September 2020                                                  
It is reported that Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres have been severely impacted by COVID-19, from a social, developmental and financial perspective. Many young children have been removed from these centres by their parents, and will not be returning until 2021, despite the Department of Basic Education’s gazette regulation that earmarked reopening dates for early July 2020.
Added to this, ECD centres expressed their lack of resources available to deep clean their facilities and implement the necessary procedures. These resources have now been made available by Cookhouse Wind Farm, as part of their ECD flagship programme, which includes the distribution and necessary training, which will be undertaken by service provider, Early Inspiration, prior to ECD Centre’s opening.
‘Childhood centres need our support more than ever before as they provide the very building blocks for our communities, and right now that calls for hygiene and health precautions,” explained Nomzamo Landingwe, Chief Community Operations Officer for Cookhouse Wind Farm.
The extended lockdown period has caused a huge ripple effect on the financial state of ECD Centres, spilling over to principals, practitioners, and the resources available to young children in their care.   The long term impact is feared as children who are kept out of ECD centres will be deprived of a stimulating environment, where intentional intervention and training is provided regularly, along with safe social interaction.
From a developmental perspective, many children are not being exposed to stimuli or foundation concepts and therefore are being negatively impacted. This is further compounded by the financial strain that many ECD Centres now face, due to fees that were not forthcoming for the COVID lockdown period.
“Many parents are worried about their children’s development being delayed and what they are missing by not being at school, however, they agree we should not put our children’s lives in danger,”
Heinrisha Nysschens, Busy Bee Pre Primary School, in Somerset East, who explains why the necessary resources to sterilise these facilities are so important.
“Our community has not coped well during the lockdown period, as there is no safe place to take their children. ECD Centres are like a home. To the children in our community we are their teachers, mothers, best friends, doctors and comforters. We provide for all their daily needs and in the blink of an eye, it disappeared,” concluded Elmar Potgieter, from Klein Begin Dagsorg, in Somerset East.