The value of Early Childhood Education (ECE) is coming to the fore in South Africa. For decades, the importance of this formative learning phase has been sidestepped by education departments and parents alike.
In many disadvantaged areas of South
Africa, ECE has been delayed or ignored due to lack of funding and a lack of
knowledge regarding the importance of this phase of learning.
But a small school in Cape Town is bringing
change to underprivileged communities by proving ECE to 60 children who might
never have been able to receive it.
The benefits of Early Childhood Education
According to a post on the World Bank website, “Investing in Early Childhood Education is one of the smartest things a country can do.”
Studies show that the impact that early
childhood experiences have on brain development, learning, health and long-term
lifetime opportunities is immense.
According to Stats SA, “By the age of five, almost 90% of a child’s brain will be developed. These are the formative years where factors such as adequate healthcare, good nutrition, good quality childcare and nurturing, a clean and safe environment, early learning and stimulation will, to a large extent, influence his/her future as an adult.”
The World Bank goes as far as to declare that the positive impact made by early childhood learning and experiences has the greatest return on investment for a country as a whole. The better equipped children are in their formative years – from age 0 to 5 – the more economically sound the country they live in will become.
Research shows that children who attend a quality early childhood development programme will most likely complete their schooling. These children are more likely to become functional, contributing members of society who work towards breaking the cycle of poverty.
iThemba School is a small school in the suburb of Fish Hoek in Cape Town that focuses on bringing quality Early Childhood Education to underprivileged children in the area.
The word iThemba means hope and the school’s vision is to provide the best intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual foundation for 60 children from nearby areas so that they have a hope for their future.
The school works with parents and caregivers to prepare young children for future schooling and for life in general. It provides high quality pre-primary education, balanced nutritional meals and a safe and nurturing environment.
Due to the economic standing of the parents whose children attend the school, the school relies heavily on donations from corporate companies and individuals. To find out how you, or your company, can help sponsor a child from iThemba, please follow this link.