We facilitate and promote children’s access to quality
early learning development from the years zero to five.

Early childhood development is a crucial building block for children’s education. Join our community to fund teacher development or to up-skill yourself as a teacher.

We create thriving
early childhood
development communities in low-income areas

Early childhood development is a crucial building block for children’s education. Join our community to fund teacher development or to up-skill yourself as a teacher.

A message from our Patron, Dr Tshepo Motsepe

Early Childhood Development Matters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) positions early childhood as the critical years because this is the period in life when the brain develops most rapidly and has a high capacity for change, and the foundation is laid for health and wellbeing throughout life.

A good foundation in the early years of development is crucial in providing the right building blocks that are necessary for adulthood and providing the next generation with the necessary start in life. Educated and healthy people participate in, and contribute to, the financial and social welfare of their societies.

As a long-term advocate for early childhood development, I am honoured to be involved with organisations such as Early Foundation, whose initiatives and programmes make a difference in the development of our children and empower women who are involved in pre-schools with skills and knowledge. These pre-schools are also important resources in communities as they vehicles of local employment and create safe spaces for children within close proximity of their homes.

I am also encouraged by dedication and commitment put towards the early childhood development by other stakeholders within the sector. Let us continue working together for the success of all our children.

4.5 million South African children receive poor education during their early developmental stages

Early childhood has been shown to be the most effective period for educating children. Our job is to ensure that the people teaching them are sufficiently skilled to create rich and stimulating preschool environments.

Our Impact

Our Impact

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Our Impact


ECD Centeres Impacted


Early Childhood Development Practitioners Trained


Children impacted

Current ECD Landscape: Sector Reports

Thrive By Five Index Report

The Thrive by Five survey assessed over 5,000 children aged 4-5 years enrolled in various types of Early Learning Programmes (ELPs) around the country in three areas that are known to be predictive
of a child’s performance in school: early learning, physical growth, and social-emotional functioning.

The Index found that “while there are instances of considerable variation in performance within income groups, on average children from poorer households are falling behind their better-off peers
as a result of the challenges they face in their earliest years.”

In order to improve the early literacy and language skills of South African children in low-income communities, we need to find effective ways of training, supporting and providing resources to the ECD practitioners. Our strategic objective of Quality Early Learning Education is aligned and responds very well to the above statement with clear focus on capacitating practitioners and the measure of children holistic development and school readiness.

National ECD Census Report

The National Department of Basic Education in partnership with The Lego Foundation embarked on a national census of early childhood development programmes and centres. The aim of this census was to inform the Department of Basic Education of the scope and scale of current access and quality of ECD programmes and centres being provided.

The below graph provides a national overview of the key results:
Over 1,6 million children are in ECD programmes and centres. There are currently over
42,420 ECD programmes and centres. The ECD sector currently employs 198,361 workers and only 52% of current teaching staff have a qualification in ECD.

According to the South African Early Childhood Review of 2019, there are 6,2 million children under the age of 6 years. This means based on the ECD Census results, there are 4,6 million children not in any ECD programmes and centres.

Our donors and partners