Choosing an Early Childhood Development Centre for your child

ECD class

An Early Childhood Development Centre (crèche) is a care centre where your child will get the training and support and care that’s appropriate for their age and stage of development. The centres cater for children between the ages of 0 to 6 years.

Always make sure that the Early Childhood Development partial care facility (ECD) that your child attends, is registered.

You should always ask for the following 2 certificates:  
  • the ECD partial care facility registration certificate, and
  • the ECD learning programme. 

We have developed specific guidelines for all registered ECD facilities which must be complied with. If your child’s facility is registered it will give you the peace of mind that your child is in safe hands.

Benefits of a registered ECD facility

  • Safe and secure environment: An ECD facility should be in a safe, clean and well looked-after building, with constant adult supervision.
  • Registered learning programmes: An ECD facility must have a registered learning programme for different age groups. 
  • Qualified ECD practitioners: An ECD facility should have qualified practitioners or principals. 
  • Nutrition: An ECD facility must provide healthy meals for the different age groups.
  • Play:  An ECD facility must have access to creative play for children, as play is an important tool for learning.

What can you do?

  • Check that your child’s ECD partial care facility is registered. Ask to see both certificates.
  • It’s important that you spend time with your children because development also takes place at home. You should read to them or tell them stories, talk to them about what they’ve learnt at their ECD partial care facility during the day.

Teacher in ECD class

You can also check if the ECD facility of your choice is on the list of ECD centres verified by the Western Cape Department of Social Development. Should your child’s crèche not be listed, request to see the registration certificates.

Did you know?

  • An Early Childhood Development facility must re-register every 5 years.
  • It’s your right as a parent to expect your child’s ECD facility and its programmes to be registered.
  • A registered ECD facility will offer parents/ caregivers support in making informed choices.

How to register an ECD

If you own or want to start an Early Childhood facility, you need to register it with the Department of Social Development.
Follow these 3 simple steps to register:

  1. Inform the social worker at your Social Development local office that you want to register your ECD facility and learning programme.
  2. Pass a series of requirements including municipal by-laws to ensure that your facility provides a secure and healthy environment.
  3.  Complete the relevant forms and submit to the office.


After school care

After school programmes that offer individual attention to children and focus on mentorship, targeted enrichment, group support and life skills makes a big difference in a child’s life.
girl at blackboard

ECD centres that have after school care services offer a supportive environment in which your child can pay attention to extra learning material. Your child will also be encouraged to use their free time constructively.

Research has indicated the following improvements and results in children that attend after school care programmes:

  1. Academic improvements – reading, mathematics, better school attendance, better work habits and better homework completion.
  2. Social improvements – peer relations, improved conduct and fewer disciplinary incidents.
  3. Improved decision-making – children are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, and are less likely to be violent, and better at problem solving.

More information on registering an After School Care Service

For more information visit the Early Childhood Development Partial Care webpage or phone toll-free  on number 0800 220 250.

The content on this page was last updated on 18 January 2017