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Two of the three ECD Centres of Excellence currently under construction are nearing completion, with positive progress on the third big project. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre build programme for the current financial year is on track. The Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate set aside R11,9 million towards the construction and finalisation of three facilities in its 2015/16 budget allocation.

The Nantes ECD Centre in Athlone is scheduled for completion in May, while the process to appoint an operator for the Golden Gate ECD in Netreg is under way following the completion of the World Design Capital construction project. Construction of the Delft ECD centre is set to start in April, with completion expected in February 2017.In addition, the City is finalising the appointment of operators for the completed Ocean View ECD facility. The Fisantekraal and Strandfontein ECD facilities already have operators appointed and they are on site. While the City builds ECD facilities, these are leased by private operators and their appointment is subject to the City’s supply chain management processes.

‘There have been instances where appointing operators has taken longer than we might have hoped, but we have to follow due process. We have also been subject to unfortunate construction delays over the years, but ultimately we are working as quickly as possible to get these facilities up and running to help address the pressing need for quality ECD facilities in our most vulnerable areas,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.

The Directorate has, since 2011, implemented a number of measures to enhance the quality of and access to early childhood development opportunities for children across Cape Town. Provision of infrastructure is a key driver and the Directorate currently has 26 fully functioning ECD centres across the city that are leased to private operators.

In addition, ECD practitioners are trained on national norms and standards, while resources and support are provided to ECD centres that have yet to become registered facilities. During the 2015/16 financial year, the Directorate aims to assist 200 ECDs to become compliant so that they may register with the Western Cape Department of Social Development. This will be done through provision of resources such as first-aid kits, learning materials, blankets, and mattresses.

The Directorate is in the process of forming a partnership through a service level agreement with the City’s Library and Information Services Department to establish ECD toy library resource sections within City libraries. The aim is to provide opportunities for the ECD sector, including parents and care-givers, to have access to toys and educational materials for children. This resources section will go a long way towards building a culture of life-long learning within communities.

‘Building ECDs is one of our top priorities, but we recognise that by building partnerships with private ECD operators we can benefit more children. So we will continue providing training, services and resources to as many ECDs as our budget allows. The ultimate aim is to have everyone in a position where they not only understand but are also able to implement the norms and standards for early childhood development prescribed by the Children’s Act,’ said Councillor Little.

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