Keeping our youngest children safe at local crèches

2018-07-17 06:00
Over 80 ECD teachers recently obtained their police clearance, which enhances each ECD centre’s credibility to providing quality care to young children.

Over 80 ECD teachers recently obtained their police clearance, which enhances each ECD centre’s credibility to providing quality care to young children.

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Parents want a safe place for their children to go to while they are at work. One measure of this is whether a crèche is a registered centre.

What parents will find though is that fewer than one in five crèches in the greater Lavender Hill area is currently registered with Department of Social Development, but not through the lack of will of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) founder.

ECD centres face red tape, delays and financial constraints in the registration process, making it a real challenge.

“Government support is only given to ECD centres once they meet basic compliance requirements. There is little support to help them reach the minimum standards,” explains Leanne Reid, project director of Learning in Reach.

Learning in Reach is working with the centres to systematically address the registration requirements, from installing toilets and weatherproofing facilities to first aid training and staff security clearances.

Learning in Reach recently helped 85 ECD staff with their security screening. This goes a long way to safeguarding children who are in a crèche’s care.

“The resilient and strong women running ECD centres work tirelessly on the ground to support young children.

“Many have opened their homes out of their love for and care of the children in their communities.

“International research shows that quality early childhood development, providing a safe space, the right kind of stimulation, supported by a caring adult, can change have a life-changing impact on the child’s future development and growth.

“It can help them to learn better, change attitudes and behaviour and open up opportunities for a better future.

“There are 28 existing ECD centres that we are working with in the greater Lavender Hill area and two in the pipeline.

“They simply need a hand up and support to be able to deliver quality early childhood education. The will already exists to offer a better pathway to young people of the community,” says Reid.

The organisation is appealing to businesses and individuals to empower quality ECD by signing up as a business mentor or joining their crowdfunding drive to address the infrastructure and training needs, accelerating the transformation of this sector.

“The challenges can be addressed quickly, with focus and resolve, and will result in a much safer and richer learning and nurturing environment for the children of Lavender Hill,” she says.

V Tomorrow, on Mandela Day, Learning in Reach is hosting an ECD showcase at Workshop 17 at the V&A Watershed. Contact 076 401 8503 or 67@learninginreach­.­org.za to book.

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