Next funding round opens in
282 days

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 time for establishing the foundation for good health, education and optimal productivity for the future.


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


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.


of children aged birth to four are multidimensionally poor, the majority of those living in poverty are in rural areas.

Why Early Childhood Development is important:

  • The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and the adult they will become. During the early years, more than one million neural connections are formed each second in a child’s brain, particularly during the first one thousand days of a child’s life. This shows us that children learn and develop more in these early years than they do at any other point in their lives.
  • Young children and their families living in poverty without adequate support from the state and others, weakens the architecture of the developing brain, which can lead to lifelong problems in learning, behaviour, and physical and mental health.
  • This is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important. It is to maximise their future well-being.