While over 1400 students are preparing to become Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers, the College of Cape Town is also shaping young minds through its state-of-the-art daycare centre.The centre, a form of which has been run on the college’s Gardens campus for 24 years, will open in the new year alongside a new building to house the departments of Education and Training and Primary Health on the Crawford campus.The Crawford campus houses various departments such as Business Studies, Information Technology, Education and Training, and Primary Health. Demand far outstrips the capacity of the facilities and the college has embarked on a major project to meet this need, explains campus manager Melody Marescia.Traditionally, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes have a strong practical component and any institution should accommodate this in the very design of their buildings, believes Marescia. This is one of the many benefits of the daycare centre: It will serve as a model of best practice in the field of early childhood and pre-primary education, allowing college students to learn valuable practical skills.The daycare centre will cater to children from three months to five years of age. The centre is equipped with observation rooms so that students can observe first-hand the learning activities in a well-run classroom. Visitors from other centres can be accommodated through short courses and workshops. Not only does it answer to the needs of the students who wish to study in the field, but ECD centres in the area will also benefit through educational opportunities. Music and art facilities form an integral part of any daycare centre programme. It is important that students have a venue where they can learn how to incorporate this in their daily activities. “The entrance to the daycare centre is next to the memorial site of the Trojan Horse Massacre of 1985. As young lives enter the gates every day to enjoy a fun-filled educational experience at the daycare centre, we are reminded of young lives tragically lost, the daily plight of our children and the responsibility we have to our future generation,” adds Marescia.