The Conference

A national conference focused on 'Building High Quality ECD research and practice in South Africa: Birth to Grade R’.

Early childhood research with its concerns for young children, their families and communities is emerging in low and middle income countries. The growing need for evidence to inform policy and practice is motivated by national priorities, as well as continental and international agendas. Empirical evidence is drawn from a variety of disciplines and different contexts to showcase the value of paying attention to the early years for individual and societal outcomes.

In South Africa, early childhood research sits uncomfortably with practice in the field. There are unfolding events that create an urgency to explore the need for research and the link between research and practice. Limited research draws attention to the split preschool system of birth to four and Grade R, the implementation of policies including curriculum frameworks, the concerns about access with quality, conditions of service of the workforce, lack of career pathing, inequities and fragmentation of the practice field. Of late, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought on a flurry of rapid assessments informed by online surveys to deal with early childhood in crisis punctuated by sector and workforce preservation. Research is conducted by non-governmental organisations, government ministries and higher education institutions with postgraduate offerings with a research component. The South African Journal of Childhood Education affords early childhood researchers opportunities to publish their research.

Whilst there is some movement in the visibility of early childhood research, the concern continues to be the impact on practice. The disconnection between research and practice is counter-productive to advancing the field of early childhood development, care and education in South Africa. Deliberate action is required to bring the “strange bedfellows” of research and practice closer together. This conference unites the research and practice community in the preschool years, namely, birth to Grade R. In so doing, it is envisaged that researchers and practitioners will:

• begin to see birth to Grade R as the preschool years
• form closer relationships for research and practice
• position themselves as critically reflective practitioners
• network for mutually beneficial capacity building and agenda setting

The conference is organised bearing the above in mind. Each presentation selected for the conference requires presenters to speak about the implications of their work for research and/or practice. In this way we hope to forge greater links between researchers and practitioners in the early years.


 A national conference hosted by the South African Research 

 Association for Early Childhood Education (SARAECE). 

 In partnership with the Centre for Early Childhood Development. 

 Hosted by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). 


 13 - 14 July 2021 


Conference Details

Date: 13 and 14 July 2021

Hosted digitally, via Microsoft Teams.



Conference fees:

Full Registration fee (2 days) R600
SARAECE Members fee (2 days) R500

Conference fees includes: conference programme,

abstracts and the link to the live conference stream.


Conference fees payment:

Once you have registered, please make payment to the following account:


Banking details: Registration Fees are to be paid to UNISA
Account name:  UNISA
Account number: 62799625200
Branch code:  210-554
Swift code:  FIRNZAJJ

Please cite reference as follows:  SARAECE Conf + your surname

Send proof of payment to:


READ Instructions for Presenters and delegates here:


An Important Note:
The schedule for this conference programme contains the times and details for each session. You will also find links to the online PDFs of each presentation abstract. Please read these if you require more information on the session. All abstracts can also be found at this link.

The schedule also contains all the links to join the Microsoft Teams sessions. Simply click on the link before the designated start time, and you will be redirected to the presentation session.


Call for Presentations

Guided by the theme of the conference, presentations on ’Making Grade R & ECD Work’ are invited. We are specifically seeking presentations on the following themes

Guidelines for those who wish to present at the conference:

Abstracts should be between 300-350 words. Abstracts must be submitted online.

To submit your abstract, please click on the button below. 

Presentation submission deadline: 16h00 on Friday, 6 March 2020

Unfortunately, no late submissions will be considered.

Call for Presentations

SARAECE takes this opportunity to invite delegates from all over the world to submit abstracts that have links with the following themes. Deadline for submissions is 31 May 2021.

• The early childhood research sector and practices in South Africa
• The split preschool system of birth to four and Grade R
• The implementation of policies including curriculum frameworks
• The concerns about access with quality
• Conditions of service of the workforce and the lack of career pathing
• Inequities and fragmentation of the practice field
• The effects of COVID19 on ECD programmes and research in SA

• Developing Human Resources for ECCE & Grade R
• Is professionalization equal to Quality?
• Professional Identities
• Families and Community Engagement
• Care and Education in the early years
• Adaptations within the landscape of a pandemic
• Curriculum and Assessment
• Leadership and Management in ECD
• Policy and Practice

• Transformative Pedagogy- Culturally responsive pedagogy; Inclusive pedagogy; Pedagogy of play; Pedagogy and the 4th Industrial Revolution

Guidelines for those who wish to present at the conference:

Abstracts should be between 300-350 words. Abstracts must be submitted online.

To submit your abstract, please click on the button below. 

Abstract submission deadline: 16h00 on Monday 31 May 2021

Unfortunately, no late submissions will be considered.


The Organisers

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The South Africa Research Association for Early Childhood Education, founded in 2011, is a research association that promotes research and research development in the field of early childhood education (ECE), including teacher education and development for ECE. Research is aimed at providing improved teacher education and training as well as providing mentorship, support and guidance to teachers and practitioners in the field of ECD. SARAECE has built capacity in establishing relationships with NPOs and NGOs as well as other associated interest groups in the discipline who currently contribute substantively to the aims and benefits of the SARAECE. To find out more, please visit our website:

The Centre for Early Childhood Development, founded in 1994, is a non-profit organisation committed to putting young children first by ensuring quality early childhood development for our country’s youngest citizens.


We provide training, resources and support in the field of early childhood development, enhancing individual and organisation capacity; we develop and disseminate resources; and we carry out research specifically related to the African context. To find out more, please visit our website:

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology is a university at the heart of technology education and innovation in Africa. An internationally acclaimed institution, it is the only university of technology in the Western Cape and is the largest university in the region with an enrolment of more than 30 000 students. The university has six faculties offering a wide range of accredited undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the fields of Applied Sciences, Business, Education and Social Sciences, Engineering, Informatics and Design as well as Health and Wellness Sciences. To find out more, please visit our website:

Happy Kids with Books

Post Conference

Please visit the website after the conference has happened. We will

upload photographs, presentations and the delegate list.

Delegate List

Contact Us

Get in touch with us to learn more about the conference and if you have any queries.

For more information about the conference please contact Arlene Diedericks on 072 5611706

or email

Connect with Us

Connect with us on Social Media here:

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CPUT Facebook and Twitter:

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