Early Childhood Institute to be Constructed


Cabinet has approved the award of a contract valued at $48.7 million for the construction of an early childhood institute on the grounds of the Shortwood Teachers’ College in Kingston.
This was announced yesterday (February 7) by Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman at a post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
Senator Whiteman said construction of the institute is expected to be completed within 12 months, and that it should “function as the engine to drive the professional development of the National Early Childhood Programme”.
Explaining the role the institute should play, he told journalists that “it will seek to make a link between the scientific knowledge about early childhood and the societal agenda of the country, so that by practical demonstration, by providing a centre where demonstrations can be given as to how early childhood practice is best carried out, the country as a whole, teachers from all over Jamaica, and ultimately the region, will benefit”.
Minister Whiteman said the structure would be built to accommodate children between birth and age three, “which is of course, a day care facility, but one which will be virtually a laboratory for the exercise of early childhood care and development practices”.
The contract covers phase one of the proposed two-phase early childhood institute project. Phase one will comprise the construction of a reinforced concrete framed two-storey building with a floor area of almost 1,200 square feet.
Minister Whiteman cited the Shortwood Teachers’ College as an ideal location for the institute, as the college was a pioneering institution in early childhood education, dating back to the 1950s.
Currently, the certification in early childhood education provided by the Shortwood Teachers’ College, include a three year Diploma; a Bachelors degree, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies, and a Masters degree in conjunction with the University of South Florida.

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