ECD centres commitment

Early Childhood Development

An amount of R16 million has been allocated for the construction of more Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres of excellence across the City of Cape Town.

The city’s Social Development and ECD Directorate announced this at the recent tabling of the City’s budget, where it unveiled its ECD spending plans for the 2014/15 financial year.

Making the announcement, Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and ECD, Suzette Little, said the City remained committed to giving young children a safe learning environment at ECD level. This, she said, would prepare them for their formal schooling.

ECD centres of excellence

Little said in the current (2013/14) financial year, the ECD Department has spent over R7 million on the construction of a number of ECD centres of excellence – completing the Leonsdale and Scorpio centres in Elsies River and Ocean View.

The new Strandfontein centre is also on track for completion.

“In addition, the department has exceeded its targets for the number of initiatives to help ECD centres become compliant so that they can register with the Western Cape Social Development Department, and has also provided training to 165 ECD practitioners on the national norms and standards for these facilities,” Little highlighted.

In the new financial year, Little said, the department will expand the programmes initiated in the previous financial year and will continue investing in capital projects. The directorate has budgeted nearly R16 million to build more ECD centres of excellence in Delft, Mitchells Plain, Dunoon, Ocean View, Heideveld and Lotus River.

“Children need a solid start in life. We are making a massive investment in early childhood development by building these centres of excellence, as part of our goal of getting to the point where every child has access to a facility that can provide the building blocks so crucial to their future.

“The importance of well-functioning ECD centres cannot be overstated as part of this administration’s efforts to build a caring city. A child who receives the right kind of stimulation in their early developmental years will no doubt cope better when they enter the formal education system, and so it is important that we do everything within our power to ensure that our ECD centres are able to fulfil this very crucial role in the lives of our children,” said Little.

Partnerships with communities

Little stressed the importance of partnerships with communities, insisting that parents share in the responsibility of ensuring that their children get ahead.

“I encourage residents to approach the authorities to find out how you can get involved in the development of the community by, for example, starting a food garden. In some cases, there is the option of volunteering at a local school for those who are unable to pay the school fees. Our responsibility towards our children must take priority at all times, to ensure that they grow up to be active, well-functioning members of society,” said Little.

On Sunday, the world observed International Children’s Day to draw attention to children’s issues.

SA this week marks Child Protection Week. –