Innovation Insights: ECD Heroes Case Study

by | Feb 15, 2019 | Blog

We are pleased to introduce the Innovation Insights publication.

Through the Innovation Insights we aim to; share lessons on innovation products and processes, communicate the importance of positive early life experiences, grow and diversify the pool of early years advocates and facilitate behaviour change in support of our vision. The first issue is dedicated to the ECD Heroes Challenge, this was a platform that used gamified learning to motivate and upskill preschool teachers in South Africa.

Studies show that children who regularly attend a high-quality preschool programme perform better at school than their peers. The benefits are particularly pronounced for children from low-income communities*. Defining features of high-quality programmes include having the appropriate learning resources, a good curriculum and effective school management. At the top of the list of ‘must-haves’ is a cohort of skilled and engaging teachers**. With this in mind, the first ECD Heroes Challenge (2017) set out to explore a novel approach to training and supporting the professional development of preschool teachers in low-resourced settings. An existing digital platform, with built-in game mechanics, was adapted to spark applied learning throughout an 8-week competition.

Teachers in playgroups and preschool centres across the country signed up for a chance to improve their skill-set by completing a series of themed tasks, while competing for a range of exciting prizes and public recognition. This case study takes a look at some of what worked, what didn’t and how we might do things differently next time round.


Download the first Innovation Insights piece below

Innovation Insights_ECD Heroes Challenge


*Duncan, G. J., & Magnuson, K. (2013). Investing in preschool programs. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(2), 109-32.

**Janeli Kotzé, 2015. “The readiness of the South African education system for a pre-Grade R year,” Working Papers 15/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.