Cape Town spends more on early childhood development

3 June 2014

Cape Town has allocated R16-million for the construction of more early childhood development (ECD) centres across the city in 2014/15, it was announced at a recent tabling of the city’s budget.

Speaking at the meeting, 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.

In the new financial year, Little said, the department would expand the programmes initiated in the previous financial year and continue investing in capital projects.

The directorate has budgeted nearly R16-million to build more ECD centres in Delft, Mitchells Plain, Dunoon, Ocean View, Heideveld and Lotus River.

Little said that in 2013/14, the City had spent over R7-million on building a number of ECD centres, completing the Leonsdale and Scorpio centres in Elsies River and Ocean View. The new Strandfontein centre was also on track for completion, she said.

“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.

“Children need a solid start in life,” Little said. “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.”

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,” she said.