Lead SALead SA

Overcoming Mountains both figuratively and literally

Written by: diannem

Early Childhood Education is not negotiable for our children’s future

Education remains in the spotlight as close to a million Grade 1 learners started their primary school journey at the beginning of the 2018 school year.

This comes in the wake of alarming concerns raised about the fact that although more than one million (1,039 762) learners enrolled in Grade 1 in 2006, only 669 382 learners passed matric in 2017 - leaving more than 370 000 learners unaccounted for.

According to Candice Potgieter, CEO of one of the country’s leading early childhood development organisations The Unlimited Child, the fact that less than 50% of preschool children in South Africa currently have access to early childhood education (ECE) will have far-reaching implications for the entire education system.

"Research has shown that children, who receive a good educational foundation between the ages of 0-6 years, are more likely to succeed in school. However, about 60% of SA children begin life at a lower level of capacity than they should and increasingly fall behind during the most formative period of their life."

Candice Potgieter, CEO of The Unlimited Child

This national concern is a key objective for The Unlimited Child and top of mind for the 6 adventurers climbing Ojos del Salado, situated on the border of Argentina and Chile, to raise awareness around the dire need for Early Childhood Education. There is a strong parallel between the ambitious climb to summit the highest active volcano and the mountains a child has to climb if they don’t get the right kind of education by the time they are 6.

The Unlimited Child is having a profound impact on the lives of thousands of young South Africans through their early childhood development programme. Currently implemented in seven of the nine provinces, this integrated, rapid impact Early Childhood Education (ECE) stimulation programme equips practitioners in disadvantaged communities to use high quality training and resources. The programme is aligned with national and current policy standards and is available in English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi and Afrikaans.

An independent M&E Research Study conducted by the University of KZN endorsed The Unlimited Child’s programme as a tried, tested and effective model. The numbers speak for themselves. To date, The Unlimited Child has trained 3673 practitioners, provided educational toys and learning tools to 1221 ECD centres and reached 66 411 children in preschools and Logged a cumulative enrolment of 191171 children

The Unlimited Child hopes to build awareness and highlight the importance of Early Childhood Education. The priority and a goal for 2021 is to impact more than 600 000 children by equipping 5 000 preschools with the tools to provide a high quality early education programme by 2021.

This cause is a priority for South Africa and if you would like to get involved either as a corporate or an individual, please visit www.theunlimitedchild.org




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