ECC Conducts Early Childhood Act Sensitization Campaign

The Early Childhood Commission (ECC) in collaboration with the Enhancement of Basic Schools Project (EBSP) has embarked on a programme to sensitize operators of early childhood institutions about the Early Childhood Act and its regulations.
Some 70 education officers in the early childhood sector were trained to help stakeholders within their regions to better understand the new requirements and assist in the sensitization campaign.
Regional and Community Intervention Coordinator for the ECC, Richard Williams told JIS News that since the start of the campaign on January 28, more than 50 workshops have been held and that so far there has been remarkable participation.
“Since the programme has started the education officers have been doing a great job in going across the different parts of the island to do their sensitization programme. In a matter of days we will be having our mid-point review with the officers where they will be giving their feedback on the programme thus far,” Mr. Williams said.
He reassured that the programme was not structured to close any early childhood institution, but that it was designed to ensure that the children would be able to access education in a safe, healthy and nurturing environment with competent practitioners and caregivers who could stimulate their learning, hence allowing them to meet their full potentials.
“We know that it is going to be a challenge for some schools to meet the standards but no institution will be closed by the Early Childhood Commission,” he said, pointing out that schools could only be closed by the public health inspector or based on recommendations made by an inspector.
He further stated that schools would be given the time to meet the requirements based on the assessment and invited the community, donor agencies and other partners across Jamaica to be a part of the process and support the early childhood institution in their area.
“This workshop will run until April 27 and at the end the final evaluation will be done and after that we will begin our media campaign where this same information will be sent out on the television, on the radio and in the newspapers,” he said.
He informed that the annual conference for the ECC would be held on June 19 to June 21 this year at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios and that the focus of the conference would be on child rights.
“We are inviting persons from the Health, Education and the Social sector to get their input as well as to develop a positive agenda for children,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Education Officer for Region three, Dr. Carol D’caccio, told JIS News that the feedback from the workshops that were being conducted in St. Ann proved that the sessions were received positively.
She explained that the parish was divided into nine zones and that different officers were selected to conduct workshops in the zone to which they were assigned.
“There will be follow-up workshops but where we go from here is implementation. Persons are expected to go back to their schools and implement what they have learnt from the workshops. As an officer I will be going into my schools to check how far they have reached, what assistance they need and so on,” she said.
Tameka McKoy, a teacher who participated in a workshop that was recently held at the United Church in Runaway Bay, St. Ann, said that the workshop was relevant and that she had learnt enough to go back into her school and community to educate teachers and parents about the Early Childhood Act and Regulations.
“I also endorse the effort of the Government to improve our institutions, thus making the teaching and learning process more effective,” she said.

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