Monday, 18 April 2016, marked the official start of construction of the Delft Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre of Excellence.
This is the last of three such projects to be undertaken by the City of Cape Town for the current 2015/16 financial year.
The R12m construction project is anticipated to be completed in February 2017 and it is envisioned to accommodate approximately 160 children in phase one, which can be extended to 400 in phase two should the need arise. The facility on the corner of Cork Tree and Sapele Road, Delft will also have its own food garden which will supply the centre with a variety of fresh produce. The centre will have a toy library as well as an educational outdoor play area.
Two more ECD projects
The Delft Centre of Excellence is one three construction projects started by the city’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate in the current financial year. The Nantes Centre of Excellence in Athlone is making good progress as construction is envisioned to be completed in July 2016, while construction of the Golden Gate ECD in Netreg is completed and the process to appoint an operator is under way.
"This sod-turning ceremony signals the beginning of a better future for the children of Delft, but also brings us one step closer to closing the gap in the early childhood development sector. There are not enough facilities for ECD centres. A 2009 study commissioned by the City proved as much. So we have been chipping away at the backlog year after year, trying to build or refurbish as many properties as possible to help alleviate the need. The city owns more than two dozen ECD facilities which we lease to private operators. This facility in Delft will be no different and I look forward to its completion so that the community may reap the benefits," said the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.
Access to toys and educational materials
Apart from constructing ECD centres of excellence, the directorate is also working 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 resource section will go a long way towards building a culture of life-long learning within communities.
In addition, the city also provides training to ECD staff on learning outcomes and child safety, helps unregistered ECDs comply with health, fire safety and planning regulations so that they may register with the Western Cape Government’s Department of Social Development, and provides learning materials and equipment like toys and fire safety kits to ECDs.