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Theory of Change

Unlocking Opportunities Through ECD

Achieving Social Change Starts With ECD

Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor James Heckman, has compellingly demonstrated that an investment in early childhood development (ECD) offers the best return on investment for a country, both economically and socially. This is because investment in ECD yields remarkable long-term benefits for communities, including improved education, enhanced public health, a more robust economy, reduced crime rates, diminished public violence, and increased social cohesion. Particularly significant for fostering social stability in South Africa, it also promotes greater equality. [1] Setting a positive early development trajectory ensures that children have a better chance of coping in formal school, staying in high school and going out into the world prepared for the challenges of further education and work.
Economic impact of investing in early childhood learning

KET assists ECD entrepreneurs to establish and manage ECD facilities that offer a high-quality ECD programme to children. We support the principals to run legitimate and well-managed facilities, in turn creating employment for ECD practitioners. We provide skills training to the ECD workforce – like principals, teachers, assistants, and cooks – and assist in equipping classrooms with age-appropriate resources to enhance quality education which, focuses on the whole child’s development.

Our main objective is to ensure that ALL children in the Knysna area are ready for school when they are 6 years old, with a special focus on children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. We do this by increasing opportunities for children between 0-6 years old who come from disadvantaged families to attend a safe and quality ECD facility or playgroup.

Our Theory of Change

We see the children in the Knysna area thriving and ready for school when they are 6 years old. This means they are well nourished, healthy, and safe and meeting their developmental milestones (including emotional, physical, social and cognitive).

That being the case, we know that their lives are on a trajectory associated with better outcomes at school, and ultimately, that as adults they will be able to contribute better towards a prosperous, more equal society, helping to break the cycles of intergenerational poverty in South Africa and reducing the social problems that accompany it.

While this is our ultimate vision, in a community, it takes many different role players to make such a vision a reality and KET support and collaborate with other organisations, and especially with parents on the journey towards achieving it.
As KET’s specific contribution, we aim to ensure that:

Diagram 1: KET Theory Of Change Diagram
Provide opportunities for children to break cycles of poverty.
Datadrive‘s Positive Deviance Study Initiative of 20231 found that ECD centres that perform well despite dealing with the same challenges that set other centres back:
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Are Embedded In The Community

These centres have longevity and are seen as a community resource, providing multiple valued services. Facility principals are community leaders, with the centre receiving support from the local community.They have strong governing bodies and are active in local forums.
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Have Strong Relationships With Families

Strong relationships with families and caregivers are nurtured. ECD staff understand caregivers’ challenges, offer them support, and communicate effectively to involve them in the learning process.
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Have Good Leadership

Principals play a multi-faceted role as facility managers and joint guardians with caregivers. They see themselves as community leaders, network effectively, and connect different role-players to foster collaboration.
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Have A Culture Of Attentiveness, Collaboration, And Development

There is attentiveness to children’s safety, behaviour, practitioner-child interactions, and opportunities for learning. There is effective record keeping and staff wellbeing and training are prioritised.
Be Part Of The Change.