Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green said that the deathof 3-year-old Nevalesia Campbell in Orange Hill, St Ann, serves as a grave reminder that there should be a zero tolerance approach towards child abuse.

Young Nevalesia was found with several chop wounds all over her body in bushes on Sunday, July 10 after she was reportedly left at home alone with her twin brother by her mother and stepfather.

Green added that “proper parenting must not be underestimated” and reminded the audience of the major benefits of community parenting, which he said is now sadly, a thing of the past.

Green made the comments as he was addressing the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) of Jamaica Registration Ceremony, held at the RIU Hotel in Mammee Bay, St Ann on Thursday, July 14.

ECC was celebrating a major milestone on Thursday when it hosted 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 has certified 17 ECIs. These comprised six from St Andrew; one from St Ann; six from St James; two from Westmoreland and one from Hanover. This represented a mix of public, private and corporate-sponsored institutions. A Certificate of Registration is valid for five years.

Green also extended commendations to the 17 early childhood schools and the hard work put in by the ECC. He however, firmly stated that “there is much to be done”.

He gave the reassurance of greater focus to be placed on early childhood education. He stated that it was vital to “get it right from the start” which is inclusive of parents and teachers.

Executive Director of the ECC, Dr Joan Reid, expressed her gratitude for the many supporters of the organization. She emphasised the importance of ensuring optimum development of the nation’s children through the vision of early childhood education where all children have access to quality education.

Other guests at the ceremony were board chairman of the ECC, Trisha Williams-Singh, Custos of St Ann, Norma Walters, as well as Opposition Spokesman on Education and Training, Reverend Ronald Thwaites.

The Ebenezer Basic School, the only St Ann awardee, was one of the schools to collect their certificate of registration. This was collected by school principal, Antonette White.

Susan Simms, principal of the Glendevon Primary and Infant in St James, gave the awardees’ response, where she urged each school will continue to maintain the standards set by the ECC.

“The award received here represents hard work, dedication and most of all teamwork, which allows common people to attain uncommon things,” she said.

The ceremony was chaired by popular storyteller, Amina Blackwood Meeks, who saluted the skills and talents of children throughout history.

The ceremony also featured talented students from three of the institutions, performing in dance, song and an amusing speech item entitled “I raise my hand” done by JCDC gold medalists from the Junior World Learning Centre in St Andrew.

The standards covered by the ECC include 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.

Loop News – http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/praises-early-childhood-commission-certifying-17-institutions