Why Early Childhood Development?

Why Early Childhood Development?

Early childhood, specifically the period between birth and two years of age, is the time when the brain develops the most rapidly and has a high capacity for change. It is a critical window of opportunity for establishing the foundation for good health, education and optimal productivity for the future. Early Childhood Development (ECD) refers to the physical, cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development of a child from the prenatal stage up to age eight. This development happens in a variety of settings (homes, schools, health facilities, community-based centers); and involves a wide range of activities from child care to nutrition to parent education. Providers of services can include public, private, and non-governmental agencies.

The foundation is laid during these early years for health and wellbeing that can last throughout life. Nurturing care – defined as care that is provided in a stable environment, that is sensitive to children’s health and nutritional needs, with protection from threats, opportunities for early learning, and interactions that are responsive, emotionally supportive and developmentally stimulating – is at the heart of children’s potential to develop.

The Jim Joel fund believes that early childhood development must be a priority area of funding and support as it is a window of opportunity to improve health and equity. A continuum of care – from preconception through the formative early years – is needed to safeguard and maximise children’s developmental outcomes (References: Heckman Foundation, Ilifa Labantwana, World Bank, WHO).

Did you know?

85% of the human brain develops by age 5. It is more difficult to improve cognitive development later

50% of a child’s cognitive capacity is influenced by his/her environment

There are six million children aged birth to five in South Africa. Four million of them receive the Child Support Grant and they need subsidised early learning

Only 25% or one million of these children are receiving subsidised early learning opportunities


What the Jim Joel Fund supports

The Jim Joel Fund currently supports the early childhood development sector through its funding to Resource and Training Organisations (RTOs) that provide holistic programmes to support the growth, development and education of young children aged birth to five. The direct beneficiaries of The Jim Joel Fund’s investments are predominantly women who are most likely to care for and nurture young children.

Early Childhood Development

Projects and programmes that are delivered by RTOs:

  • accredited Level 4 and 5 NQF training
  • skills based courses
  • parenting courses
  • home visiting programmes
  • onsite enrichment programmes
  • capacity building and mentoring programmes for NGO leaders
  • materials development
  • outreach programmes
  • playgroups
  • toy libraries
  • support to ECD networks
  • operational costs funding