Accessible Early Childhood Development (ECD) and affordable early learning programmes for all children in South AfricaSee how we do it
The Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) is a nonprofit organisation with forty-two years’ experience in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector. Established in 1978, we support the cognitive development and executive functioning skills of vulnerable young children ages 0–6 by building the capacity of the adults around them.
Programmes include: home visiting (first 1000 days) from conception to age 2, early learning playgroups (ages 3–5) and centre-based support (ages 0–5).
Systems that promote healthy development through each age and developmental stage are enhanced through ELRU Programmes and
advocacy, creating circles of support around the young child from conception, with particular care for pregnant women, primary caregivers, early childhood practitioners and ECD principals.
Through ELRU Programmes, vulnerable young children are provided with comprehensive support that facilitates access to an integrated package of services that are critical for optimal growth, health and advancement in life. This 'essential package' includes child and maternal healthcare, nutrition, social services, early opportunities for play-based learning, and support for the primary caregiver.
ELRU currently works in three provinces within South Africa: Western Cape, Northern, Cape and the North West.
We believe that ensuring the access of every child to the essential services and support they need from conception until they start school, is the best way of securing their wellbeing and learning success, and a prosperous future for our country
Children are meant to thrive, not just survive.
Building tomorrow, today for every child.
Building tomorrow, today by facilitating better child outcomes for children in vulnerable communities through effective early intervention programmes.
Early childhood is the most critical phase of human development. It starts from conception, when a baby’s body and brain are formed, continues through early infancy when essential relationships are established and developmental milestones are reached. Understanding the need to invest in early childhood development (ECD) is essential in maximising the future well-being of young children. An investment in high-quality ECD is the best investment a country can make.
There are major challenges facing Early Childhood Development (ECD) in South Africa. The more significant of these is the lack of access to quality early learning programmes with gaps in infrastructure, practitioner training and qualification, nutrition, health services, ECD programming, institutional capacity and funding. ECD Centres remain the dominant form of provision and the system is blind to the majority of vulnerable children who are outside of it.
The whole community is considered when determining the needs of a given area. Ultimately our goal is to achieve universal coverage i.e. that each child in a given community has access to quality ECD, via an ELRU programme or any other service provider. Our aim is to enable greater access and improve the quality of services and programmes available to children in poor communities, in order to ensure their optimal physical, emotional, social, intellectual, mental and spiritual development. We do this by facilitating access to an 'Essential Package' of services for ECD support which includes early learning, health, nutrition, social services and support for the primary caregiver. We accomplish this through the following interventions:
Home and community based Programmes
Our Programmes promote nutrition, health, safety and hygiene, supportive parenting and cognitive stimulation for caregivers and children age 0-6 who do not have access to, or can't afford to attend an ECD Centre.
Centre based development and enrichment Programme
Our Programmes are aimed at ensuring that children attending ECD Centres receive quality care and services, and that all practitioners are capacitated to deliver optimal
Training, capacity building and resource provision
Training, mentoring and materials development guidse our work, while being shaped by ongoing monitoring and evaluation of not only the progress and development of the model, but its impact on the holistic development of the child.
In April 2020, Director Tracy van der Heyde spoke to eNCA news anchor Sally Burdett about the need for child nutrition
during the critical window period of development from age 0-6. ELRU was chosen to partner with the eMedia
COVID-19 Relief Fund and contributed to disaster relief efforts by providing nutrition and hygiene support in the Western Cape.
From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ELRU’s focus turned to providing critical nutrition. Even into 2021, the need for food is still critical and especially for young children and pregnant moms. All donations to our 'Food Emergency Fund' help us cover costs that enable food to reach our vulnerable beneficiary families. Large or small, every amount helps!
Contributions are tax deductible (18A receipt).
If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn here
Looking to contribute monthly to a worthy cause?
We invite friends and supporters of ELRU to donate R100 — or whatever amount you can afford to give — on a monthly basis.
All monetary donations are tax deductible and we can issue a section 18A tax receipt on request
Click here for any questions you may have.
Tax relief: ELRU can provide you with a Section 18A tax certificate for your monetary contribution, on request.
To receive this, please email proof of payment with your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earn B-BBEE points: ELRU can assist you with various elements on your Company's B-BBEE scorecard, providing sustainable transformation in the following codes:
1. Socio-Economic Development (SED)
2. Enterprise Development (ED)
3. Skills Development (SKILLS)