Covid19 resources

During this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all need to do our part to keep everyone safe in South Africa. Here are some resources for ECD centres, parents, caregivers and their children.


ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund – Attention All ECD Principals and ECD Providers!

Our team has been working hard to put together a summary for you explaining how to apply for the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund. We have also included links to all the documents and websites you need for this process. Follow this link to read the summary:…/summary-ecd-employment-stimulus… #ECD #SaveOurECDWorkforce

CECD Pens Open Letter to Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Social Development

The Centre for Early Childhood Development has published an open letter to the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, with an urgent appeal. We have requested DSD to extend the deadline for applications to the Presidency’s ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund currently due by this Friday 19 February, and to include informal unregistered ECD services in the rollout of this relief fund. Please read the full letter here:

Save Our ECD Workforce!

The Save Our ECD Workforce Campaign that happened in August last year has been revived!

The ECD workforce urgently demands that the The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa and the Department of Social Development pays out the ECD stimulus package that was promised to over 100 000 ECD workers on 15 October 2020.

The deadline for payment is 31 March 2021. Time is running out!

Here is the official press statement demanding clarity on the payment of the Presidency’s ECD stimulus package – please share with your networks so that our voices can be heard.

Support our #ECDforPPE Initiative!

We are working hard on our #PPEforECD campaign to help ECD centres (preschools) get the prescribed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in order to re-open! This campaign follows an announcement from DSD stating that ECD centres will need to comply with (expensive) health regulations before they will be considered ready to re-open (once the re-opening date is announced by the Minister of Social Development).

ECD centres are already under tremendous financial strain after months of receiving minimal fees from parents – often their only income – and are desperate to re-open, to bring in some funds but also to care for children who are in a vulnerable position, with parents returning to work. Many ECD centres do not have the means to purchase the necessary PPE and need our support in order to re-open (or may face permanent closure).

Please consider partnering with CECD to support this campaign and allow ECD centres to get back onto their feet! You can support financially (via eft, using the reference #PPEforECD), contact us if you would like to deliver items from this list, or help us spread the word by sharing our facebook post with your networks:

TARGET: We are currently working with approximately 600 ECD centres and we aim to support all of these who need our help. With a comprehensive PPE package costing roughly R4000 per centre, our total target amount is R2,4 million.

Resources Required to Reopen your ECD Centre – According the SOP document issued by DSD.

We have created this webpage to help you! This is a collection of the required protocols/procedures, schedules, checklists, letters/pamphlets/communication, posters and record/registers that ECD centres are required to have in place, as per the Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines document, released by the Department of Social Development on 23 June 2020.

You can find the full list of resources here:

Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines For ECD Programme and Partial Care Facilities: Summary Prepared by CECD

We have summarised the 61 page Standard Operating Procedure and Guidelines document issued by DSD on 23 June 2020, into a 4 page, easy-to-read guide that clearly shows what principals need to implement at their ECD centres (including procedures to draw up, posters to display, registers to keep, screening procedures and communication with parents and more). We recommend you still look through the full document for more information but this summary provides the key points and items that need to be implemented. We hope you find this resource helpful.

Urgent Update for all ECD centres, from DSD: Release of Standard Operating Procedures and Online Self-Assessment Form to complete by 6 July 2020!

DSD has released the “Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Guidelines for early childhood development programme and/or partial care facility that provides and after-school service on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19”. This document is also called “ECD Protocols”.  After reading this SOP/ECD Protocols and implementing everything that you are able to at your ECD centre (over the next 2-3 days), you need to complete an online Self-Assessment Form by 6 July 2020. Read more here.

Important Notice on “Preparation and Planning for the Re-Opening of ECD Centres/Programmes” from DSD

DSD has put out an important notice on “Preparation and Planning for the Re-Opening of ECD Centres/Programmes” (which includes unregistered ECD centres). Please ensure you read the full circular – (which can be found here). But here are the key points.

A message to ECD centres from our staff at Centre for Early Childhood Development!

Covid19 has put tremendous strain on ECD centres. We salute all principals & teachers during these unprecedented times, and at all times! We want you to know that we are with you every step of the way! MusicBy: Bensound

Our Director, Prof Eric Atmore, speaks on ECD during COVID-19 on Cape Talk

In early May, our Director, Professor Eric Atmore, spoke with Lester Kiewit on Cape Talk to discuss ECD under lockdown and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ECD sector in South Africa.

You can listen to the full 7 minute interview here.

New South African Book for Children about Hand-washing and Mask-wearing! (It’s free!)

This great new South African children’s book, written & illustrated by Nathi Ngubane, helps children learn about the importance of hand-washing and mask-wearing. You can download it and share with your networks. It is free!

The quote on the inside cover says, “The virus we are up against is only temporary, we will beat it. In the meantime, practice social distancing, wash your hands and when going out, wear a mask.” We love this!

Petition: Demand the South African Government to Announce Dates for the Reopening of ECD Centres

The Centre for Early Childhood Development has put together a Petition to demand the South African Government to announce dates for the reopening of ECD Centres. We are not calling on ECD centres to open immediately, with no systems in place for keeping children safe. We are calling on the government to finalise their plans immediately and communicate this to the public of South Africa, so that ECD centres are able to plan for their sustainability and families are able to plan for the care of their children. SIGN THE PETITION HERE:

Your ECD Centre Questions Answered by DSD & DBE in the Western Cape

We wrote to the Department of Social Development and the Department of Basic Education to get guidelines on the reopening of ECD centres, directly from them, to distribute to ECD centres in the province, and across South Africa. This is directly from government officials at the Department of Social Development, and the Department of Basic Education in the Western Cape.

Your ECD Centre Questions Answered by DSD in the Western Cape

The Centre for Early Childhood Development has received countless questions regarding the opening of ECD centres and aftercare services. We are concerned that ECD centres may be misinterpreting government directives and so we wrote to the Department of Social Development to get guidelines directly from them, to distribute to ECD centres in the province, and across South Africa. These answers are directly from The Director of Early Childhood Development and Partial Care at the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape. See the full document here:

Key support and grants that may be applicable to ECD centres and parents:

With recent announcements from South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday 21 April 2020, the following relief measures are now in place which can assist ECD centres and parents during this time:

1. ECD centres that are registered with SARS and have been paying UIF and who are unable to pay the full salaries of their teachers can apply for COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme. The document that outlines the scheme and how to apply can be found here:

2. ECD centres that are a registered company can apply for relief as a SMME from the Department of Small Business Development. The outline to the Covid-19 SSME Relief funding scheme can be found here:

3. Increase of grants: the Child Support Grants has increased by an additional R500 (R300 increase in May and from June to October an increase of R500) and other grants have increased by additional R250 per month for the next 6 months.

4. The introduction of the Covid-19 Relief of Distress Grant for those unemployed and not receiving any grant or UIF (R350 per month for next 6 months). DSD will issue requirements needed to access and apply for this funding. For more information on how to access this grant, click here.

5. The National Lotteries Commission has set up a COVID-19 Relief Fund specifically for NPOs in South Africa. This would also be applicable to ECD centres registered as NPOs. Click here for more details.

Announcement by DSD on ECD Centre closures

The official statement from the Department of Social Development states that all ECD centres should close from Wednesday, 18 March to 15 April. The lockdown has since been extended to 30 April 2020.

Advice to Parents, from the Department of Basic Education

The Department of Basic Education has put out a great document; a simple set of guidelines designed to provide advice and strategies to help parents support their children at this time.  Definitely worth a read. The full document can be found here.

Survey for ECD principals – from the Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, along with many partners in the ECD sector in South Africa, is trying to make the case for unregistered ECD centres to be considered part of the informal economy. PLEASE help us by completing this survey and PLEASE circulate to principals in your network-

Call to Government to Support ECD centres and ECD workforce

A number of organisations have come together to produce a proposal that requests government to appropriately assist ECD centres and the ECD workforce during this time. We fully support this initiative. You can view the full proposal here.

The Consequences of Closing ECD Centres

Brilliant article in the Daily Maverick on the consequences of ECD centres shutting down in South Africa. Including an increased likelihood of abuse, neglect, and malnutrition. With input from our Director, Prof Eric Atmore.

FAQs answered by the Western Cape DSD

A statement from the Western Cape Department of Social Development, ECD Directorate – For those who have additional queries regarding the closure of ECD centres due to COVID19 – https://faqs-for-the-ecd-sector-in-response-to-covid19.pdf

Which businesses can stay open during the lockdown

These are the essential services which are permitted to stay open. Essential service workers and those who seek these essential services are allowed to travel to and access these services.

What to do if you’re worried you or your child has the virus

“There are a lot of myths & misinformation about coronavirus being shared online – including on how COVID-19 spreads, how to stay safe, & what to do if you’re worried about you or your children having contracted the virus.” Great article and resources from UNICEF, here:

Nal’ibali reading resources

Nal’ibali has put together a free support package with story and activity guides, audio and written stories and a virtual reading club. The full collection can be viewed here:

Vusi and the Monster – A South African COVID19 story for children

‘Vusi and the Monster’ is a children’s book about one boy, and his Gogo, against the Corona Virus. Best viewed on a smartphone, you can download it here. Please feel free to share with your friends. This book was developed in-house by one of our team members, Michaela Ashley-Cooper.

Wordworks free downloadable resources

Looking for ways to keep little ones entertained keep them learning during this school closure period? Have a look at Wordworks’ free downloadable resources! Including stories, games and info sheets & workbooks:

World Health Organisation – posters on interacting with your children

Great resources from the World Health Organisation – To help parents interact with their children during #Lockdown, these six posters have great tips for parents covering staying positive, daily routines, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about #COVID19. Click here for all six posters.

Free audio books from Audible

During school shut downs Audible is allowing children (and the young-at-heart) to listen to hundreds of story books, for free! To access the free titles, just visit from any web browser. No login or accounts needed.

Children’s book about the Corona Virus

A great resource for children under the age of 7 regarding #COVID19 – This book is not a source of scientific information, but rather a way to explain the virus and discuss the full range of emotions arising from the current situation. You can access the downloadable PDF here.

The Mikhulu Trust’s book-sharing series

The Mikhulu Trust has developed a 4-week series of activities that parents can use with their children aged 1 – 5 years old, on Facebook. Each week, they will release a video summarising some book-sharing tips, and one of their wordless books, for parents to use while doing book-sharing with their children.

UNICEF’s comprehensive ‘Tshwaragano ka Bana’ series

UNICEF’s ‘Tshwaragano ka Bana’ (Working together for children) was developed for parents and primary caregivers to support the early learning and development of children birth to 5 or 6 years at home through the use of daily routines, playful learning activities and other low-resource/low costs options, based on the National Curriculum Framework for Children birth to four years (NCF) and the National Parenting Programme. The full recourse can be found here.

Free books, no data required, from Bookdash!

Bookdash, provides free, online books in multiple languages. To view these, click here. 
To view their free books, on their zero-rated platform (which requires no data!!) click here.

Great online resource for NPOs from the Chronicle of Philanthropy

This collection of articles offers advice to help NPOs cope with the evolving #Covid19 crisis, and secure crucial resources to continue serving their community during these difficult times. Click here, to view the portal.

Physical activities to do with children while at home

Active for Life provides a list of fun physical activities with children aged 2 to 4 years old. To view, click here.

ECD Resources on Vodacom’s Zero-rated Website

Vodacom has made available ECD resources on their zero-rated website. Which means, no data required! You can find the ECD section here.

Comprehensive learning guides for children of different age groups

Early Bird Educare@Work provides ECD learning programme guides here:

Online resources from Sesame Street

Sesame Street’s ‘Caring for Each Other’ is a new hub with videos, playful learning activities, and ways to help families stay physically and mentally healthy. The portal can be found here.

Messages for Mothers in South Africa

Side by Side has put together a collection of great articles specifically for mothers in South Africa, during the COVID19 pandemic. You can view the resources here:

Over 19,000 free storybooks for children in 200+ languages

Story Weaver is an open source platform that hosts over 19,000 free storybooks for children in 200+ languages. The full collections can be found here:

Picture storybooks in multiple languages from across Africa

Story African Storybook is a open access site to picture storybooks, in multiple languages, from across Africa). The full collection can be found here:

Tips and resources from Parenting for Lifelong Health

Parenting for Lifelong Health provides open-access online parenting resources during COVID-19. The portal can be found here:

Important Phone Numbers!

If you are feeling sightly ill and need non-urgent medical care, call the national helpline on: 0800 029 999 (National Institute for Communicable Diseases)

For information on COVID-19, whatsapp: Say “Hi” to 0600 123 456

Report a suspected COVID19 case (24-Hour): 0800 029 999 or send a WhatsApp: 0600 12 3456
National Crisis Line – 0861 322 322
Department Of Water Affairs – 0800 200 200
Presidential Hotline – 17737

Report a Crime:

Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428 Or *120*7867# (Free For Mobile)
South African Police Service: 08600 10111
Reporting Undue Price Increases: 0800 141 880

Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme Call Centre: 012- 337 1997
SASSA Call Centre Call: 0800 60 10 11

For more information, please visit

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