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ELRU is nationally and internationally recognised for over 37 years of high quality, high impact service to build the foundation of early childhood development. This is realised by providing the support needed by practitioners, caregivers and children from conception to 6 years to engage in a world of stimulating, safe and healthy learning experiences.
In South Africa, 6 out of 10 children are born into poverty. Poverty is associated with inadequate nutrition, sanitation and hygiene which leads to underdevelopment, infections and stunting in children. Poverty is also associated with poor maternal education, increased maternal stress, depression and inadequate stimulation in the home. These factors, if unaddressed, contribute to further poor health, poor preparation for school and consequently under prepare the child for his / her future. The lack of readiness for the job market and perpetuating the cycle of poverty are important long lerm factors when addressing ECD. Studies have shown that over time good quality ECD programmes that provide good nutrition and health, social services such as grants, early stimulation and supportive parenting from the start of life can support positive development, including good health and academic outcomes, economic productivity, responsible citizenship and effective parenting of the next generation. These services (known as the Essential Package of ECD Services) are fast becoming the key strategy in leveling the playing field in mitigating the ravages of poverty. It must be maximised for children living in poverty who bear the brunt of developmental risks. The returns: Investment in ECD reduces the costs on the state in areas like chronic illness, unemployment and crime prevention as academic performance contributes to better economic opportunities and earning potential and emotional and physical health is improved. Therefore, investing in Early Childhood Development is one of the best investments a country can make.