Scaling Up Early Childhood Development (ECD) (0-4 years) in South Africa: Child and Caregiver Outcome Indicators for ECD Programme Monitoring

by DAWES A , 2008
Research Report. Human Sciences Research Council

This paper is one of a series developed to inform the Scaling Up ECD Services (0–4 years) Research Project with the aim of improving child development and significant job creation. The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a minimum set of health and psychosocial outcome indicators and measures for children and caregivers that can be used for monitoring the situation of children aged 0–4 years (including the antenatal period), as well as in demonstration projects designed to scale up quality, integrated services for this age group. Dawes provides two sets of indicators. The first is a core set that should regularly be monitored by government and for which data is readily available. The second are indicators for which data is not readily available, but which would be suitable for assessing the impacts of interventions in terms of the National Integrated Plan (NIP) for Early Childhood Development (ECD), including demonstration projects. Not all of them would be suitable for all programmes; rather, the programme inputs and desired outcomes should determine the final indicators selected. A rationale for the selected indicators is provided, based on the child development programme and policy literature, and particularly the package of services envisaged in the NIP. The paper draws attention to the importance of understanding the rapid and uneven nature of early development and its consequences for developing standards for early psychosocial development. The powerful influence of culture and socio-economic contexts on child-rearing practices and approaches to early learning and stimulation also play an important role in early child outcomes, as does the capacity of the caregiver to provide the support for the child’s development.