Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Recognising the importance of early childhood development, a leading property management group is piloting an initiative that incorporates crèches and pre-school learning day-care facilities into its larger buildings.

In association with non-governmental organisation, Scatterlings, the first facility will open its doors in September in a block of flats in Joubert Park, Johannesburg.

Seven flats were altered and refurbished to create the centre.

Scatterlings provides early learning for mainly historically disadvantaged children, addressing the urgent need for the development of young children.

It combines care, education and health for babies, toddlers and young children to embrace their intellectual, emotional, physical and social development.

Andrew Schaefer, managing director of the property group, says the tenant, Esimy Kabeya, was already operating a less structured crèche, but the new venture will accommodate 150 children between six months and six years.

"In keeping with legislation, the centre will accommodate different age groups of children within specifically-designated areas and the doors will open on to a customised playground that promotes gross motor skills development through play.

"A complex in Berea has been earmarked as the second interactive relationship between Scatterlings and our company."

Schaefer says the project combines his group's corporate social investment with enterprise initiatives. It also seeks to address a glaring shortfall in inner city facilities for young children.

"This need has become more important as more families and young children live in the inner cities," Schaefer said.

Scatterlings founder, Theresa Aaronson, says the programme concentrates on every aspect of the child's development needs, including fine and gross-motor skills and physical and brain stimulation through music.