory of teaching and learning and the subject content of Reception Year teaching.

Research has proven that, where young learners have a solid grounding in life skills, they are better prepared for all challenges of life and future success. The Life Skills component of this qualification thus carries the most credits in order to equip Grade R teachers with the critical knowledge of all facets of Life Skills education.

Reception Year teachers also need foundational modules to prepare them to teach in a classroom and this learning opportunity will be provided by the educational theory and pedagogical modules. These modules will be further supported by Education Management and Education Law modules. In many classrooms today teachers experience learners that struggle academically due to various reasons which gave impetus to the inclusion of Learner Support modules which will expose the student to critical knowledge on how to identify learners with special educational needs and most appropriate measures to support them.

The qualification aims to develop all the basic competences of a beginner teacher as prescribed in the National Qualifications Framework Policy on the Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications. On NQF Level 5 the qualification envisages to develop fundamental competences such as academic literacy, computer and technology literacy and research skills. On NQF Levels 5, 6 and 7 the qualification includes modules that focus on foundations for Education. This qualification component will develop the necessary competences for students to understand how learners learn, how to teach and how to assess what they learn. The qualification further includes modules on NQF Level 6 that aim to develop the students' discipline and pedagogical knowledge. These modules link clearly with the competences of how to unpack the curriculum, apply sound subject knowledge and how to teach subject content successfully to Grade R learners. The Work Integrated Learning (WIL) modules also range from NQF Levels 5 to 7 to ensure the development of competences for effective teaching in diverse classrooms in South Africa.

The Department of Education has realised the lack of training in the field of Grade R teaching as well as a shortage of Grade R teachers. By offering this qualification, the institution wants to satisfy a national need of the country and deepen the knowledge base of people in the field of early childhood development. At the same time the qualification's mode of delivery is contact and Open Distance Learning (ODL) and by using innovative technologies (for example; interactive white boards, Moodle) the qualification is also addressing the institution's vision of innovative teaching, which provides an opportunity for professional development to a wider spectrum of the community.

Establishing and developing a Diploma: Grade R Teaching will also provide a vast number of under and unqualified Grade R practitioners with the opportunity to gain access to a higher education qualification. This qualification will be recognised by the Department of Basic Education and utilised to enable the practitioners to qualify for the relevant REQV Level 13 for remuneration purposes. Therefore, this qualification will not only provide prospective students with an opportunity to develop their academic careers, but may also enhance their personal and social well-being. This specialised qualification will provide the successful student with an opportunity to articulate into a Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase). 

It is assumed that learners are competent in the language of instruction at NQF Level 4.

Recognition of Prior Learning:
The institution accepts the principle underlying outcomes based, source based and lifelong learning, in which consideration of articulation and mobility play a meaningful role. The institution endorses the view that Recognition of Prior Learning, gained either through formal programmes, or informally (through experience), is an essential element when deciding on admission to and granting of credits for a particular chosen teaching learning programme of the institution.

Recognition of Prior Learning deals with proven knowledge and learning an applicant has gained, either by undergoing formal training programmes or through experience. At all times the question will be the level of skill, reviewed in the context of the exit level skill required for the envisaged teaching learning programme, or modules within it, or status for which the applicant applies, and not only the record of experience of an applicant. Recognition of Prior Learning is thus done on the grounds of applied competencies that the applicant has demonstrated, considering the Exit Level Outcomes to be reached, i.e., the Diploma: Grade R Teaching.

Access to the Qualification:
  • National Senior Certificate (NSC) which grants access to Diploma studies.
  • National Certificate Vocational (NCV) at NQF Level 4 which grants access to Diploma studies.
  • A foreign qualification that is equivalent to the NSC as determined by SAQA.
  • A relevant Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) at NQF Level 4. 


    NQF Level 5 Modules:
  • Fundamental Academic Literacy and Support, 8 Credits.
  • Life Skills: Personal Well-being, 8 Credits.
  • Fundamentals of Mathematics Teaching and Learning in Grade R, 16 Credits.
  • Technology and Computer Literacy for Educators, 8 Credits.
  • Foundations for Handwriting, 8 Credits.
  • Work-Integrated Learning in Grade R Teaching 1, 8 Credits.
  • Introduction to Research Skills, 8 Credits.
  • Life Skills: Social Well-Being, 8 Credits.
  • Planning for Emergent Mathematics in Grade R, 16 Credits.
  • Listening and Speaking - Language of Teaching and Learning (LOLT), 8 Credits.
  • Grade R Teaching and Learning (Year module), 16 Credits.
  • Work-Integrated Learning in Grade R Teaching 2, 8 Credits.

    NQF Level 6 Modules:
  • Special Needs Education and Learning Barriers, 16 Credits.
  • Special Needs Education: Social and Health Barriers, 16 Credits.
  • Child Development and Perceptual Skills, 16 Credits.
  • Pre-School Education: Grade R Teaching, 16 Credits.
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Mathematics in Grade R, 16 Credits.
  • Life Skills: Creative Arts, 16 Credits.
  • Life Skills: Beginning Knowledge, 16 Credits.
  • Emergent Reading and Phonics in the Language of Teaching and Learning (LOLT), 8 Credits.
  • Education Management and Systems, 8 Credits.
  • Work-Integrated Learning in Grade R Teaching 3, 8 Credits.
  • Special Needs Education: Emotional and Social Difficulties, 16 Credits.
  • Life Skills: Music, 8 Credits.
  • Emergent Writing, 16 Credits.
  • Education Law, 8 Credits.
  • Work-Integrated Learning in Grade R Teaching 4, 8 Credits.

    NQF Level 7 Modules:
  • Special Needs Education: Policy Perspective on Inclusive Education, 16 Credits.
  • Life Skills: Physical Education, 16 Credits.
  • Pre-School Education: Organisation and Administration, 16 Credits.
  • Work-Integrated Learning in Grade R Teaching 5, 8 Credits.
  • Work-Integrated Learning in Grade R Teaching 6, 8 Credits. 

    1. Demonstrate competence in reading, writing and speaking the language/s of instruction in ways that facilitate own academic learning.
    2. Demonstrate competence in interpreting and using numerical and elementary statistical knowledge to facilitate own academic learning.
    3. Demonstrate competence in communicating effectively, in general and in relation to the chosen Grade R specialisation in order to mediate learning.
    4. Interpret the school curriculum and unpack its specialised contents for Grade R and use available resources to promote learning.
    5. Plan, design, and reflect on learning programmes appropriate for Grade R learners and diverse learning needs.
    6. Accommodate diversity in the classroom and identify and accommodate specific learning and social problems of learners.
    7. Monitor and assess learner progress and use the results of assessment to improve teaching and learning.
    8. Operate responsibly within the education system, an institution, and the community in which the institution is located.
    9. Demonstrate a positive work ethic and values and conduct self in a manner which befits, enhances and develops the teaching profession. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 1:
  • Read academic and professional texts critically, integrate and use the knowledge in own studies.
  • Read and interpret with understanding written and graphic materials.
  • Foster interactive communication with learners through the use of non-judgmental language, supportive replies and constructive feedback.
  • Use the main language of instruction, English, to explain, describe, discuss and relate key concepts.
  • Use an additional language to explain, describe and discuss key concepts in a conversational style.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 2:
  • Apply own understanding of numerical and statistical information to own learning and everyday life.
  • Apply own understanding of numeracy and elementary statistics to manage classroom resources and monitor learner attendance.
  • Apply own understanding of numeracy and elementary statistics to record, interpret and report on the academic progress and achievement of learners.
  • Use elementary procedures for financial management, including budgeting, in everyday life.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 3:
  • Use information and communications technology to further own learning and facilitate the learning of others.
  • Convey content in written, graphic and other forms which are appropriate to the developmental level/s and language ability of the learners in their care.
  • Demonstrate competence with regard to a sound knowledge base underpinning Grade R teaching.
  • Compare the reception year and pre-reception year programmes as well as those of the Foundation Phase of schooling.
  • Translate child development theory into classroom practice.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 4:
  • Apply acquired content and pedagogical knowledge and skills in different contexts.
  • Use the characteristic language, terminology and concepts of the chosen field of specialisation appropriately and with confidence.
  • Discuss the content of curricular knowledge in Grade R and apply appropriate conceptual frameworks to problem solving in the relevant fields of knowledge.
  • Interpret curricular knowledge in practice in own area of specialisation, in terms of a broader understanding of the relevant fields of knowledge.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 5:
  • Design coherent learning programmes appropriate to the learners' needs and contexts.
    > Range: Lesson programmes must take cognisance of: specialisation, national, regional and school curriculum policies and learner differences.
  • Plan lessons and other learning experiences by selecting appropriate teaching and learning strategies most suitable to Grade R leaner needs, abilities and interests.
  • Evaluate and select the learning resource material for use in the Grade R classroom and accommodate diversity in the planning, adjustment and use of teaching and learning strategies.
  • Justify selection and design of learning activities in ways which show knowledge and understanding of a range of theories about teaching, learning, child development and curriculum.
  • Evaluate and improve learning programmes, learning activities and materials for learning facilitation by self on the basis of experience.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 6:
  • Create and maintain learning environments which are safe and conducive to learning.
  • Discipline learners in ways that are firm, growth promoting and fair.
  • Create learning environments that are sensitive to cultural, linguistic, gender and other differences.
  • Resolve conflict situations within the classroom in an ethical and sensitive way.
  • Manage classroom behaviour effectively across diverse contexts in order to ensure a conducive Grade R learning environment.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 7:
  • Select, adapt and/or design assessment tasks and strategies appropriate to the specialisation and a range of learning contexts.
  • Explain the link between the method of assessment, the overall assessment purpose and the outcomes being assessed.
  • Design and administer assessment tasks using clear language and instructions.
  • Use a range of assessment strategies to accommodate differences in learning style and context.
  • Evaluate own and others' assessment strategies in terms of their validity, fairness, reliability and sensitivity to gender, language and barriers to learning and development.
  • Assess and record systematically the progress of individual learners.
  • Use assessment results to provide constructive feedback on learner progress and achievement.
  • Interpret and use assessment results to inform future teaching, learning and assessment strategies.
  • Justify choice and design of assessment strategies, methods and procedures.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 8:
  • Initiate and maintain effective, professional communication with parents, guardians and other members of the community and involve them in school affairs.
  • Engage with a wide variety of stakeholders regarding issues that are specifically relevant to teaching and learning practices using internal and external networking opportunities effectively.
  • Select, use and adjust teaching and learning strategies in ways which meet the needs of the Grade R learners and their contexts.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcomes 9:
  • Practice and promote a sense of respect and responsibility towards others by cultivating a critical, committed and ethical attitude.
  • Behave in ways that enhance the status of professional educators and ensure an accountable culture of teaching and learning.
  • Promote the values and principles of the Constitution.
  • Engage critically with education policies, procedures and systems which impact on institutions and classrooms, as well as on the national education and training landscape.
  • Apply school policies and developmental plans to own teaching.

    Integrated Assessment:
    The assessment and moderation procedures for the Faculty of Education Sciences are based on the Assessment and Moderation policy of the institution. This policy is, in turn, based on the following premise: In agreement with the National Education Policy for Assessment and Moderation, procedures are applicable to all of the institution's teaching and learning programmes and, where necessary, specific procedures are set out according to the different modes of delivery. The procedures should be read in conjunction with the Teaching and Learning Policy, Teaching and Learning Guidelines and Procedures, as well as the Assessment and Moderation Policy. The procedures are based on the most important principles contained in the above-mentioned policies.

    Assessment instruments, for example, memorandums, rubrics and control lists, must be compiled for each formal formative and each summative assessment activity performed by the student. Students must also know what they obtained marks for - be it by means of class discussion or by means of making at least a basic memorandum available. In the case of summative assessment, the assessment instruments must be submitted with the examination paper for moderation. Co-assessors and/or markers utilise the assessment instruments for formal formative and summative assessment activities, as well as for moderation activities described in the Policy.

    Open Distance Learning students have at least one comprehensive assignment per module that covers a variety of outcomes. No single assessment may count for more than 40% of the participation mark and students who do not make use of an assessment opportunity cannot claim a further opportunity or extension. This implies that in such cases extension/exemption may only be granted by the lecturer in highly exceptional instances and strictly on the merits of the circumstances (for example, illness).

    Summative assessments in all modules are regulated by the General Academic Rules. Summative assessment, in the form of a final examination, is used for calculating the module mark. The institution can decide on the weight of summative assessment in relation to formative assessment. The final module mark is made up in accordance with the Rules from the mark attained by the student in the examination and the participation mark in respect of the module.

    In instances in which summative assessment is based on a practical assignment(s), report or portfolio, a final examination is not required and the allocated and moderated mark is the student's final (total) mark for the module.

    Assessment of work-based learning takes place through cooperation between the University, the employer, the mentor and the student. The school director concerned (programme owner) remains responsible for the quality control. The student must spend a minimum of 18 weeks in a school. The institution undertakes to ensure that suitably qualified and experienced mentors are appointed that will enable students to recognise the strengths and weaknesses in their work, develop existing and new abilities and to gain knowledge of work practices. The monitoring of progress and the attainment of the relevant learning outcomes by individual students will be achieved through the appointment of practitioners to undertake visits to the schools to evaluate the students. 

    The Grade R Diploma compares favourably with similar international qualifications. Internationally, there are no programmes focusing exclusively on the Reception Year. Instead, teacher education programmes focus on preparing teachers to work with larger age cohorts and therefore working with 5-6 year-old learners is incorporated into either (i) Early Childhood Education Programmes (for children from birth to 4 or 5 years) or (ii) Elementary or Foundation Phase Programmes (for children aged 5 or 6 years to 8 or 9 years). There appears to be an overlap in programmes for teacher preparation programmes for the 5-6 year old age group.

    We examined the design of Early Childhood Development and Foundation Phase teacher qualifications offered by several institutions based in the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. This enhanced our understanding of the components of equivalent specialisation programmes. The main difference relates to a broader focus on birth to 8 or 9 years, instead of a narrow focus on a specific age group.

    Grade R programmes in these countries have been entrenched as part of the formal schooling system, for example in the USA kindergarten (Grade R) programmes have been part of the schooling system for more than sixty years. In addition, kindergarten teachers are required to have the same minimum qualifications as their counterparts in primary and secondary schools. In other words, kindergarten teachers must also hold Bachelor Degrees with specialisation in Early Childhood Education. We also looked at early childhood qualifications in Norway, Finland and Switzerland and closely looked at University of Otago and University of Wellington in New Zealand. There are many similarities between the Bachelor of Education at the University of Wellington and this Grade R Diploma. Both are three year qualifications, with a minimum of 360 credits.

    The Diploma: Grade R Teaching compares favourably with international qualifications, as most qualifications address the Reception Grade (R) within the knowledge/training that is offered to teachers in the field of Early Childhood Development. All the qualifications address child development theory, developmentally appropriate practice, a sound understanding of holistic development and the universal milestones of development. That the Diploma: Grade R Teaching puts specific emphasis on the role of the Grade R teacher in facilitating learning through play and focuses only on the Grade R learner and his/her needs does not detract from favourable comparability, since this qualification is geared towards the teaching requirements of the South African system. 

    Horizontal Articulation:
    This Qualification articulates horizontally with the Diploma: Early Childhood Development at NQF Level 06.

    Vertical Articulation:
    This Qualification articulates vertically with the Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase) at NQF Level 07. 

    Examiners and moderators for all summative written formal assessments are appointed in accordance with institutional policy. For each paper of a module presented in a school, the school director must appoint one internal examiner and one internal or external moderator. For all exit-level modules, one or more internal examiner(s) (including those from other campuses), and one external moderator, must be appointed.

    The moderator's report covers the validity of the assessment instruments, the performance of the students, standard of student competencies, reliability of the marking and any discrepancies in terms of University/professional regulations. 

    All assessors must be in possession an appropriate Degree in Education and experience in Teacher Education. 



    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. North West University 

    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or registered on the National Qualifications Framework, are public property. Thus, the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction: it is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.