Understanding Barriers and Potential of Early Childhood Education in Low-Income South Africa: Leveraging Children's Executive Functions
The preschool years present a critical window of opportunity to maximise early childhood development and set young children on their best educational trajectory for human capital outcomes later in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. A key preschool cognitive predictor of educational outcomes (e.g. foundational numerical skills) is executive function. Recent research has shown better than expected executive function in low-income South African preschoolers, an index of potential that is not yet harnessed. Numeracy is of concern in South Africa, because it provides the foundations to later employability, but is poorly understood. This project intends to address this research gap, by determinining longitudinal associations between executive function and self-regulation at 3-4 years and numeracy skills at 4-5 years. It seeks to engage highly vulnerable very low-income children and families who do not currently access early childhood development centres, to understand barriers and potential, and maximise good educational outcomes.
Research Team: Professor Gaia Scerif, University of Oxford; Dr Catherine Draper, University of the Witwatersrand; Dr Steven James Howard, University of Wollongong
Media and Outputs
'Caregiver perspectives of risk and protective factors influencing early childhood development in low‐income, urban settings'
Infant and Child Development, 2023
Journal of Cognition and Development, 2023
'"We don’t have things for counting”: An exploration of early numeracy skills and home learning experiences of children'
Journal of Numerical Cognition, 2023
Infant and Child Development, 2022