A Community Development Approach to Early Childhood: Children, our Future Communities

by HORNBY, D., 2005
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

Hornby assesses early childhood development (ECD) programmes, using the Centre for Social Development (CSD), based in Grahams town, Eastern Cape, as an example. The paper starts by providing a conceptual outline of development, focusing on social development and ECD. It then reviews the current status of ECD in South Africa. The paper documents the transformation of the CSD from an educational to a social development organisation. The CSD was established in August 1981 as an outreach arm of Rhodes University to administer bursaries at the tertiary level, establish facilities in the townships catering for the needs of communities, and training those involved in running the projects. In its search of sustainable models of community development, the CSD then focused on children from a holistic perspective and began working with the family unit and the community. The paper traces the progressive formulation of these two models of development, the challenges CSD faced in implementing these models, and the values underlying its approach. It concludes that South Africa requires more holistic, comprehensive and integrated approach to child development at all levels.