Early childhood development programming in the City of Johannesburg: from measurement to action

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2015
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Motala, S.Ngandu, M.Ndokweni, J.Mathebula, Z.Jeeva, Y.Gwenhure, S.Jonas, M.Molokomme, L.Sakoane, J.Ogwang, S.Masvuare, F.Letuka, L.Ntholeng, C.Ntholeng
KEYWORDS: EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD), JOHANNESBURG
DEPARTMENT: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8577

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Abstract

There is a body of evidence which recognizes the importance of investing in early childhood development (ECD) for human health, wellbeing and productivity (NPC Diagnostic Overview Report, 2011). By the time young children reach five years of age they should be healthy and well nourished, physically fit, securely attached to caregivers and able to communicate and interact positively with caregivers and other consistent adults in their lives. Research suggests that the presence of promotive factors in the care environment can make a difference in the life of a child. Access to quality early childhood development (ECD) interventions, particularly targeting children from disadvantaged communities can prevent or offset potential negative impacts on a child's cognitive and social development. This makes an investment in ECD a key responsibility for government and not a luxury nor a privilege, which can yield lifetime benefits for children and society (NDP Diagnostic Overview Report, 2011). Improving access to and quality of services to children participating in ECD services is critical to enhancing positive outcomes for children, particularly those living in compromised situations. While ECD services is the core mandate of provincial spheres of government, particularly the Departments of Education, Health and Social Development, local government has a specific role to play in the registration and monitoring of health and safety conditions of partial care facilities which is how the Children's Act No 38 of 2005 describe ECD facilities/centres. However, national policy, planning and programmes can make very little difference to children's lives unless they are widely implemented and systematically coordinated at the government level closest to communities. Local government remain the primary location where children find themselves and together with the provincial and national government, organizations in civil society and the community, create an environment that either directly or indirectly impacts children.