The Early Childhood Commission has noted with deep concern a report in yesterday’s Gleaner that a child in a day care centre was subjected to corporal punishment. The Commission is reminding operators that corporal punishment is not to be inflicted on a child in an Early Childhood Institution as outlined in the Early Childhood Act 2005 (Section 16 (1)). An Early Childhood Institution is a setting that provides developmentally appropriate care, stimulation, education and socialization for children under the age of six years. This includes day care centres, basic schools, nurseries, pre-schools and infant schools/departments.
Section 16 (2) of the Early Childhood Act states that a mechanical or electrical device shall not be used to restrain a child in an Early Childhood Institution. The Act further explains that where restraint of a child is necessary, such restraint shall be administered in accordance with regulations made for that purpose (Section 16 (3)).
Standard 3 of the twelve Standards for the Operation, Management and Administration of Early Childhood Institutions states that early childhood staff are required to have the characteristics, training, knowledge, skills and attitude to promote positive behaviors and reduce difficult and challenging behaviors in children.
Acceptable forms of discipline included in this Standard are:
- Positive Guidance and Re-Direction
- Use of reasoning and explanation of consequences for children 2 years and older
- Use of time-out for children 2 years and over
Standard 3.2.11 also recommends that the institution’s policy on non-use of corporal punishment and physical abuse is reviewed annually with all staff members. Parent information leaflets on the impact of corporal punishment and/or physical abuse on children and appropriate forms of discipline for young children are also to be made available at the institution.
The Early Childhood Commission Act 2003, Early Childhood Act 2005, Early Childhood Regulations 2005 and the Standards Document for Early Childhood Institutions are available on ECC’s website at www.ecc.gov.jm (https://ecc.gov.jm/publications/).