Identified below are publications on  ECD in SSA that relate closely to the three initiatives focused on by this website. In reviewing these selected publications you will note that we encourage the creation of Open Access (OA) materials so that they can be used at no cost to the reader.  If you intend to use/adapt the material please ensure that you review the restrictions of that particular license (go to for a full list of license descriptions).

For a larger range of SSA ECD related publications go to our related project, the searchable compendium located at:

Recent Publication

Letting a Thousand Flowers Bloom


This book provides an insightful exploration for parents, educators, funders, practitioners and policymakers, offering a nuanced understanding of the work implemented by early childhood development networks operating in Africa. The early childhood development networks have in multiple ways influenced the foundation for lifelong learning for millions of young lives in Africa. The book therefore is a vital resource for understanding the dynamic interplay of factors that contribute to optimal early childhood development networking in diverse African contexts.

Published 2024
Edited By:
Patrick Makokoro

Books Published in 2023

Sankofa: Appreciating the Past in Planning the Future of Early Childhood Education, Care and Development (ECD) in Africa

Sankofa: Appreciating the Past in Planning the Future of Early Childhood Education, Care and Development (ECD) in Africa had several inspirations. One was a question by a self-described ‘millennial’ leader: ‘why had he not been told the history of ECD in Africa’ before undertaking such leadership. His question resonated with the Akan people’s term Sankofa: ‘remember the past to make progress in the future.’ His personal question is equally valid at the global level: ‘Why does the world not know about how ECD is understood in Africa’, and indeed in other parts of the Majority (Developing) World?’ This book seeks to address both questions: individual and global, with a hope to stimulate other regions of the world to tell their stories through their own, contextualized understandings. The book does not claim to be exhaustive. It calls out for others in Africa, and in other parts of the Majority World, to tell their stories. Those stories, experiences, understandings and perspectives are not just important for those who live them, but for the world. The stories of children’s care and development from around the globe is historically rich and diverse. The World of ECD has yet to write, yet to tell, its ‘full story’—Sankofa is one step in that direction.

Critical Issues In Professional Development:

Situated Knowledges From South Africa

Drawing on Nelson Mandela’s inspiration of education as the most powerful weapon for societal transformation, this book unpacks professional development with special reference to education systems in early childhood and schooling. The notion of situated knowledges as posited by Haraway (1988) is used to make the point that knowledge creation comes from somewhere the critical issue of pedagogy, educational practice, knowledge mixes, curriculum change, mentorship, leadership and teacher identity are used to explore how knowledge creation emerges from participation and contributions in a socially constructed world.

Edited By:
Hasina Banu Ebrahim
Vitalis Chikoko

Voices from the Early Childhood Care and Education Field in South Africa:

Research and Promising Practices for New Directions

This publication brings together a chorus of voices from the early childhood care and education (ECCE) sector in South Africa. We present a glimpse of the work of ECCE researchers, teacher trainers, ECCE teachers, leaders and managers, and NGO implementors. In bringing together the “strange bedfellows” of research, policy and practice this book makes a contribution to addressing the fragmentation and the polarisations that exist in the ECCE sector in South Africa. This publication was intentionally produced to be easy to understand, and expand the space for knowledge generation, debate, critical thinking, and collaborative endeavours among the ECCE actors in the variety of positions they hold. We hope that this volume will take readers on a journey about people in the South African ECCE field who present possibilities to bring change in the lives of young children in a way that respects not only who they will become in the future but who they are presently.

To Be Published
Edited By:
Hasina Banu Ebrahim
Giulietta Harrison,
Michaela Ashley Cooper
Colwyn Debora Martin
Naseema Sheik

Available Books

Pedagogies for Diverse Contexts

Diversity can be a rich source of possibility and opportunity in early childhood education. Appreciating that learning and development are shaped by culture and context, history and values, the diversity of cases found in this volume provide a useful tension in considering one’s own practices, policies and beliefs. Pedagogies for Diverse Contexts draws on the knowledge and professional experiences of actors from a wide range of countries and cultures. For some, early childhood’s dominant narratives have been influential, while others push back against universalistic orientations and the power of a neoliberal hegemonic agenda. Written to provoke, to stimulate and to extend thinking, these chapters provide insights and examples relevant not only for front-line practice and programme development, but for education, assessment, research and policy development.

Published: 2018

Edited By:

Alan Pence,
Janet Harvell

Download book:

International Journal of Educational Policy….

This special issue of the International Journal of Educational Policy, Research and Practice provides a look inside an unusual initiative designed to support early childhood care and development (ECD)1 policy, research, and practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Early Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU) brought together early childhood professionals from 10 African countries2 to address child well-being through ECD capacity building, leadership development, and enhanced networking within and across countries. Over the space of three years (August 2001 through August 2004) the first ECDVU cohort of learners had the opportunity to engage with each other and with African and international ECD specialists to learn together and to address a wide range of ECD challenges at the local, country, and continental levels.

Published: 2004

Edited By:

Alan R. Pence
Kofi Marfo

A case for ECD in sub-saharan Africa

Issues connected with children’s welfare and child development are appearing on national and international agendas with greater prominence and frequency. However, the international image of children is becoming increasingly homogeneous and Western-derived, with an associated erosion of the diversity of child contexts. This essay explores the reasons behind such a reduction in diversity, factors that are often considered to be a necessary part of progress. The authors conduct an overview of relevant critiques in the literature of early childhood development (ECD).

Published: 2008

Edited By:

Alan Pence
Bame Nsamenang

Download book:

Early Childhood Education and Care in a Global Pandemic:

How the Sector Responded, Spoke Back and Generated Knowledge
Early Childhood Education and Care in a Global Pandemic is a book that highlights how the international early childhood education and care sector responded to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It shows the resiliency of the sector around the world as it grappled with a rapidly changing environment of uncertainty and complexity. Drawing on a diverse range of early childhood education and care contexts, the book captures real-life examples of how COVID-19 impacted children, educators and teachers, and families. Chapters present cases of the particular challenges that COVID-19 presented in a wide range of countries and then how they responded to these challenges – challenges that tested the resilience of children, educators and teachers, and families. By forward anchoring, each chapter examines the opportunities that arose from these challenges and how new local knowledge was produced as new ways were found to support children, educators and teachers, and families during this time. This book offers early childhood education and care a timely resource on lessons learnt from a once-in-a-lifetime event. It offers the sector a way forward to commit to developing new ways of thinking and working that stem from the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Download book:

Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment:

A Handbook on Early Childhood Development Education in South Africa

His is a scholarly text depicting a robust presentation of the tenets of Africanisation of education in South Africa. This book is:

  • Endorsing a play-based philosophy for an active, competent child aligned with the South African National Curriculum Statement for Early Childhood Education;
  • Promoting critical reflection about professional practice with the aim of creating “thinking teachers”;
  • Underpinned by theorising in Early Childhood Education, demonstrating the shift away from a decolonised past to a transformative future reflective of a democratic South Africa;
  • Shaped by national and global research relevant to learning and development of children from birth to four years;
  • Peer reviewed and validated as comprehensive and deep in its treatment of various areas of educational practice in early years; and
  • Written by an author team of local and international early childhood academics involved in initial teacher education.

Published: 2022
Ebrahim, H (Ed.);
Waniganayake, M (Ed.);
Hannaway, D (Ed.);
Modise, M (Ed.)

Download book:

Early Childhood Care and Education at the Margins African Perspectives on Birth to Three

A Handbook on Early Childhood Development Education in South Africa

The importance of early childhood care and education (ECCE) in the lives of very young children is gaining increasing attention around the globe and yet there is a persistent lack of diverse knowledge perspectives on this critical phase. This stems from dominant Eurocentric framings of early childhood research, and related theories. Early Childhood Care and Education at the Margins provides contextual accounts of ECCE in Africa in order to build multiple perspectives and to promote responsive thought and actions.

The book is an entry point to knowledge production for birth to three in Africa and responds to the call for the field to be in dialogue with different perspectives that attempt to map concepts, debates and contemporary concerns. In this book, a group of African authors, representing both Anglophone and Francophone Africa, provide insider’s perspectives on a wide range of geographic, cultural and thematic positions. In so doing, they show the breadth and depth of ideas on which the ECCE field draws. The chapters in the volume highlight a range of topics including poverty, early socialisation, local care practices, gendered roles, and service provision. They open up important points of departure for thinking about ECCE policy, practice, theory and research.

The book presents African perspectives in a globalising world. It is therefore suitable for an international readership. It includes cross-cultural comparisons as well as critiques of dominant discourses which will be of particular interest to academics, researchers and postgraduate students active in the field of ECCE, childhood studies, cultural studies and comparative education.

Download book:

Early Childhood Education for Muslim Children Rationales and practices in South Africa

Changing Development Narratives in Early Childhood Education, Care, and Development.
Early Childhood Education for Muslim Children foregrounds the marginalised perspective of Muslim children aged three to five and examines how they are cared for and educated in centre-based provision in two provinces in post-apartheid South Africa. Both theological and social science perspectives are carefully interwoven to make sense of the construction of service provision for Muslims as a minority group in a secular democracy. This book uses a qualitative, reflexive approach to amplify the voices of mothers, managers and teachers as the community of agents who shape priorities for young children in the context of a rapidly transforming society. The research demonstrates that the quest to establish an appropriate care network and a sound educative environment for Muslim children is riddled with complexities, struggles and tensions. In the light of changes in the home-based network for early education, centre-based provision has become an important infrastructure for Muslim communities seeking one-stop academic and Islamic education. The internal struggles encountered in this form of provision include inequities in access, struggles to package an appropriate curriculum, and dealing with nurturance specific to the faith and for cultural formations supportive of citizenship. This book calls for critical engagement with issues of religious education in early childhood, social cohesion, formal systematic teacher education for Muslim teachers, curriculum development and parental support. It will contribute not only to the development of early education from an Islamic perspective but will also demonstrate how to expand discourses and practices to deal with diversity and faith development in early years. As such, it will appeal to academics, researchers, and postgraduate students in the fields of early childhood education, religious studies, race and ethnic studies, and childhood studies

Published: 2015/16;
Author: Hasina Banu Ebrahim

Download book:

Complexities, Capacities, Communities:

Changing Development Narratives in Early Childhood Education, Care, and Development.

The term ‘capacity building’ has come into common usage in 21st century international development. While the term means different things to different people, it is often used to describe an infusion of knowledge or skills to help ‘build’ a government’s or institution’s ability to address key development challenges.  However, like other well intentioned interventions from the industrialized West, such ‘capacity building’ can have destructive as well as productive impacts. This volume problematizes such activities and presents an alternative approach to promoting capacity in development contexts.

Published: 2015/16;

Alan Pence;

Allison Benner

Download book:

Indigenous Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Curriculum Framework for Africa: A Focus on Context and Contents

The history of human childhoods and efforts to care for and educate children during their early years of life has focused almost exclusively on models with origins from continents outside Africa. These models have been advocated as the universal ideals for early childhood care and education. This booklet represents a milestone in Africa’s struggles to document the preparation of its children for life. Since the focal ‘child’ is African, it advocates for a variety of developmental practices that can run concurrently with, and/or help re-form, existing western based approaches.

Published:  2014; Open Access
Patience Awopegba;
Esther Oduolowu;
A. Bame Nsamenang

Download book:

Locally Relevant and Quality ECCE Programmes: Implications of research on indigenous African Child Development and Socialization

Most sub-Saharan African societies display linguistic diversity, rapid social change, rural-urban contrasts in lifestyle and widespread biculturation. Planning and delivery of early childhood care and education (ECCE) services in the region have been constrained by the legacy of Western colonial occupation, low prevalence of literacy and limited institutionalization of systematic research. Some international agencies tend to construe ECCE as a compensatory intervention for children disadvantaged by poverty, primarily to prepare them for formal schooling. The design of ECCE services in Africa should focus on local strengths including indigenous games and music, emphasize community-based provision, incorporate participation by pre-adolescent children; use indigenous African languages and local funds of knowledge; and accord priority to inclusion of children with special needs. Strategies are identified to address the challenges confronting application of these recommendations.

Published:  2014; Open Access

Robert Serpell;
A. Bame Nsamenang

Download book:

Africa's Future, Africa's Children Early Childhood Care and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

This book presents a balanced collection of articles written by African and non-African authors ranging from field practitioners to academicians and from members of government organizations to those of non-governmental and local organizations. Topics covered include the rationale for investing in children, policy trends in ECD, historical perspectives of ECD in SSA including indigenous approaches, threats from HIV/AIDS, and the importance of fathers in children’s lives.

Published:  2008; 

Marito Garcia;

Alan Pence;

Judith L. Evans

Download book:

Would you like to signup for our newsletter?

We release a newsletter with updates and details of upcoming events, projects underway, and new information concerning ECD in Africa. Our newsletter will also have the latest news articles released on our blog and partner web platforms.