ESST team addressing Learners of Vumanisabelo Special school by our Programme Manager Sanele Nlovu

ESST team addressing Learners of Vumanisabelo Special school with Newcastle Municipality Special Programmes, Osizweni SAPS, Black Child, I-Matter Foundation.

The most common dissability in South Africa is sight and hearing while there one in 10 children suffer from multiple dissabilities. It also appears that children living on the street, in orphans or in institutions are at higher risk of having a dissability. In the rural areas there are a lot more risk factors that can lead to a dissability. Proper Nutrition, poverty and the environmental area affects children and can lead to being at risk to get infections, effects the development and growth. 

Given the above, it is concerning that studies from across the world have found that parents from poorer socio-economic sectors very often lack the ability to provide their children with the language and literacy environments that middle to high income families often provide. While factors such as lack of financial resources, limited available time, and educational background play a large role in this, a major factor is the difference in the types of thinking which occurs in households from different socio-economic brackets. In lower socio-economic homes – with their focus on survival much of the time – there is very often a focus on more concrete types of thinking in everyday life. In higher socio-economic households, on the other hand, there is a greater emphasis on abstract forms of thinking, which is conducive to a greater degree of school readiness.

As a result, children from lower socio-economic homes often start school a few steps behind their more privileged peers – and usually spend the rest of their lives trying to close this gap. Sadly, research has found that, if not addressed sufficiently before the age of 6, it is unlikely that this cognitive gap will ever be overcome. The dire consequences can clearly be seen in the findings of an analysis by the World Bank: between 2007 and 2011, the average Mathematics score amongst primary school children from the poorest families in South Africa was 40%. Meanwhile, amongst primary school children from the richest families, it was 90%! (Sunday, Mail and Guardian, 14 to 20 October 2016, pp3).

The long-term result of this cognitive gap between lower and higher socio-economic sectors is thus that the poverty cycle is very often perpetuated generation after generation. This is of particular concern considering that, according to Statistics South Africa, approximately 1.4-million South African children currently live in homes without any employed household members. It therefore stands to reason that Early Childhood Development should be an issue of huge concern for South Africa, where socio-economic disparities are already among the most glaring in the world

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