Preschool education is critical to children’s proper cognitive, emotional and physical development. It also plays an important role in getting young children ready for primary school education and life outside the home. Whilst the provision of public and private preschool education has increased over the years in South Africa, it is still only 17% of children under 5 years who attend preschool. Lack of access to preschool education is primarily due to limited preschool education facilities in poor communities; parental ignorance of the importance of preschool education in child development; and lack of information about available preschool education facilities.
As South Africa battles child poverty; inadequate child healthcare and nutrition; and a wanting quality of education –it is important for the country’s development stakeholders to join hands to work with communities to address the educational needs of young children. Investment in quality preschool education will have far reaching consequences for the country e.g. children that have accessed quality preschool education invariably perform well in their schooling and have a higher chance of acquiring skills and qualifications that can contribute to the country’s development; this compares favorably against the alternative, where children do not access preschool, perform poorly in the school system, drop out of school and end up with no skills, qualifications and employment, leading to social problems.
Humana People to People has developed a model aimed at providing comprehensive Early Childhood Development services to children from disadvantaged backgrounds in an efficient and sustainable manner. Known as Pre-schools of the Future (POF), the model is designed to provide quality pre-school education to underprivileged children, preparing them for primary school.
In 2016, HPP South Africa will start 40 POF centers in various 3 disadvantaged communities in South Africa following the POF model. The centers are planned to be self-sustainable basing their income on school fees from parents and over time from support from the Department of Social Development, both financial and materials support.
HPP South Africa is already supporting pre-schools in communities in their Child Aid projects, but the new POF centers will all be led by HPP young Project Leaders, who have previous experience from HPP projects and who have received training in the POF concept.
We are seeking support for a two month start-up of the 40 centers until they can run by their own means.
HPP-SA will seek to identify partners to cover start-up costs to include salaries, running costs and capital investments totaling ZAR 30,000 per pre-school but are seeking support from Planet Aid, Inc. in order to get movement started.
Thereafter each pre-school will be run on school fees. In addition, all preschools in the POF Movement will be registered with the Department of Social Development to enable them to receive financial support for salaries and food for the children. The first centers will open in 2015.