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Operators of some 75 early childhood institutions in Kingston and St. Andrew are set to benefit from training to improve health and safety standards at the facilities.
The Council for Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) has secured some $1 million in funding for the training programme, which will cover health and sanitation, disaster and emergency management preparedness, and fire safety.
Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CVSS, Winsome Wilkins, yesterday (March 19) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Commission’s office, downtown Kingston, to facilitate the training.
Speaking at the signing, Professor Samms-Vaughan said that the initiative will ensure that teachers are adequately trained in areas of health and safety, and in turn, will educate the students, so as to build a culture of awareness.
She said early childhood institutions are required to conduct safety and earthquake drills, which will ensure preparedness in the event that a disaster strikes. Institutions are also mandated to meet certain safety requirements under the Early Childhood Act. “So we must make sure that all our institutions, all our teachers, are trained in providing a proper healthy and safe environment for our children,” Professor Samms-Vaughan stated.
In developing the training programme, she informed that the Commission had collaborated with the Public Health Department, the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to facilitate the development of plans that are appropriate for early childhood institutions.
She urged other stakeholders to partner with the ECC and the CVSS to “have the same kind of training for both their staff and subsequently, their children.”
In her remarks, Mrs. Wilkins said that the Council is very proud of the partnership.
“We are ensuring that our children receive the best quality education and for this to happen, we have to make sure that those who are responsible for teaching and training them, are prepared for this task,” she stated.
The one-month training programme will begin on April 1 at the National Volunteer Centre, 2b Camp Road in Kingston. Courses will be held for two days each week. Over time, the training will be extended island wide, Mrs. Wilkins indicated.
CVSS had obtained almost $600,000 in funding for the training programme from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica.

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