The South African Context

Research shows that the most rapid brain development occurs before the age of 5. In the first 3 years of a child’s life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. Early experiences and the environments in which children develop in their earliest years can have lasting impact on later success in school and in life.

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Many children in the Winelands region of South Africa are exposed to challenging home and community circumstance.
• Approximately 50% of children below the age of 5 are affected by abject poverty, 6% of them have special needs 
• Less than 50% of learners who enrolled in Grade 1 in 2002, graduated Grade 12 in 2014 
• 60% of children under the age of 4 do not have access to any form of ECD programs 
• Almost 21% of children under the age of 5 are stunted through malnutrition 
• 38% of the population, under the age of 35, are unemployed 
• 18.5% of the population are infected with HIV/AIDS 

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Early Childhood Development is life-changing. Success is rooted in creating a positive learning environment, enabling access to nutritious food, and establishing solid support systems from the earliest stage of a child’s life. The IF philosophy is centered on a Montessori-based approach to education and learning.

What Is Montessori

“A different world needs different education. Beauty and simplicity connected to nature are the strands of a rare approach to learning that integrates head, heart, and hands in creativity and imagination.” Eve Annecke, Founder & Lecturer, SUSTAINABILITY INSTITUTE

Montessori education offers children the opportunity to develop to their full potential as they grow into adults who are self-motivated and love learning, can think flexibly, and who are not only conscious of the needs of others but actively foster harmony as they go through life.

Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori-method of education is a child-centred educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.

In education, barriers to opportunities based on socio-economic circumstances may inhibit the success of children and their families. Providing children with high-quality Montessori education and positive early learning experiences aims to help counterbalance the effects of adversity, treat the effects of spectrum disorders, and lead to positive life outcomes.

“The education of even a very small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.” Dr.Maria Montessori

An Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) teacher has a deep understanding of child development. Through the Indaba Institute’s training program, educators will be well prepared to guide children towards productive and challenging experiences, both individually and collectively, providing South African Winelands children with the best possible start in life.


“I think it was part of that (Montessori) training of not following rules and orders, and being self-motivated, questioning what’s going on in the world and doing things a little bit differently”

Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google and CEO of Alphabet on the secret to his success