Early Childhood Development 

Early childhood development (ECD) or pre-primary education is the best way to prepare children for primary school.

There is no government provision of pre-primary education in Uganda, Zambia and South Sudan. As a result all pre-primary schools are privately or community-funded, even if they are attached to government-run primary schools.


Jumpstart! is a three year programme in Uganda which began in January 2015. Our aim was to boost the quality of pre-primary education for up to 7,700 children and generate numerous benefits for families and the wider community.

Too many children were entering school without being ‘school ready’. A great deal of teachers’ time was spent caring for children rather than teaching them. Children lacked confidence, could not use the toilet or hold a book or pen. Pre-primary education is the best way to prepare children for primary school.

The Jumpstart! programme focused on professional teacher development, constructing playgrounds, providing teaching and learning materials and sensitising the community to the importance of pre-primary education.

The importance of Jumpstart! 

Only 14% of Ugandan children have access to pre-school education, which is some way below sub-Saharan Africa’s globally poor average of 18%, and very far below the 85% of children in the UK who go to nursery or pre-primary school.


Read this piece written about Jumpstart! by the University of Roehampton’s Professor Mathias Urban, Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre