Principal of the 123-year-old St. Joseph’s Infant School, located in downtown Kingston, Rosemarie Clarke, is seeking support to enable the institution to attain the Early Childhood Commission’s (ECC) 12 operating standards.
It has, so far, attained 77 per cent of the requirements for certification, but now needs help to meet the other 23 per cent, which covers building renovation, hiring nine additional teachers and preparation of documentation.
“I started on the journey, but there are things that we cannot realistically attain for certification on our own… . We need help with the building…we need a kitchen,” Mrs. Clarke told JIS News.
The schoolteacher-pupil ratio is at one trained teacher to 30 students, which is above the ECC’s staffing requirement of one trained teacher and one caregiver for every 20 students.
Acting Director of Regulations and Monitoring at the ECC, Norda Seymour-Hall, said the Commission is aware of the challenges faced by the school and is in dialogue with some major partners to see how they can assist.
The ECC’s 12 Standards for the Operation, Management and Administration of Early Childhood Institutions 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. St. Joseph’s Infant is a Roman Catholic school established in 1894 and has 296 children on roll.
The school has won gold and silver medals in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Festival of Arts in dance, music, speech and drama, and has also produced winners in the Caribbean Poison Information Network’s annual visual and creative arts competitions.
The students are also participants in the Tablets in Schools programme.