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JOHANNESBURG - The City of Ekurhuleni in South Africa's Gauteng province on Monday encouraged Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities to apply for registration with the municipality.

City spokesman Themba Radebe said registration was required so parents could be assured their children were being cared for in a safe facility with trained staff to provide care to minors.

“In creating a city fit for children, Ekurhuleni’s social development health practitioners have assisted about 300 funded and unfunded ECD facilities to be properly registered,” said Radebe.

“A registered facility is confirmed by a registration certificate, which parents must ask to see before they enroll their children.”

Radebe said there were two types of certificates - for ECD partial care facilities and for ECD learning programmes.

The partial care certificate confirms the registered facility is in a safe and secure environment, is clean and operates with constant adult supervision. 

The other certificate was for facilities that meet all the required norms and standards set by the social development division. 

“The City has developed guidelines for all registered ECD facilities to comply with the facility to employ properly qualified ECD practitioners or principals; the school menu provides nutritious meals for the different age groups; all children have access to creative play area at their ECD partial care facility as they learn through play.

“The facility complies with all the by-law requirements set by the City Planning and Health departments and the facility must deliver an approved learning programme,” said Radebe.

He said despite the fact that a facility may have attained certificates confirming their registration, regular visits to the facilities were done by social workers and environmental health practitioners to assess whether norms and standards are being complied with.

The consequences of operating an unregistered ECD was that the facility may be shutdown.

“This can be avoided by informing a social worker at your local Customer Care Centres that you want to register your ECD facility and learning programme; Pass a series of requirements including compliances with applicable municipal by-laws to ensure that your facility provides a secure and healthy environment for the little ones and Complete the relevant forms and submit them to the Department of Social Development office in Germiston at Number 40 Catlin Street, Germiston,” said Gadebe.

African News Agency/ANA