The challenges experienced by practitioners from under-resourced early childhood development centres in South Africa: a single site study

Marieta Visser, Jessica Grossmark, Susann Krüger, Carmen Smith, Marzel van Zyl, Zuandré Willemse, Caitlyn Wright


Background: The occupation of education prepares children for adulthood. Each child has the right to education, which has the power to end intergenerational cycles of poverty and inequality. However, poor access to and quality of education at early childhood development (ECD) centres continue to prevail in marginalised communities in South Africa.

Aim: This study aimed to identify the challenges experienced by ECD practitioners and coordinators regarding the quality of their ECD programme.

Methods: A qualitative, descriptive enquiry was conducted with six purposively sampled participants from an ECD organisation in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with practitioners from under-resourced ECD centres from Bloemfontein, rural towns, and the organisation's ECD coordinator. Audio recordings of the interviews were transcribed verbatim. Deductive content analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results: Four themes were identified from interview data: (i) teaching and learning; (ii) management and leadership; (iii) ECD environment; and (iv) ECD legislation and policies. Practitioners indicated that they wanted to improve their qualifications and have access to a contextually relevant programme with appropriate resources.

Conclusion: If the expressed challenges were addressed on an inter-professional collaborative platform, the quality of this ECD service could be improved.


Keywords: teaching and learning; early childhood development; ECD policy and legislation; ECD practitioners; ECD programme; occupational therapy; South Africa

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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