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JIS News

As of 2007, all staff members, including teachers and auxiliary workers, who care for children in an early childhood institution, will be required, on an annual basis, to be certified by a registered medical practitioner.
This is a requirement of the 2005 Early Childhood Act and its accompanying regulations. In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Merris Murray, said that this requirement, like others, was in keeping with the transformation of the early childhood sector, which aimed to give children the most appropriate staffing and learning facilities which are required for them at that stage of their development.
“The Act requires that the applicant or the proposed employees of an early childhood institution be certified on an annual basis by a registered medical practitioner, and that certificate should state that such a person is fit and in good health,” she noted. In addition to this requirement, she said that the Act required the operator, in addition to employees of the institution, to present to the ECC, on an annual basis, a food handler’s permit.
Miss Murray further highlighted that the regulations governing health care, required that all employees be trained in paediatric first aid, universal precaution as it relates to the prevention of blood borne diseases and the recognition of symptoms of child abuse.
The Early Childhood Act, which was passed in 2005, places the operation of all early childhood institutions, such as infant, basic schools and day care facilities within a legal framework.
In addition to health requirements, the operators of early childhood institutions will be required to register their institutions with the ECC, ensure that staff is adequately trained in specified areas, ensure that the physical environment is safe for the children and that buildings are in suitable and acceptable condition.
The Early Childhood Commission, which was established in 2004, has responsibility for educating all stakeholders about the regulations that will govern the early childhood sector, prior to the implementation of the Act.
The Commission will also be responsible for ensuring that all operators of early childhood institutions adhere to these regulations when the Act is duly enforced.