Home Learning Environment Tool

Measures home aspects associated with early language, numeracy and cognitive functioning in preschool aged children.


A child’s early learning and development is influenced at the home – their first early learning environment. The ELOM Home Learning Environment Tool (HLE) is a short questionnaire designed to measure home aspects associated with early language, numeracy and cognitive functioning for children aged 2-7 years old.

During a 15-minute interview the primary caregiver is asked questions about themselves and their child(ren). The ELOM HLE assesses the following:

  • The Early Learning Resources Score: the total number of children’s books in the home and the availability of bought or homemade toys, household utensils and other objects used for play.
  • The Early Learning Activities Score: early learning activities conducted with the child at home, including reading, telling stories, singing songs, going out together, playing, naming things, counting, drawing and painting.
  • Caregiver Time with the Child Score: the amount of time a caregiver has spent with the child in the week and during the weekend.

The interview items have been rigorously tested to ensure that they are valid and reliable. The questions are based on internationally recognised measures and are designed specifically for use in South Africa. The tool is available in all 11 official languages and can be used alongside the ELOM 4 & 5 Assessment and the ELOM 6 & 7 Assessment, to provide a broader contextual understanding of developmental outcomes.


There are two ways in which you can access this tool: Download the pdf version of this tool OR apply to access the digital tool. The ELOM User Journey and Pricing Packages provide further information on the use and cost of using the digital tool. 


This document describes the development of the Home Learning Environment (HLE) interview schedule, and provides indicators and measures for use in research and programme evaluation.


An Interview with the primary caregiver which takes approximately 15 minutes. The tool can be administered digitally or using a paper based questionnaire.

It is useful for anyone wanting to gather information about children’s home learning environments, such as ECD organisations, researchers and M&E specialists. It can help explain early learning assessment scores and provide information on the strengths and weaknesses of children’s home environments.

No formal training is needed, but basic interview skills are required.

Costs depend on the amount of support required from the DataDrive2030 team and a cost estimate is provided once a request is received. We aim to keep the costs as low as possible and to subsidise costs for smaller non-profit organisations to enable their use of the tools.

It is available in all 11 of South Africa’s official languages.


The following case studies illustrate how the ELOM Home Learning Environment Tool can be used.