The first presentation for the day The Promise: The Power of the Early Years, was presented by Linda Biersteker, Early Childhood Policy and Programming specialist. Linda opened the floor to get the participants views on the following statement, “The image of the child that dominates media, science and policy today is not valued for what he or she “is” but on what he or she can “become” as part of a broader, global, economic agenda.” The second part of the question was how this image shapes the way that society provides for early childcare and education. Linda gave a reality check that each year seven million children worldwide do not survive to see their fifth birthday. Linda brought up the need to understand major risks and pathways for ECD outcome. The child’s psychological developmental outcome is based on sensory-motor, social and emotional, cognitive, language and health development all being interlinked. The access and quality realities need to be looked at as well. Challenges are the divide between rural and urban communities, children under two being the age group that has the least access to early stimulation, the large private provision and the growing number of compulsory grade zero classes that are not always free of charge. The poor ECD services in impoverished areas was paralleled to the lack of quality and delivery in more advantaged areas as well, bringing to light the poor quality of ECD delivery nationally. Linda raised a point of reflection, asking the participants to reflect on whether there were access and quality issues in the context of where one was situated. She noted that traditionally, children learnt through participation, observing then practising, play, routine and work. In some communities, play is not seen as a separate activity and as a result, play is often constructed around gender roles.