Changes in lifestyle are affecting childhood experiences. With the increase in TV and other devices, time for playing outside is diminishing for young children. Many have little space or equipment for essential energetic play at home, and yet playing outside is the best way for young children to develop their emerging physical abilities and confidence, as well as reducing the increasing incidence of obesity.
As part of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme in the Kouga region, centres are being equipped with suitable playground equipment, to help create safe and stimulating environments for young children.
“We believe that playground equipment is an especially important part of the children’s natural development as outdoor play provides opportunities for children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development and encourages creative problem solving, and social interactions – and is of course great fun,” said Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
Whilst some ECD centres receive a small subsidy from the Department of Social Development for each child, it is strictly allocated and leaves little for equipment and building maintenance. This programme is being rolled out in three phases. It provides each ECD centre with a budget of between R7 000 and R20 000, depending on the equipment supplied and if structural repairs are required to already existing equipment.
“The centres have been divided into three groups in terms of their specific needs, with Phase One having already been implemented during the first quarter of this year,” explained Radebe.
Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm began funding the implementation of ECD during 2014, the programme includes practitioner training, mentoring and support programmes, ECD compliance and governance, infrastructure, as well as the provision of equipment and classroom resources.