how to start a daycare in south africa

Providing day care for children is a big and serious responsibility, because one of the biggest challenges facing South African families today is caring for their children while the parents work. You can start a daycare in south africa  in your home with just a few weeks of planning and a modest amount of start-up cash. A commercially located centre takes a greater investment of time, energy and money. The size and type of business you choose will depend on your start-up resources and goals for the future.

Which Services Should Day Care Centres Offer?

Day care centres, otherwise known as Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, need to focus on various important areas of a child’s development and should also take care of their health, nutrition, development, psychological, social and other needs.

Programmes at ECD centres should focus on ideas, resources and activities that help develop our children. Children should also be be encouraged to learn at their own pace in playroom and playground environments that have been prepared by an educator to provide a variety of learning opportunities.

A day care centre’s daily programme should also include activities the educator prepares and leads, such as story time, singing and physical games that will allow children to learn in a well-rounded manner and prepare them for the future.

what do you need to start a daycare?

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1: Get a good location:

Will you operate from your home or a commercial location?

The ideal location for a daycare centre is safe, clean, accessible and close to the homes or offices of parents who can afford your services. In addition to a good location, the building or space used for a daycare should have all the necessary facilities. A few of these include: kitchen, toilets , beds, blankets, toys and outdoor playgrounds. While designing or modeling your crèche, you must always keep in mind that you need to create an atmosphere that appeals to parents and makes children happy and comfortable. If the parents or kids do not like the feel of your crèche, they’re not going to use your services or recommend it to other people.

2. Licensing

Why Should Day Care Centres be Registered?

South African law requires all day care centres to be registered. Each programme should ensure that the children attending the facility are receiving the nationally required level of education.

To register your facility, you can use Form 16 or contact any of the Department of Social Development’s regional offices. Their contact details can be found on the department’s website.

3. Training and certification:

According to the DSD regulations on day care facilities, staff members must be in the age range of 18-60 years old. Additionally, medical clearance is required for any staff member to be eligible to work in a childcare facility regardless of their position. The DSD requires all staff members to be trained and skilled in first aide.  It is required by social services that staff be “knowledgeable and respectful of culture of children.” There are ratios given by the Department of Social Services that require a teacher per number of children within an age group. For children 0-18 months there must be 1 teacher for every 6 children.

Below is the staff requirements section of the table from the Department of Social Development: Guidelines for Daycare.

Table 1: Staffing Requirements

Age 18-60, depends on health of person and context of centre. Combination of mature and younger persons.
Attributes and skills Patience, loving nature, high standard of cleanliness, ability to work in a team. Understanding of, and ability to work with, young children. Supervisor should have knowledge of administration, management skills and financial skills.
Health Staff appointed must be medically examined before being employed. Staff with infections, illness, must refrain from working with children and food (this does not necessarily mean termination of services).
Culture Knowledge and respect of culture of children.
Training and experience All staff should be completing or have completed a basic level training course from a recognized agency covering health, safety, nutrition, child development, administration skills including job description and crisis management. Supervisors/person in charge should have at least a standard 88 or equivalent (and have an understanding of working with adults). Staff development programs are important. In-service training is important.
Language Mother tongue of child. Knowledge of other languages in an area to introduce to the children.
Staff/child ratios
  • House ( mixed age groups) 1:6
  • House with additional structures on residential property, daycare centre or hall:

0-18 months  1:6

19 months – 3 years 1: 15

3 years 1 month – 6 years 1:25

After school centre 1 :35

Ratios assessed according space as laid out in the premises category of this document.


How many children can a day-care centre accommodate before registering the business?

If there are five children or less you do not need to register the business. However, once there are six or more children you have to register.

When should a day-care centre be registered?

You only need to register a day-care centre if there are six or more children.

Registering your daycare

First you have to register the business as an NPO (Non Profit Organisation). Once you have a NPO certificate, then you can register the day-care centre with the Department of Social Development.

Financing your business Equipments

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