In South Africa, it is compulsory that any centre/school/crèche that cares for more than six children is registered with the Department of Social Development (DSD).
According to the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, a pre-school centre that is not registered with the DSD is operating unlawfully, and putting children at risk.
Why is registration so important and why is early childhood development so essential?
Early childhood development (ECD) addresses the emotional, social, physical and intellectual development of young children. These factors have a direct effect on the overall development of the child. Investing in young children from an early age has been proven to maximise their future well-being.
“Ensuring the healthy cognitive, social and emotional development of young children merits the highest priority of every responsible government, organisation, community, family and individual for the sake of raising healthy children worldwide. Reaching children in a holistic manner and incorporating health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and interventions that support their full development is crucial.” – Unicef
Registration with the DSD is compulsory in order to ensure the following:
the safety of every child (this includes ensuring the principal and staff have knowledge about health and development, correct food preparation, fire safety, maintaining a clean and safe environment, etc)
all staff have the required police clearance to work with children
staff have first aid training
procedures and policies are in place to ensure professional practice
the school building is safely constructed, and the centre receives the necessary visits from the Fire and Health Department to ensure a safe environment for children
staff members have the necessary qualifications to work with pre-school children
a holistic programme is being followed to ensure the child reaches developmental milestones as required for Grade R.
Parents should be aware that registration is a legal requirement and should insist that the ECD Centre their child attends is compliant. An unregistered centre provides no guarantee that any of the above mentioned requirements are being met, which could jeopardize the safety, health and development of their child.
Masikhule is the Registration Support Service Provider (as mandated by the DSD) for Somerset West, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Chris Nissen Park. They can thus be contacted by any ECD centre in these areas for assistance.
Masikhule is a registered non-profit organisation based in the Helderberg, training women from marginalised communities in ECD since 2005. Their staff have many years of experience and are keen to assist with this legally compulsory process in order to ensure all ECD centres in these areas are registered.
Any ECD centre that requires assistance with DSD registration can contact Karen Bufé at firstname.lastname@example.org, 071 610 2008, or visit www.masikhule.org
The public can locate their closest ECD centre or check on its registration status by visiting any DSD local office or by contacting 0800 220 250.