The Early Childhood Commission (ECC) will celebrate a major milestone on Thursday, July 14 by hosting its first Certification Ceremony for Early Childhood Institutions (ECIs) that have attained the required standards for operation.
After 13 years in existence and much effort, the ECC will certify 17 ECIs. A Certificate of Registration is valid for five years. The ECIs comprise six from St. Andrew; one from St. Ann; six from St. James; two from Westmoreland; one from Hanover and represent a mix of public, private and corporate-sponsored institutions.
The standards cover the areas of staffing; development and educational programmes; interactions and relationships with children; physical environment; indoor and outdoor equipment; health; nutrition; safety; child rights, child protection and equality; parent and stakeholder participation; administration and finance. Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughn, the first Chairman of the Commission was instrumental in the development of the standards.
“Standards have been shown worldwide to improve quality and it’s that quality that will change the future of our young children,”
Susan Simms, the Principal of the Glendevon Primary and Infant School in St. James is among those who will accept a Certificate of Registration at Thursday’s ceremony. “We couldn’t have got to where we are now without the help of our stakeholders. It took the effort of the School Board, the entire staff, the PTA, Mr. Carr, Mrs. Seymore-Hall, Miss Turner from the ECC – they were all on board.” Ms. Simms added,
“I remember for example when we needed fans, a teacher donated two fans- everybody pitched in and sacrificed.”
Marlene Turner who manages the Registration portfolio at the ECC attributes the success attained by the schools to the direct intervention of the Commission. Development Officers were assigned to assist the ECI operators and practitioners to complete development plans. Following pre-inspections, Inspectors were dispatched to the ECIs and guided them through the process of meeting the required standards. According to Miss Turner, another 33 ECIs are currently at 90% in attaining the standards, and resources have been allocated to assist them where needed to achieve certification.