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The City’s Delft ECD facility, built at a cost of just over R12,5 million, can accommodate 196 children and boasts a number of environmentally friendly features. It was officially opened today, 30 October 2017. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town’s latest Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) is officially open for business.

The ECD in Delft was first conceptualised in 2014. It is the first facility in the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department’s ECD portfolio that is constructed using predominantly alternative building methods.

The building comprises a steel frame structure enhanced by tyres, eco-bricks, glass bottles, straw bales, compressed earth bricks, and cob (a mixture of clay, straw and sand). Reclaimed construction materials were also used, including 1 500 m² of pavers taken from a demolition site. As a result, the building was approximately 30% cheaper to construct than a conventional structure.

An operator has been appointed, with enrolments set to start soon for 2018.‘This is an important development for the community of Delft. We know that there is a dire shortage of quality ECD facilities in Cape Town and in fact the country. This facility will help relieve some of the pressure, but the reality is that we need to do much more to fast-track access to ECDs that meet the requirements of the Children’s Act. The importance of foundation phase learning in a safe and secure environment cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that it can have a profound impact on the rest of a child’s life,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

The Delft ECD project also included a significant community upliftment component, incorporating local labour and a transfer of skills in alternative building methods. The Natural Building Collective trained the local community in the construction of tyre and bottle walls, cob and clay plaster, and manufacturing of clay bricks, among others. The Collective has also donated a training centre to the City that will be situated at the ECD. The centre will continue training residents in the use of alternative building methods.

‘There are a number of lessons to take from this ECD project. What started as an idea for a quality learning facility for children has evolved into something that has much wider benefit for the community at large. This includes the transfer of tangible skills, but also a potentially effective way of waste management which in turn is good for the environment. It is a prime example of how we can create better synergy between communities, the private sector and the City, in line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Area Central, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.

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