JIS News

Executive Director of the Early Childhood Commission, Merris Murray, is advising operators of Early Childhood institutions to prepare for the registration requirements that will become mandatory under the impending Early Childhood Act.
Miss Murray told JIS News that once the Act came into effect, providers of early childhood services, such as day-care centres and educational institutions for children aged 0 to 6 years, would be required to apply to the Early Childhood Commission for registration.
The Executive Director explained that according to the Early Childhood Act 2005, “an early childhood institution is recognized as any institution that provides developmentally appropriate care, stimulation, education and socialization for children under the age of six years”.
Qualifications for operating and registering an Early Childhood institution include being 18 years or older and being found fit and proper to run such an institution, she pointed out.
“Fit and proper,” she explained, meant that the individual must exhibit a high level of integrity. She noted that the Act clearly states that any person who has been convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Offences Against the Person Act, or the Child Care and Protection Act, would not qualify to run an early childhood institution.
Additionally, such persons must not have been found guilty of fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude, she said.
Persons involved in early childhood care would need to tender applications, accompanied by two passport sized photographs, recommendations from a Justice of the Peace or Minister of Religion, and a report from the office of the Jamaica Fire Brigade declaring the safety of the institution, she noted.
The Executive Director added that the application should also be accompanied by a report from a medical officer or any other authorized person, stating that the premises were inspected by the Public Health Authorities, and it has been found fit and appropriate for the accommodation of children.
She further noted that each employee in the early childhood institution should have a certificate from a medical practitioner and should possess a food handler’s permit. Each job description should also be submitted to the Early Childhood Commission, to ensure that the terms and conditions of employment are clearly outlined, she added.
Miss Murray stressed that applicants for registration would need to submit a floor plan, and indicate the type of furniture which would be used in the facility. “The accommodation should be. inviting for the children,” she pointed out.