JIS News

Operators of early childhood institutions are being encouraged to register with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) in order to benefit from assistance, which several organizations have been offering to the sector to augment that provided by Government through the Ministry of Education.
ECC Chairman, Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, said several organizations that are aware of current efforts to streamline regulation of the sector have been offering to provide support to the institutions.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry of Education’s Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on July 30, Professor Samms-Vaughan said assistance could only be provided for institutions that take the necessary steps to register with the Commission and urged those that have not yet done so to proceed posthaste.
“It is those (institutions) who have applied to us that we are working with. So (for) the ones who have not applied, it makes sense to apply, because when someone comes to us asking about early childhood institutions (needing assistance), the ones that we know of..the ones that have brought documents in to us are the ones (that) we can best assist. So we encourage the institutions to come in to us,” Professor Samms-Vaughan stressed.
Meanwhile, the ECC Chairman has disclosed that approximately 213 of early childhood institutions registered have been inspected to ensure that their facilities are up to standard, particularly in relation to health, safety, and nutrition. She advised that a further 60 are ready for inspection, but noted that this exercise will not be undertaken until the commencement of the 2008/09 academic year in September, as institutions were closed for the summer holidays. Currently, she said, the ECC is only able to inspect day care centres.
There are approximately 3000 early childhood institutions in operation across the island, Professor Samms-Vaughan informed. She said that since the registration process commenced in November 2007, two out of every three institutions have submitted applications.
“Not all of them are complete. But we are happy that people are participating in the process. We are working with the agencies, (the) public health and fire departments, because some of the problems with the applications rest with the overload that has occurred with these agencies. Three thousand institutions is a whole lot of additional work for (the) public health and fire departments,” she pointed out.
Professor Samms-Vaughan advised that to assist with this process, institutions are now required to develop plans pertaining to health, nutrition, and safety. She added that early childhood officers in regional offices have been trained to work with schools and help them develop their plans.