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Improved access to ECD and primary school education

In response to The State of Global Learning Poverty: 2022 update, Dr Benjamin Piper, the director of Global Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation stated:

The learning poverty data highlights the shocking inequality that persists in learning outcomes, with 87% of children in Africa unable to read and understand a simple text. This was data was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the new simulations suggest this has increased to 89%. This is sad, but it’s also wrong.”

ECD is an essential building block for a quality primary and secondary education system. The first five years of a child’s life are the most important. Children who thrive by five are more likely to start school on track and ready to learn.” Dr Janeli Kotze from the DBE’s Research Coordination Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate.

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Programme overview

In 2015, we built and established our ECD Centre, Wendywood Development Centre, primarily for our children aged O-6 years old. We were finding that the children were battling to cope on arrival at primary school, due to the historical gaps in their education and development because of their difficult starts in life. The children at Hearts of Hope need unique, personal developmental educational interventions essential for the grounding necessary to succeed at school.  In addition, trauma-informed education in small classes ensures they are provided with the necessary academic and life skill education they would not previously have received. The first 1000 days in the life of a child are crucial for building the foundation blocks of all learning and development. As such, a focus on the provision of education and development services and support to our children in these early years was essential. Our older children attend the local primary school. After-school remedial and homework programmes; the supervision of primary school activities, such as projects, and extra lessons, all happen at home in the afternoon.

What we do


Day in the life of an ECD child
Our day starts with a warm hello as the children arrive at school. We gather outside as a community and start the day with songs and dance to get us warmed up for the day. We love seeing even the youngest friends participate! We value time spent together, and what is more important than mealtimes? The children are involved in setting up for these mealtimes and take great pride in their work. Apart from these community times, the children also have morning meetings, play and project work with their teacher. We like to strike a balance between fixed parts of the day, while also being flexible with our time to allow for the wonder that comes from working with children.


Primary School
Our primary school-aged children attend the local government school. Their home is just down from the school, and makes school logistics that much easier to co-ordinate. The housemothers can easily walk the children to and from school and the children can be actively involved in many of the extra-murals provided by the school.
The children are helped with their homework and projects by tutors in the afternoon at home. Specially equipped homework spaces have been set up at home where they can work on their projects and assignments.


Staff Training
The staff are provided with:
  • CYCW training:
  • Firefighting training:
  • First Aid:
Once a week the staff come together for prayers; and a time of team-building and extended learning sessions.  

Wendywood Development centre monthly expenses

Salaries: 72%
Utilities: 15%
Consumable resources (paints, paper etc): 11%
Outings and transport: 2%

Education spend breakdown


Success of the Reggio Emilia approach

The Reggio Emilia approach does not simply ask us to change our environments and the learning spaces; it requires us to change the way we think about children and how they learn. While we have only just begun to scratch the surface of our own journey into this new approach to education, the evidence for the importance of this work can be seen throughout the day at our preschool, in our children.

Monitoring and evaluation

Wellbi provides an online platform for all the class registers for the ECD centre, which helps the centre track the attendance of each child. The reports of the ECD children and the children at the primary school are uploaded every term and provide an electronic record of their years at school. Teachers can also write notes on behaviour, taking note of special things that the children have done and it is all kept as history on the child.

How you can help

There are many ways in which you can help us with our Education programme

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