IN HER Letter, "Pre-School Vacuum" (Cape Times, July 5), Jane Bodin Hit the Nail on the Head When She Stated: "The Most Important Time for a Child's Education Is Up to Six Years."

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IN HER letter, "Pre-school vacuum" (Cape Times, July 5), Jane Bodin hit the nail on the head when she stated: "The most important time for a child's education is up to six years."

If the government is really serious about addressing the crisis in education, this is where the start has to be made.

Proper training is a vital component.

I was trained at the pre-school training college in Johannesburg in the 1950s that was a relatively autonomous branch of the Witwatersrand Technical College. It was for "white" students only, but because of the calibre of the staff and the original founders, the college ran vibrant outreach programmes in Soweto.

The training course ran for three years, covering aspects of early childhood such as nutrition, physical, psychological and public health, creative arts and story-telling.

Three pre-schools were attached to the college where students did practical work. Further practical work was carried out at different schools in the community.

Having qualified in 1960, I worked for some years for the Johannesburg City Council that was responsible for pre-schools in the low-income and fairly racially mixed areas of Fordsburg, Vrededorp, Newlands, Judith Paarl and La Rochelle. …