Cape Town - Parents are digging deep into their pockets for crèche and daycare fees - but they believe the reward of a quality education is priceless.

Some are planning to fork out up to R3000 a month in the new year, which sometimes includes meals and stationery.

In some instances parents have paid a R1000 non-refundable application fee at private daycare facilities. There may also be a waiting list of up to three years.

Mother of two Tammy Rudolph, whose children are enrolled at private daycare facilities, says she has budgeted about R8 800 a term for her children.

Rudolph said her children, aged 3 and 2, were at a crucial developmental age, and ensuring they received the appropriate stimulation was priceless.

“They are at a place that allows them to grow. If they were to stay at home they would not learn the skills they are now. It’s a lot of money to pay every term, but my husband and I know it’s worth it,” she said.

Lauren Cupido’s 3-year-old attends a daycare facility in the northern suburbs, and she said she’d noticed a difference in her child’s behaviour since she had been around children her own age.

“Before we enrolled her a family member was taking care of her. Whenever we went out my daughter would be afraid of people, and she was not very sociable. She is an only child. But since she has been playing with children her age I’ve noticed that she is not as shy to speak to people,” Cupido said. Her child’s fees are R1 750 a month.

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Provincial Department of Social Development spokeswoman Esther Lewis said that at the end of September there were 1833 registered and verified Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in the province.

During the 2015/16 financial year the department spent R286 million on funding these and Partial Care Centres.

“The department doesn’t fund parents directly, but via the ECD. When applying for funding, the registered ECD will submit an enrolment register, which indicates the parents’ income. To qualify for a subsidy, there must be a joint income of less than R3 000 per month,” Lewis said.

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