JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Unknown to many, early childhood education commences before a child enters a basic or infant school.
  • Speaking to JIS News, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, with special responsibility for youth, Dr. Donald Rhodd, stressed that daycare centres play a pivotal role in the developmental process of children.
  • oting that the selection of the theme for this year's Labour Day is 'Play Your Part, Give Our Children the Right Start.a First Rate Early Childhood Facility for Your Community', Minister Rhodd said that "early childhood education embraces not only basic schools but also daycare, from birth so to speak."

Unknown to many, early childhood education commences before a child enters a basic or infant school. In fact, it begins as early as daycare.

Speaking to JIS News, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, with special responsibility for youth, Dr. Donald Rhodd, stressed that daycare centres play a pivotal role in the developmental process of children.

Noting that the selection of the theme for this year’s Labour Day is ‘Play Your Part, Give Our Children the Right Start.a First Rate Early Childhood Facility for Your Community’, Minister Rhodd said that “early childhood education embraces not only basic schools but also daycare, from birth so to speak.”

Mr. Rhodd pointed out that the government had been focusing on early childhood education as one of the major planks for educational development.

He explained that Prime Minister P.J. Patterson had given a commitment a few years earlier that by the end of 2003, all early childhood aged children should be in basic schools in Jamaica, and there should be full attendance at the early childhood institutions.

The State Minister of Education told JIS that, “all scientific surveys point to how important the whole process of socialisation is in those formative years of life.” Though children usually entered the elementary school system (basic schools) during the ages of three to five years, he stressed that daycare was the educational foundation upon which the young had their first footing.

As a result of daycare being identified as an early exposure to the educational process, Minister Rhodd said the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Unit has sought to put in place measures to aid the development of children, prior to their transition to basic school learning.

He said that in relation to the mandate of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, “children need to be professionally cared for when they are not being taken care of by their parents or guardians. When they go into these facilities, you need to guarantee that the standards are maintained, that they are in a stimulating environment and there is the appropriate level of care.”

In recognition of these demands to early childhood development, Mr. Rhodd said close to 2,000 caregivers working with children have been trained and certified over the past year by the Ministry of Education.