Centre for Early Childhood Development

Making the Connection with the CECD

After coming across the Centre for Early Childhood Development’s webpage during the prep-term, our team reached out to the organization asking for more information on who they are and what they do. We received a prompt reply from Michaela Ashley-Cooper, the programme manager of the CECD. She provided our team with useful information about the organization, as well as four articles written by her and other employees regarding early childhood development in South Africa. A lot of this information provided was cited in our background research about early childhood development, which can be found throughout our Background section.


Picture of Eric Atmore, our team and Sarah Antolick from the Flamigo Crescent team outside of the CECD building after our meeting.

During our time in Cape Town working with Kiddies College and with the Langrug crèches, we set up a meeting with Eric Atmore, the director of the CECD. Our hope going into this meeting was to simply explore options and ideas the organization could provide for both Kiddies and Langrug about record keeping and WaSH programmes, respectively. However, our expectations were far exceeded.

Sitting down in the meeting, Eric began by discussing the history of education in South Africa and how it correlates with the CECD. He strongly believes that during the apartheid era, the destiny of a South African citizen was decided at the time of their birth based on their race. Eric stated that according to apartheid government “blacks weren’t citizens” and that they were politically separated from the white race. This effected the education of children during this era. The black children did not receive the same education as the white, “privileged” children.

When the apartheid era ended and Nelson Mandela became president, the government began making strides to improve education, specifically early childhood development. This is when the CECD stepped in and it is all history from there. This organization has made many strides in the Western Cape province to improve the lives of children receiving ECD by upgrading crèches, building new crèches, providing training programmes and many other methods of support.

As mentioned above, our team was hoping to receive advice from the CECD and possibly support through their programmes. After telling Eric about our project work in Langrug and our hopes for future work there and in other informal settlements, he surprised us with great news. He committed to work with the WPI Cape Town Project Centre to build one new crèche in an informal settlement. Our team was ecstatic to relay this news of a connection formed to the rest of the project centre and our advisors.

The next week a follow up meeting was set up the Flamingo Crescent team, our project advisors and Eric Atmore. In summary of the meeting, the CECD committed to build a crèche in Flamingo Crescent. To read more about the happenings of this meeting, click here to read the Flamingo Team’s scene about the meeting.

Due to our passion, eagerness and knowledge, the Centre of Early Childhood Development, in the end, committed to building two different crèches in two different communities to help change the lives of many less fortunate children. Our team successfully passed on our connection with the Centre of Early Childhood Development to another CTPC project team, successfully completing part of our project mission statement.