Best Practices for Crèche Development

The Cape Town Project Centre (CTPC) has contributed to the success of multiple ECD projects in informal settlements throughout Cape Town. In 2013, CTPC teams contributed to formal elements of the Kiddies College Preschool crèche such as management, organization, and documentation. By working with the principal and teachers of the Kiddies College Preschool, the team updated their documentation to streamline their emergency contact information and tuition fees. Additionally, they worked together with the children of the Langrug community to make facilities more child friendly. The ECD team developed an activity to get the children involved in making their wash space their own (Zhang, Hedan Mindy, et al, 2014).


Children at model Educare Centre in Philippi

In 2010, a CTPC team working in Monwabisi Park developed a site-based approach to supplement children who were not participating in crèches. Monwabisi is an informal settlement located in the township of Khayelitsha on the outskirts of Cape Town. The total number of people in Monwabisi Park is approximately 25,000 people, making it one of the fastest growing informal settlements in Khayelitsha (“Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading”). There are approximately eight crèches, or preschools, located within the informal settlement in Monwabisi but only a small percentage of children attend these ECD centres. In a survey in 2010 by Violence Protection through Urban Upgrading (VPUU), it was determined there are currently 2,700 children between the ages of zero and six living in Monwabisi Park. Of these 2,700, only 43% receive any type of formal ECD, leaving a majority of children without formal ECD services.

The Emthonjeni outreach programme was developed for Monwabisi Park to create more opportunities for children in the informal settlement to participate in ECD activities. The project team researched available ECD centres in the settlement and led a forum to promote community awareness of the importance of ECD. To better understand why some children were not participating in the crèches at Monwabisi Park, the 2010 team interviewed residents whose children were not enrolled in crèches. The Emthonjeni programme was then designed around providing access to activities not available in homes in the settlement while serving as local water access. Finally, before the team completed the design on the pilot programme, they consulted neighboring residents surrounding the areas being blocked off for the Emthonjeni programme to incorporate their ideas as well (Sparrell, Courtney Lynne, et al, 2011).

The 2010 Early Childhood Development in Monwabisi Park Project and 2013 Early Childhood Development in Flamingo Crescent Project both worked to establish new ECD programmes. The 2010 Early Childhood Development Project in Monwabisi Park addressed the legality of opening a crèche. “According to the South African Constitution, it is the duty of the local government to provide ECD facilities for all children in the area” (Sparrell, Courtney Lynne, et al, 2011). This project also taught the team about the management and specifications of a crèche in South African Informal Settlements.

The most successful elements of both of these ECD projects were the level of community involvement and active iteration and planning between both the project teams and the community. Asking the settlement what they want out of a community center and play space instead of producing a design on our own created a stronger partnership and design that fit the community’s needs. Involving the children of the community into the smaller build elements of the play area and community center resulted in a space where they feel comfortable. A sense of ownership was developed over the space that will contribute to its long term sustainability.


Sparrell, C. L., Gottshall, A. M., Bell, H. A., Barbour, I. T., Hersh, R., & Jiusto, J. S. (2011). Supporting early childhood development in Monwabisi Park Urban and Environmental Planning (pp. 1 , 5 leaves col. ill. 28 cm.). Retrieved from
Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading. Retrieved September 7th, 2014, from
Zhang, H. M., Nicosia, K. P., Deraney, N. F., Wadell, J. A., & Higgins, L. D. (2014). Early Childhood Development Connection Social and Human Services (pp. leaves col. ill. 28 cm.). Retrieved from