Journal Articles and CECD Research

Quality early childhood development programmes are a means of eradicating poverty and reducing inequality. In order to be able to offer quality ECD programmes, it is essential that ECD stakeholders, including staff from ECD nonprofit organisations, government, donors as well as civil society involved in ECD are properly informed.

By providing ECD stakeholders with information on the state of ECD in Africa and best practice in early childhood development we can improve the quality and quantity of early childhood development programmes and education for young children in Africa.

To download a copy of some of our published journal articles, please click on the links below.

New Publication

Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa

We have just launched our new publication entitled, ‘Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa’. This timely collection of thought-provoking essays, compiled and edited by a South African early childhood development team, led by our Director, Professor Eric Atmore, explores the concerns, opinions, and calls-for-action of thought leaders in the ECD sector in South Africa.

This book has been produced at a time when South Africa is at a crossroads. With the foundation of early education, care and nutrition at risk, the future of young children in this country is in the balance. Well-planned and decisive action is urgently required by government, the NPO sector, ECD programme providers, training organisations, donors, communities, and families – the future of South Africa’s economy demands it.

You can read the full publication here:

If you would like a hard copy of this publication, at no cost to you, please call Boniswa on 0216832420 and provider her with you name, name of organisation (if applicable) and your address.


To download an electronic copy of the report, click here: Research Report PDF to download.


Effective ECD Programme Options Meeting the Needs of Young South African Children

A new research report, ‘Effective Early Childhood Development Programme Options Meeting the Needs of Young South Africa Children’, written by Lauren van Niekerk, Michaela Ashley-Cooper, and Eric Atmore, from the Centre for Early Childhood Development, was released in March 2017. This research report details twelve best-practice ECD programmes currently being implemented throughout South Africa, including both centre-based and non-centre-based ECD programmes.

This research study was conducted with the aim to describe and analyse ECD programme options, which work towards increasing access to ECD programmes and improving the quality of ECD for young children in South Africa. This research supports ECD service providers and government departments to implement the National Integrated ECD Policy approved by Cabinet on 09 December 2015, providing children with greater access to quality ECD programmes thereby reducing inequality and poverty.

By providing South African policymakers with guidelines based on empirical evidence, the quality of ECD programmes can be enhanced, and those children presently excluded can be reached.

To download an electronic copy of the report, click here: Research Report PDF to download.
To view the report as a e-publication, click here: Research Report e-publication.

Opinion Piece

Early Childhood Development as a Strategy to Eradicate Poverty and Reduce Inequality

Poverty and inequality impact negatively on millions of people in urban and rural communities in South Africa. This has a particularly devastating effect on children and their families in these impoverished communities since it deprives them of their socio-economic rights and results in inadequate access to health care, education, social services and nutrition. As well as turning childhood into a time of adversity, it undermines the healthy development of the child.

Growing up in extreme poverty, wherever you live, has many consequences. The most immediate of these include a propensity for illness, stunted growth, delayed cognitive development, poor nutrition and general lethargy.

Although economic opportunities are a key factor in poverty reduction, with economic growth contributing significantly to the reduction of poverty throughout a country (May et al. 1998), it cannot alone reduce inequality in the short or medium term; several actions are needed in order to reduce inequality.

Firstly, investment in education has long been recognised as a primary route to reducing poverty and inequality. Whilst South Africa has one of the highest rates of public investment in education in the world, public spending in the critical early years is lowest. Nationally, less than 2% of government spending (Departments of Social Development and Education) is spent on children aged five and younger (Children Now, 2011).

In terms of return on investment, studies have shown that focussed investment into Early Childhood Development programmes yields an “extraordinary return, far exceeding the return on most investments…” (Rolnick & Grunewald, 2003). Investment in ECD breeds economic success, not only in terms of those beneficiaries being educated; the ECD work force being trained and supported, and children provided with quality ECD stimulation and programming, but also for the economy as a whole. This economic success is the basis for a reduction in poverty and inequality.

The above information was taken from Early Childhood Development as a Strategy to Eradicate Poverty and Reduce Inequality, an article by Michaela Ashley-Cooper, and Eric Atmore, published in the Thinker Magazine, July 2013 edition. You can access a full copy here.

Impact Assessment

CECD’s Family Outreach Project

In 2011, the CECD began an innovative family outreach project in the community of Gugulethu, in the Western Cape, South Africa. This home-visiting and caregiver education programme targeted the most vulnerable of families, working with caregivers with children 6 years and younger, who could not access an ECD centre.

This project was led by two family outreach workers, working in the caregivers’ homes, sharing knowledge with the caregivers on how children develop and how families could enhance this. Two hundred and forty three caregivers (with 267 children) participated in this programme, and took part in baseline assessments in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Seventy three caregivers (with 131 children) were part of the 2014 follow-up survey.

The summary report reflects the significant impact of this programme. For a HI-RES pdf version of this visual report, click here: “Family Outreach Project – Impact Assessment“.

Celebrating those who rise to the challenges of implementing early childhood education

“There are currently more than 70,000 women working in ECD centres throughout South Africa; this means that over 70,000 jobs have been independently created at no cost to government, This is a significant accomplishment and something we should celebrate. However, the early childhood development sector in South Africa faces a multitude of challenges; underpaid teachers, unemployed parents, hungry children, and unsafe early learning environments are a few obstacles caregivers and children experience each day.”

This insert is taken from Celebrating those who rise to the challenges of implementing early childhood education, an article by Michaela Ashley-Cooper and Lauren van Niekerk of the Centre for Early Childhood Development, published in the Thinker Magazine: for Thought Leaders (September 2013 edition/ Volume 55).

In this article we look at the current challenges facing the ECD sector, the Department of Basic Education’s plans to increase preschool education from the current one year of Grade R to two years (as set out in the National Development Plan for 2030), and we pay tribute to the many, many thousands of women who, against all odds and despite having very little support, care for and educate our youngest children each day.

If you would like an electronic version of the article, you can download it here: Celebrating those who rise to the challenges of implementing early childhood education.

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