What is early learning?
Why early learning is important
Challenges in South Africa
Early Learning Statistics
Small beginnings. Big future

Cognitive and biological development during the first few years of a child’s life establishes the path for future learning and success.

The more stimulating the environment, the more a child thrives, which is why early childhood development (ECD) programmes focus on creating opportunities for stimulation and learning in children under the age of 5. It's a sensitive window of time that, if not leveraged properly, can have a lasting negative impact that is difficult to reverse.

Find out how SmartStart stimulates early childhood development.

Why early learning is important
Treasure chests of potential

Exposure to early learning and stimulation leads to greater success in school and life. It’s shown that quality early learning experiences are associated with lower school drop-out rates, reduced levels of crime, income equalisation, greater earning potential and better mental health.

Children, who spend their younger years in less stimulating, or less emotionally and physically supportive environments, tend to experience cognitive, social and behavioural delays. However, there are simple, inexpensive and effective ways in which parents, childminders and ECD centres can provide opportunities for optimal early learning development.

Discover more about SmartStart’s cost effective and practical learning tools.


Challenges in South Africa
Breaking the cycle of poverty

The knock-on effect of poor early childhood development extends beyond just the child. The long-term potential of an entire country suffers too. While improvements are being made in South Africa to reach Grade R learners, access to quality early childhood development for those younger than 5 is still very limited. This means that children whose potential for learning is at its most sensitive are getting “lost” in the system.

Creating opportunities for early learning tends to to improve the social and economic well-being of generations to come, making it a particularly smart investment with high returns.

See how SmartStart aims to reach 1 million of South Africa’s 3-4 year olds by 2025.

Early Learning Statistics
Hardworking numbers at play

Early Learning Statistics

There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.

- Nelson Mandela

Get involved! Find out how

To find out more about SmartStart and how you can get involved, contact Carol-Ann Foulis or Justine Jowell at hello@smartstart.org.za.

You can also contact us on 078 277 0851.