In addition to this, the policy aims to facilitate universal access to developmentally appropriate early learning opportunities for young children, including home-based, group-based and centre-based approaches.
The Mikhulu Trust was established based on decades of research into the parent-child relationship and how it impacts and supports child development. Mikhulu Trust also recognises that the majority of the current ECD sector work and advocacy focuses on the dire need for more effective government policies and support to ECD centres. This work is important, and Mikhulu Trust supports the Real Reform for ECD campaign in this regard.
Mikhulu Trust’s particular ECD advocacy interest is focused on the parent. Research has proven that children who grow up meaningfully connected to at least one primary caregiver develop better and are more likely to attain better health and education outcomes. They are also more resilient to stressors, even under extreme conditions of poverty. Conversely, children who are not connected to a caregiver that is responsive and attentive to their needs are less likely to reach their developmental goals, and achieve poorer long-term outcomes.
Through our work with parents, we recognise how little encouragement and support parents receive to validate their role in their child’s life. The parents we work with often do not feel that they are capable of supporting their children’s development because they themselves are not formally educated. Our message to parents is that, simply by being “tuned into” your child’s needs and interests, and engaging them in stimulating activities, they are able to give their children exactly what they need.
Parents leave our programme feeling a greater sense of confidence in their role in their children’s lives – they both value their role and are equipped to play that role better.