JIS News

Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, has called on Jamaicans to volunteer their time and resources toward improving basic schools on Labour Day, including putting in features to increase the children’s cultural awareness.
“We should ensure that our children understand our heritage.so we would encourage.for this year’s Labour Day programme, that persons look at basic schools and see how we can ensure that our youngest children understand and appreciate our heritage,” she said.Professor Samms-Vaughan, who was speaking to JIS News recently, said the suggestion was in keeping with the Labour Day theme of ‘Honouring our ancestors.Strengthening Communities’.
She proposed that community members could enhance the walls of the school buildings by painting on them, the national symbols, the heroes and heroine, and “other elements of our culture, which would serve to inform and educate our children about our heritage”.
“By painting these figures on the walls, children will ask questions and stories can be told about them,” she pointed out, further suggesting that community groups could make toys with local materials, as well as sleep and play equipment for the schools.
Principal and teacher at Rosedale Basic School in Kingston, Kerise Kelly, has endorsed the proposal, noting that this will serve to improve the physical environment of the schools and enhance students’ learning.
In the meantime, the ECC Chairman reminded parents, guardians and community members to work with early childhood institutions to meet the mandatory registration process, which will come on stream once the 2005 Early Childhood Act is enacted later this year.
She explained that once the Act takes effect, all institutions, including pre-schools and day-care facilities, will be required to meet the specified standards before they are granted a certificate of registration.
These include having at least one trained teacher on staff, proper building structures, adequate play areas, proper nutrition programmes, comprehensive educational programmes, safety plans, and adequate interaction between children and staff. Professor Samms-Vaughan noted that the ECC recognizes that many early childhood institutions will have challenges in meeting the requirements, but each institution will be given particular time lines to get their facilities in order. It is only in cases where an institution proves to be dangerous to the health and safety of the children that it will be closed, she stated.

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