Taking stock of early childhood development in SA

The book’s co-editor, Michaela Ashley-Cooper, with contributing author Theodore Luthuli. Director of the CECD Professor Eric Atmore is in the background.

A collection of essays that, among other things, explores the challenges faced by the country’s preschools, including the impact of the pandemic, has been published by the Centre for Early Childhood Development in Claremont.

Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa: A collection of thought-provoking essays was co-edited by the centre’s director Professor Eric Atmore, its head researcher Michaela Ashley-Cooper and UCT academic Lauren van Niekerk.

A book launch was held at the Cape Town Museum of Childhood in Rondebosch, on Tuesday May 10.

The book has contributions from principals, teachers, activists and others involved in the early-learning sector, making for a “collection of perspectives and insights that will engage readers who are interested in understanding the current state of ECD (early childhood development) in South Africa,” according to Ms Ashley-Cooper.

The book navigates the impact of Covid-19; inequality; the power of play; the importance of early learning and literacy; the challenges of registering and funding ECD programmes, how men can and why they should get more involved in the sector; and government policies.

“It is a call-to-action, calling on all interested individuals to work together to ensure the greatest opportunities for South Africa’s young children,” Ms Ashley-Cooper said.

One of the contributors, Theodore Luthuli, is the principal of Khanyisa Nursery School and Inkwenkwezi Educare in Nyanga. She hopes the book will encourage government to do more to acknowledge the sector.

“This book is a gem, as it has a wealth of information that is not necessarily volunteered to those outside of the sector,” she said.

A limited number of hard copies are available, free of charge, from the centre, while stocks last. Contact the centre at 021 683 2420 or visit cecd.org.za to download a copy.

The cover of Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa: A collection of thought-provoking essays.
One of the contributing authors, Theodore Luthuli, speaks at the book launch about challenges facing the ECD workers.