68% of kids under 4 not in child centres

2012-02-02 21:34

Johannesburg - About 68% of children aged 4 and below do not go to early childhood development (ECD) centres, a new study has shown.

Gauteng was the province with the highest number of children (43%) attending such centres in 2010, according to the SA Institute of Race Relations' (SAIRR) latest SA Survey.

The Western Cape followed with 39%, SAIRR researcher Jonathan Snyman said in a statement on Thursday.

The Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal registered the lowest attendance figures of 20 and 25% respectively.

Centres include crèches, playgroups, nursery schools, and pre-primary schools.

"Access to ECD centres is critically important to aiding a child’s social and mental development and also helps them to prepare for foundation phase education," said Snyman.

Figures varied across race groups. The survey found that 55% of white children attended development centres, 37% of Indian children, 31% of black children, and 27% of coloured children.

The findings were based on data supplied by Statistics SA.

  • bernpm - 2012-02-02 21:48

    "Access to ECD centres is critically important to aiding a child’s social and mental development and also helps them to prepare for foundation phase education," said Snyman. It is also the most critical phase in the bonding with the parents.

      Max - 2012-02-02 22:25

      I couldn't agree with you more, ECD centres is only an option if both the parents must work and therefore cannot look after their child during the day. It is far better for the child to stay home with a parent and play. Don't try and prepare a child for the foundation phase that is what the foundation phase is there for. Children must play at that age.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-02-05 10:50

      I agree. Back in my day there was no such thing, these notions have occurred since both parents have had to work to survive. There is NOTHING better for a child than parents in the home. My niece started 'school' this year and I thought shame, why get institutionalised so early, she has the rest of her life for other people to tell her what to do and when to do it.

  • Ben - 2012-02-02 21:49

    How many parents can afford to send their children to child centres. If we work on percentages, do we include the unemployed? Which percentage receive a monthly allowance for each child, of which only some are employed.

  • Makatikamusona - 2012-02-02 21:53

    Child Centers are expensive this days.

      Karmah - 2012-02-03 01:16

      There should be no price on a childs development.

  • lynda.smith - 2012-02-02 21:55

    The challenge in this debate is to help parents understand how important the early years are and turn every household in SA into an early learning centre. Parents need to be equipped to take responsibility for this.I am part of a team called BrainBoosters that is trying to implement this and change the future for all children in our Nation.Go to for more information.

      Ben - 2012-02-02 22:07

      Lynda, what you say is true. It is equally important that people have food, but if you do not have money, although you realise this, you cannot have it. The well-being of the people depends on whether they are employed or not. The unemployment figure is very high and of those in employment a few earn over R1m p.a. A large percentage have to get by with under R50000 p.a.

      lynda.smith - 2012-02-02 22:32

      Ben you are right. Before you can consider these things, you have to look after the basics of food and shelter.Our program is a transformation process ( BEE solution) for both employees and the unemployed. Until we find solutions that affect the most vulnerable we cannot transform our society. We all want the best for our children and I would love to see dignity restored to parents as part of this process.

      darkangelBDF - 2012-02-03 08:25

      My sisters and I didn't attend these centres as children. I went to school at age 6 and my sisters at 7. We are successful in our careers and definitely weren't left behind because we didn't go. Maybe that's because we were nurtured as children and taught fundamentals by our parents. Oh, then there's also the fact that education levels back then were higher than they are now.

  • jdvos - 2012-02-02 21:58

    Thank you bernpm. I attended a brainwave seminar and learnt that children are really only ready to be seperated from their caregiver at the age of 3. Before then they should be with their 'mother/father' as it is from these people that they learn the best. If you have the option of being at home with your children then do so. It is far less stressful for your child and helps with their development now and later on in life. And of course I could go on and on...

  • fanie.oosthuizen - 2012-02-02 22:01

    @Jonathan Snyman: Are you a parent or are you a scientist with no practical exposure? Social and mental development start at the home of the parents who care for their children and not at a centre for development like you advised. Please use medical research as the basis for your theories and then all the above statistical hypothesis will fall apart. Rather do a study to find what is needed to be a fit parent and how to address te problem of people who have children just to receive a grant.

  • Charmaine Paterson - 2012-02-02 22:18

    As far as i am concerned, ECD under the age of 5 should be as informal as possible. Much of our life is spent in a structured environment once we start school. Children learn through play and emulating their elders, not by putting pressure on them from such a young age to conform to a certain standard.

  • The-Azanian - 2012-02-02 22:48

    i also didnt go.

  • Sharmay - 2012-02-03 08:16

    My son has just turned 3 and started at a nursery school at the beginning of January. This is not because of the fact that I need to work, it's because I feel it is necessary. I cannot express enough how much my child has learned. I taught him as much as I could at home but at some point, he needed to learn some social skills by spending time with other kids his age. I happily pay for that. His talking has improved and he seems to have picked up some very nice habits from the other kids (washing hands without throwing a tantrum and actually eating his dinner) that he didn't want to do with me at home. Its a pity that many people cannot afford a nursery school fee monthly but another alternative is to find a domestic that can assist at home that has been on a child education and safety course or go on a course yourself. It's not expensive and the skills you can teach your child are invaluable.

  • ronzaled - 2012-02-03 08:38

    That's just bull crap;ECD's are expensive, its only an option for parents who have to work but other than that kids needs their parents very much especially that early in their life. i didn't go to any ECD and i turn out alright, the last time i checked atleast

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