ECD Indicators and Nutritional Status of Grade R Children: An Interest to Social Workers




early childhood development, ECD programmes, ECD policy, school social work, ECD centre, stimulation


Provision of early childhood development (ECD) stimulation and adequate nutrition should be a priority for social workers who monitor ECD programmes. The objective of this study was to assess and describe ECD indicators in the context of the nutritional status of preschool children in an underprivileged community of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. A descriptive, cross-sectional study design was selected using a quantitative approach. The study population consisted of children older than 60 months, and in Grade R classes. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to determine associations between the nutritional status and ECD indicators. Children in the sample (n = 105) had a mean height-for-age z-score (HAZ) of −0.68 (SD = 0.91), with 11 children of the sample classified as stunted or short for their age. The assessments of the ECD indicators revealed that 30 per cent of the participants’ ability levels in the domains of social-emotional development, physical-motor development and cognitive development did not meet age-appropriate requirements. Stunted children performed worse across all domains, particularly in terms of physical-motor development being significantly (p < 0.05) poorer than children with normal height for their age.


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Author Biographies

Jessica Elizabeth Ronaasen, Nelson Mandela University

Department of Social Development, Research Supervisor

Liana Steenkamp, Nelson Mandela University

(PhD Dietetics), Research Associate, Department of Dietetics, NMMU

Teresa Margaret Wilson, Nelson Mandela University

Department of Dietetics, Researcher

Danie Venter, Nelson Mandela University

Research Management, Nelson Mandela University


Diane Elkonin, Nelson Mandela University

Department of Psychology, MA (Cl) Psych; PhD





How to Cite

Ronaasen, Jessica Elizabeth, Liana Steenkamp, Teresa Margaret Wilson, Danie Venter, and Diane Elkonin. 2017. “ECD Indicators and Nutritional Status of Grade R Children: An Interest to Social Workers”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 29 (2):13 pages.



Received 2016-03-12
Accepted 2017-11-22
Published 2018-02-27