The virtual handing over of six Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres to communities in the Gauteng Province by Deputy Minister for Social Development, the Honourable Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu this week is most welcome to us in the City of Johannesburg.
The- ECD programme falls squarely within our developmental blueprint document, the GDS 2040. Specifically, Outcome 1 of the GDS is: Improved quality of life and development-driven resilience for all.
Through this outcome, it is envisaged that by 2040, COJ is a City that is safe, secure and characterised by social inclusivity and enhanced social cohesion.
A high quality of life starts with children receiving quality Early Childhood Development. It is through this that they are likely to have the capacity to later acquire the cognitive and technical skills required for a meaningful role in the modern economy.
The GDS 2040 culminated into Mayoral Priorities of the Government of Local Unity and therefore the proposed collaboration will achieve, particularly priorities on good governance, sustainable service delivery, safer city and active and engaged citizenry.
In investing on ECD centres, we provide a platform for all our children to fulfil their talent while at the same time making a meaningful contribution to the life of this great city.
The Importance of Early Childhood Development
Research conducted on resilience has indicated that early childhood years, represents very critical years in which children need to have access to good quality care and opportunities for key areas such as learning, adequate nutrition, community support, facilitation of positive development in cognitive and social skills, as well as self-regulation. Children who have healthy attachment relationships as well as good adaptive internal resources, have a very positive start, and are often well equipped in order to enter school and society.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of compliance with basic standards with regards to Early Childhood Development.
There is no shortage of facilities or individuals able to take care of children while their parents are away eking a living for those children.
We must seriously attend to the challenge of the number of such facilities complying with rules and legislation necessary to make the principal clients of such establishments, the children derive maximum value from the facility they are left in for most of the days of their young lives.
The unacceptably high number of non-compliant ECD centres results in a high number of children’s lives subsequently being put at risk as the city command it is important that the safety and wellbeing of the child must always be at the forefront of all our interventions.
Compliance is a multi-departmental task.
That said, it must be the duty of the city to provide leadership and guidance for those who seek to do the right thing and comply. The ECD training centre should have all our key departments, come through to enable training of practitioners on the compliance process. It would also be important that through the ECT training centre communities have access to key departments to address any challenges which they may be experiencing in terms of compliance.