Building your Child’s Foundation

Your Child’s early years are essentially the most formative of their lives. What you feel and think and do and eat when pregnant is where it starts.

The fiber pathways that will become the network of the human brains information highway begins to form in the first month of pregnancy, just 16 days after fertilisation. An embryo forms the neural tube first, which is the earliest nervous system tissue of neural progenitor cells, which differentiate into neurons and glia, the two cell types that form the basis of the nervous system. This eventually develops into the brain and the spinal cord.

By the time your baby is born, it has an incredibly powerful and intuitively designed mind with an almost complete blood brain barrier and an intact immune system, ready to start receiving input in the form of nutrients, bacteria, sound, light and most importantly, emotions. Your baby’s brain is MOST receptive to your love and attention, and this forms the basis from which he/she will become a little person in their own right!

Round about the age of 4 years old, the child’s immune system, digestive system and brain have formed a very close knit collaboration of biological and chemical links that start working together in an unique way that boosts them into the next stage of cognitive awareness that can often result in a disruption of sleep and eating patterns.

This is a pivotal moment for your child because they will start to venture out of the peripheral motherly sphere in order to explore their environment independently. They often want to be left to do things “on their own”, and as such need this independence, but may become insecure and emotionally clingy if they feel that the structure within which to explore isn’t held safe by their primary caregivers. This period is sometimes fraught with an emotional push and pull that is difficult for both parent and child since it translates into the development of their cognition and sets the future tone of your relationship with the child.

It is thought that starting an added burden of academic learning at the same time as all of this may cause a child stress and anxiety that they couldn’t possibly navigate at such a tender age. These feelings will be counted as input rather than something to deal with and could possibly leave unseen psychological scars that could take years to heal, given the right therapy and support.

So when is the right time to start teaching your child anything kin to “school work”? What exactly does school work look like for a 5 or 6 year old? Where does the foundation stage START, and what can you do to lay a foundation for the first school foundation?

In the next article we look at what school readiness is, and why it is so important to properly assess before starting “school”.

CAPS for Foundation Phase

The National Curriculum Statement Grades R-12 (NCS) stipulates policy on curriculum and assessment in the schooling sector. To improve implementation, the National Curriculum Statement was amended, with the amendments coming into effect in January 2012. A single comprehensive Curriculum and Assessment Policy document was developed for each subject to replace Subject Statements, Learning Programme Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines in Grades R-12.

Below are the links to each DBE site per phase.

One Reply to “Building your Child’s Foundation”

  1. Homeschooling in South Africa would like to invite you to submit your articles on school readiness and what you consider to be appropriate assessment tools for the age group of 4 and 5 year old’s. The most appropriate articles will be posted here with credits to the author. Please send your submission to

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