TheirWorld has looked at the issue of nurturing young children in South Africa through the eyes of an ECD centre owner, a charity worker and an academic.
Thuthukile Mhlungu, owner and principal of Inkanyezi ECD centre, says: "For a long time ECD has been lacking political support. So now it's finally happening. If support comes from the top, if ECD is a priority, then a lot of things can happen."
Svetlana Doneva, from the the ECD programme Ilifa Labantwana, says: "In order to develop to their full potential, children need nurturing care. This means conditions that ensure good health, adequate nutrition, safety and security, responsive caregiving and opportunities for learning. Parents, family members and caregivers – who are closest to young children in the first years of life – are the optimum providers of nurturing care. But in order to ensure they have the time and resources to do this, policies, services and community support need to be in place."
Mark Tomlinson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch and one of the coordinating writers of the Framework, says: "The Framework provides an important roadmap for action in the next decade. It’s built on the wealth of evidence accumulated in the last 30 years about early brain development, how early childhood development unfolds across the life-course, and how it can be improved by policies and interventions."
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