Determinants of Crèche Quality

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DoSD) conducted an audit of 233 ECD sites in 2009. Sites ranged from registered and unsubsidized, to registered and subsidized, to unregistered. The goal of this study was to determine indicators of site quality and provide the Western Cape Government with an overall assessment of how ECD sites are conforming to governmental regulations. The Government of the Western Cape considers ECD to be one of their apex concerns. According to literature the DoSD has written and reviewed, investments in ECD programmes pay for themselves within seventeen years by reducing the need for the government to invest in remedial programmes that combat social disengagement. Additionally, children growing up in disadvantaged backgrounds have the most to gain from ECD programmes that focus on language, cognition, and social skills (Makoae 2010).

Children at play in Philippi educare centre. style=


Through this study, quantitative data in the form of weighted scales was collected. Each site received a score based on how well they addressed the needs of infants and children. According to the statistical scales, most centres did not have many physical resources, but scored highly on quality interaction. In regards to physical aspects, hygiene practices were inconsistent, there was a lack of soap and shared towels, physical play areas were often unsafe, and there is usually poor ventilation in the classroom. Even with the lack of physical resources, the average score for all 233 ECD sites was found to meet the minimum standards of care in Cape Town (Makoae 2010). It appears that crèches do not need to conform to the ideal standards of literature to achieve minimum standards of care for children.

Statistic scores predict that higher scores in site management, higher fees that compensate the teachers, and training including professional competence, planning, teamwork, and staff evaluation, contributed to site quality more than any other category of evaluation. The DoSD found that there is statistical link between higher management quality, fees, and ECD training with the overall crèche experience. The furnishings, consistency of personal care routines, extent of listening and talking, quality of activities and interaction, and program me structure are all important components of a crèche (Makoae 2010).

There is little difference between the classroom quality of sites charging less than R50 a week that are registered and subsidized versus those that were unregistered. This could mean that either the subsidy is not being spent on aspects that contribute to site quality, such as meals for children, or there could possibly be inadequate bookkeeping making the subsidy lost without a paper trail. Qualitative data from on-site interviews of the supervisors, a forum on ECD, and site assessor’s notes were also collected. According to supervisors, inadequate facilities and a lack of constant financial resources are the biggest concerns for maintaining crèche quality. Insufficiently trained staff and lack of teaching equipment closely followed these (Makoae 2010).

Assessor’s noted that the personal leadership quality of the management team was the most important indicator of site quality. For sites charging less than R50 a week, the management team’s ability to garner the parent’s support, utilize local networks (NGOs, DoSD, ECD forum), and set high standards for their staff had the biggest impact on site quality. For example, in one ECD site the managing supervisor had parents volunteer to improve the crèche’s physical spaces and in times of extreme need parents would pay an extra R10 a week. At another site, the management team asked for donations from local NGOs and applied for grants (Makoae 2010). These findings can translate to Flamingo Crescent. By focusing efforts on finding community members interested in management and establishing leadership quality within the management team of the crèche as a stepping stone for registering the crèche.

Management training is another important component to consider. Rather than solely relying on a single motivated leader, supervisors of existing crèches have noted that having a trained staff is beneficial. Although trained teachers are helpful, they are hard to find and aren’t necessarily good. Instead, they have found it best to hire a good caregiver first and then achieve the teaching qualifications.

Overall, supervisors described their ideal ECD site would have an attractive, solid, well-maintained building with sufficient space outdoors and indoors. It was also found there should be a separate kitchen in the building to maintain good cleanliness and hygiene, an outdoor space with play equipment fenced off with a gate for security, and structured daily plans where children can both learn and play (Makoae 2010).


Makoae, M. (2010). Final Report - Western Cape Department of Social Development 2009 Audit of Early Childhood Development Facility Quality. Cape Town.