Cambridge launches its first education programme for 3- to 6-year-olds in South Africa

by Tia
  • World’s largest provider of international education for 5- to 19-year-olds offers early years programme for the first time in South Africa.
  • New programme includes play-based learning that helps children flourish inside and outside the classroom.

Cambridge, the world’s largest provider of international education programmes, is launching its first early years education programme which will help support early childhood schooling in South Africa in children as young as 3.

The new play-based programme, which has been developed following a successful rollout in India, has been expertly designed to give children aged 3 to 6 the best start in life, helping them meet key early milestones and thrive in and out of school.

Cambridge Early Years will form the first stage in the Cambridge Pathway, a high-quality and joined-up path for educational success for children aged 3 to 19.

Multiple studies confirm that education during early years is crucial. Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study shows that, among other benefits, a high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC), compared to an average one, can double the growth in children’s verbal comprehension.

The decision to expand its education pathway will see Cambridge help schools in South Africa and around the world strengthen their early years education provision, something it believes will reap dividends for parents and teachers as children progress through their school careers.

Rod Smith, Group Managing Director for International Education at Cambridge commented:

“We all know that the early years of a child’s life are crucial to their development. Research shows that the better we support children at this stage, the more positive impact we can have on their future. Our new Cambridge Early Years programme draws on Cambridge’s unrivalled expertise in high-quality education to help schools in South Africa give children as many exciting and stimulating learning experiences as possible – making the most of this key phase of brain development and getting children off to a good start in life.”

Play-based learning that supports the transition to primary school 

The Cambridge Early Years programme draws on Cambridge’s worldwide research on curriculum principles from high-performing education systems, as well as analysis of best practice in early years education and the characteristics that have most impact.

Juan Visser

The research resulted in 12 key principles that underpin the programme. The principles were developed in collaboration with world-class scholars, researchers and practitioners in early years education. The importance of play-based learning, and the need to move children gradually towards more formal teaching in readiness for primary education, are two of the principles that guided the development of every element of the programme. The principles ensure that children not only acquire knowledge from a young age but also the essential skills to navigate and adapt to a rapidly changing world.

The Cambridge Early Years programme provides a flexible structure to support each child’s progress and can be adapted to the needs of different schools in South Africa, providing a bespoke teaching package.

Specially created classroom resources and assessments will help teachers understand each child’s progress while fostering their all-round development far beyond the classroom. 

Juan Visser, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa for International Education at Cambridge, added: “We know that good early years education can benefit a child’s whole academic career and so I’m thrilled that we are adding this new stage to the Cambridge Pathway – it’s what schools have been asking for. Our Cambridge Early Years programme brings together the best approaches from around the world with extensive teacher support. We want to help schools in South Africa support children’s long-term development and help them be ready for the world.”

Providing coherence to early years education 

Cambridge’s research with schools around the world found that early years provision can be fragmented, drawn from a mix of different resources, curricula, assessment and training. This can make it hard to understand how children are progressing or to determine what approaches have the best impact on their development.

By ensuring all the different elements work well together, Cambridge helps schools give their learners a comprehensive and high-quality early years education. 

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