Diploma in Grade R Teaching

The Importance of Grade R

Grade R (also known as the Reception Year or the School Readiness Year) is the year before a child starts with Grade 1. Grade R is regarded as the most important year in a child’s pre-school life, as it is the year in which the child prepares for formal schooling. Grade R may be considered as both the final year of pre-school and the first year of the Foundation Phase, which is Grade R to Grade 3. Despite the importance of Grade R, South Africa has a severe shortage of qualified Grade R teachers.

Purpose of the Qualification

The Diploma in Grade R Teaching is the minimum qualification for practising Grade R teachers. The purpose of the Diploma in Grade R Teaching is to develop teachers who have focused knowledge and skills appropriate for Grade R teaching. Grade R is the first year of the Foundation Phase in the formal schooling system. In this grade, young children are prepared for formal schooling. The Grade R teacher’s role is to scaffold and mediate children’s learning in preparation for formal schooling in Grade 1 and to provide them a solid foundation for lifelong learning. The focus of Grade R is on informal and spontaneous learning through play and teacher-initiated activities. The programme is underpinned by important principles of child development, namely that young children learn best by being actively involved in their learning using concrete materials.

The Diploma in Grade R Teaching was designed cognately with the Bachelor of Education in Foundation Phase Teaching, so as to provide for maximum credit transfer when Grade R teachers continue their studies to become fully qualified Foundation Phase teachers.



Duration: 5 years (part-time) or 3 years (full-time option also available)


Matric obtained from 2008

  • National Senior Certificate or NQF Level 4 National Certificate (Vocational) with an endorsement for
    entry into Diploma studies.

Matric obtained prior to 2008

  • Senior Certificate with a minimum of 50% in English.

Other access pathway

  • A Level 4 or Level 5 Certificate or Diploma in Early Childhood Development may also be presented
    for admission and assessment pertaining to advanced credit standing.
  • Teachers in possession of a recognised certificate or diploma in education or another relevant field,
    may also present their qualifications for admission with a possibility of transfer of credits, for cognate
    previous studies.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning may lead to entry or an advanced credit standing at the discretion of
  • If you are over the age of 23 and do not meet the specified requirements, please contact Embury to
    discuss possible admission due to mature age.


Please refer to fact sheet for a detailed list of the modules per intake.

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