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Story Highlights

  • The expanded Westmoreland Early Childhood Resource Centre and the Torrington Early Childhood Centre were opened by Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, on February 27.
  • The Minister said early childhood education is a major priority of the Ministry.
  • The work of the Early Childhood Commission that has been set up to regularize and regulate early childhood institutions.

The expanded Westmoreland Early Childhood Resource Centre and the Torrington Early Childhood Centre were opened by Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, on February 27.

The centres, located near Savanna la Mar, were established through a collaborative partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Caribbean Development Bank at a cost of approximately $80 million.

Addressing the ceremony, the Minister said early childhood education is a major priority of the Ministry, as the formative years from age four are critical to the development of thinking and learning skills in a child.

“We know that what happens to the little ones are definitive of what is going to happen to them for the rest of their lives. The development of a child’s personality, their brain power and their habits in the first seven or eight years of their lives are the most critical in their development,” Rev. Thwaites pointed out.

“Therefore parents, when you are asked to contribute to this school or to any early childhood institution, consider it the very best investment that you can make in your child’s future,” he said.

He commended the work of the Early Childhood Commission that has been set up to regularize and regulate early childhood institutions as well as promote operating standards.

The Minister pointed out that one strategy in achieving the Early Childhood Commission standards is to integrate early childhood institutions having weak management/organizational structure and low resources into infant departments of Primary Schools.

“So far in this school year, some 70 primary schools have been involved.  Another strategy to lift standards in the early childhood institutions is to invite private sector partnership to provide resources and offer oversight management. Several corporate entities have done this and the Ministry of Education commends them,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites informed that the Ministry is also supporting the training of early childhood teachers in special education skills, to ensure that students with learning disabilities are recognized early and measures applied to address their situation.