How to Open and Register your ECD Centre/Preschool in South Africa 

This article will help the following people:

  1. Individuals or community organisations that are considering opening an ECD centre, preschool, creche, nursery school, day care or playgroup
  2. Individuals or community organisations that are operating an unregistered centre
  3. Individuals or community organisations that want to re-register after their centre registration has expired
  4. Any organisation or person providing advice or mentorship to ECD centre owners

Challenges on the road to registration

Like you, all Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre owners dream of providing their learners with the very best care that meets the norms and standards required by law. This includes ECD centre registration. 

But even experienced ECD Centre owners feel overwhelmed by the complexity of getting registered and many centres remain unregistered because they struggle with:  

  1. Finding the right information 
    Registration involves various government departments and the information you need may not all be in one place, so this is frustrating for centre owners. You have to know where to look.   
  1. Understanding the process and requirements 
    Not knowing the right order of the steps to take can wasted time and figuring all this out may make you feel frustrated.   
  1. Creating supporting documents 
    When submitting your registration file, you need to have a lot of supporting documents in place such as your business plan, policies, procedures and forms. Centre owners often Google for forms and use American templates or incomplete templates. You will save a lot of time if you used good quality South African templates personalized for your own centre.   
  1. Connecting with the right Government department 
    Not knowing which government department is responsible for which section of the registration documents. For example, you have to work with the Department of Social Development to get your NPO certificate, but you have to work with the Department of Basic Education to register your ECD programme.   
  1. The cost of compliance with norms and standards  
    To meet the minimum norms and standards there are real costs involved. Some centres take years to get registered because they need to save up for fire doors or architectural drawings of their building plan. 

This is why you need A Practical Guide: 7 Steps to Opening and Registering your ECD Centre

GROW Educare Centres has assisted and given mentorship to various ECD centres, helping them achieve their goal of getting registered. We know that the ECD centre registration process can feel confusing and complicated and it’s why we’ve created a practical guide to ECD centre registration – to help ECD centre owners on this journey.  

You can download this detailed, step-by-step guide for FREE.

This guide contains:

  1. An explanation of the various types of registration for early learning businesses: Business entity registration, Nonprofit registration, Partial Care registration and ECD Programme registration.  
  2. The 7 steps to opening and getting registered, with details on what to do in each step.  
  3. Provided a self-assessment tool to help you identify exactly what your ECD centre still needs to work on to comply. 
  4. Saved ECD centre owners time by providing all the information and documents (downloadable and editable policies, procedures and forms) in one place. 

What is the process to get your ECD centre opened and registered? 

There are 7 steps to getting registered. It is important to follow these steps in the correct order so that you don’t waste time or energy.  

7 Steps to ECD Centre Registration
The 7 steps to opening and registering your ECD centre

ECD Centres want to know: Who needs to get registered?

#1 You provide early learning services 

ALL providers that offer early learning services MUST register their ECD Programme with the Department of Basic Education, whether a for-profit business or a non-profit organisation.  This includes ECD Centres, toy libraries, and mobile ECDs.  

#2 You ticked YES to the Partial Care Registration Checklist questions below 

You may also need to register as a partial care facility. Answer the checklist below to find out if you need to do this too. If you say YES to all three questions below, you need to register as a Partial Care Facility.  

Partial Care Registration Checklist for ECD Centre registration
Partial care registration checklist

Now I know I need to register, what type of registration do I need?

Business Registration  

Whether for profit or non-profit you need to have your business registered. Which type of registration depends on which type of business you run: Sole Proprietor, Company, Voluntary Organisation, Trust or Non-profit Company. 

Non-Profit Organisation Registration 

If you want to apply for funding, then you must register your NPO with the Department of Social Development. 

Partial Care Registration 

Did you answer yes to the questions in the Partial Care Checklist above? Then you need to register as a partial care facility. This is to ensure that your centre complies with the minimum norms and standards and provides a safe, hygienic, and suitable environment for children to be taken care of and educated. 

ECD Programme Registration  

This registration ensures that children attending an ECD programme receive the right, age-appropriate stimulation to prepare them for school, aligned with the National Curriculum Framework.  

Need more info? Find detailed explanations and instructions in our Practical Guide to Getting Your ECD Centre Registered.

ECD Registration Application Flow

ECD Centre Registration Service Application Process Flow
ECD centre registration application process flow

Why should ECD centres get registered? 

This may seem like a mountain to overcome, but remember you’ve overcome many mountains before. Besides happy, well-educated children there are lots of benefits to getting registered.   

The risks and benefits of registering your ECD centre
The risks and benefits of registering your ECD centre

So, where do I need to start if I need to register my preschool?

The GROW Practical Guide to Registering Your ECD Centre explains every step, in detail.  

A good place to start is to check how far you’ve come and how far you still need to go. Go through the registration self-assessment checklist in the GROW Giraffe App, answer the questions honestly and check whether you have met the norms and standards for Bronze, Silver or Gold registration. Here you’ll easily see the gaps that need to be filled.  

Then download the Practical Guide to ECD Centre Registration and start working on filling those gaps to start getting your ECD centre registered. 

How the practical guide to registration can help YOUR preschool

If you’re still doubting that this guide can help you to get your centre registered, watch our webinar. Our ECD Business Mentors, explain how the GROW guide to registration can assist you step-by-step and how to access all the resources you need for free on the GROW app.  

Need help?  

We’d be glad to assist! Our friendly helpdesk team are available Mondays – Fridays during office hours.

WhatsApp or Call: +27 82 795 4693