SACMEQ reviewed the impact of participation in pre-school programmes on the academic achievements of learners who were in grade 6 in 2007.
It found that:
- 74% of South Africa’s learners enjoyed exposure to pre-school, which is higher than the SACMEQ average of 60%.
- More than 30% of children in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape had not had any pre-school exposure.
- In the predominantly urban Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces, more than 80% of children had pre-school exposure.
- Generally learners from urban areas had higher levels of pre-school exposure than their rural counterparts.
- Learner achievement for both maths and literacy was higher for children with pre-school exposure than those who had not been to pre-school, with higher levels of attainment for those who had attended pre-school for longer periods of time. Learners with two years of pre-school achieved higher scores than those with only one year.
- In short, pre-school attendance has a positive impact on achievement in reading and mathematics, and even more so for children who attend pre-school for two years.
The brief concludes with the recommendation that Grade R should be extended for a further year, starting at age 4.