The law and early childhood development centres

It is a fact that Early Childhood Development Centres in South Africa like any other established business operate under the country’s legislative framework. Compliance of Early Childhood Development facilities is critical because the compliance ensures proper safety oversight by the Government and its mandated training and experience for staff to care for children is adhered to.

It is from this background that Early Childhood Development (ECD) Upliftment Projects and Consulting was established to help reduce the number of Early Childhood Development Centres operating illegally. ECD upliftment Projects and Consulting assists ECD Centres to move from non-compliant to full compliant status in approximately 16 months which leads to ECD Centres optimising learner intake, increasing funding prospects and increasing profits.

What are the dangers of running an illegal ECD Centre?

Early Childhood Development is covered in the Children’s Act, the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy, the National Development Plan, just to mention a few.  To operate an ECD Centre, one needs to receive Consent from Town Planning, then register with the Department of Health and finally register with the Department of Social Development.

Once all inspections are done to the premises by the various departments and, if all is in order, Consent will be granted.

The next step will be for the owner to lodge an application with the Department of Health as well as the Department of Social Development.  These applications will include information such as the number of children to be accommodated, the qualifications of the applicant and its staff, the business hours of the facility, curriculum offered at the various age groups, to mention just a few.  Should the premises be found compliant, the Departments will then issue a certificate for the facility. The certificate will reflect important information such as the number of children for which the premises is suitable, the hours of operation and the owner’s details. Registered ECD Centres are routinely inspected by the district Environmental Health Practitioner. Failure to adhere to laid down legislation and policies can result in serious legal penalties or even closure.

As a parent or guardian, what do you look for when searching for an ECD Centre?

  1. Watch how the providers interact with the children. Is there one-on-one time and conversation? Do the caregivers speak in cheerful, patient tones?
  2. Listen to the children. Do they sound happy and involved? Too much noise may signal a lack of control; too little may mean a lack of activity.
  3. Count the ratio of children to staff members.
  4. Interview the Owner or Principal of the ECD Centre. Ask if the Practitioners and care givers are trained in early child development and how many years of experience do they have.
  5. Inquire about the frequency of staff turnover and ask about the compliance status of the ECD Centre.

The information above is a very small drop in the ocean as to how ECD Centres operate in relation to the law. More detailed information will follow on the compliance of ECD Centres. For more information regarding ECD centres, you can visit www.ecdupliftmentprojects.co.za.

 

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