JECDF to Focus on Role of Grandmothers in Children’s Development

The Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation (JECDF) will be focusing on projects looking at the role of grandparents, particularly grandmothers, in the early development of children in Jamaica.
“We will be supporting those (projects), aimed at educating and guiding these grandmothers, in their efforts to offer surrogate support to Jamaica’s young children,” Founder and Chair of the JECDF, Mrs. Lorna Golding said during her presentation to the Women’s International Forum at the United Nations, New York, on Friday, April 16.
Mrs. Golding, wife of Prime Minister Bruce Golding, noted that the Jamaican situation is such, that young children are increasingly being reared by grandmothers, because their parents leave the community or even the country in search of work and opportunities for financial advancement.
“Additionally, the increase in children and adolescents bearing children of their own has created grandmothers, who are now much younger than they used to be. It means that, even while these young grandmothers are in the process of raising their own children, they are being called on to take up the responsibility of ‘grand-mothering’ their grandchildren,” Mrs. Golding said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Golding noted that in establishing the JECDF, she has tried to support and promote the provision of improved services and resources for all Jamaican children, regardless of gender or background.
“The Foundation has a vision that one day every Jamaican child will have equal opportunity to develop their full potential to contribute positively to their country’s development,” she said.
Mrs. Golding said that one issue with which the country still grapples, is the concept of gender equity, which is the distinction in the treatment and socialisation of men and women, which starts from birth.
She argued that so profound are these distinctions, that in the early childhood years from zero to eight, “we have seen a trend of young girls entering the formal school system far more prepared than their male counterparts to handle the new rigours of school.”
“Several factors have been suggested as reasons for this phenomenon. For example, girls tend to be more closely supervised; they are expected to be more disciplined; they are usually given greater responsibility for chores and other tasks in the home; and, they are usually not allowed to leave the home or yard,” Mrs. Golding said.
She pointed out that all these factors have affirmed the Foundation’s view that early stimulation practices must be directed at all children, so that both boys and girls are afforded the opportunity for holistic development.
Mrs. Golding also noted that children who receive the right stimulation tend to be healthier, happier and better students and eventually productive and educated citizens. She added that their total development is a benefit to the society, as a whole, by way of decreased levels of crime and violence, a more productive and educated labour force, decreased dependence on social services and greater levels of employment and productive enterprise.
“I am committed to doing my part through the Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation and other avenues to assist in ensuring that all Jamaica’s children are given the right start, the right way at the right time, right now,” Mrs. Golding said.

JIS Social