The Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada has been lauded for adopting 281 basic schools in Jamaica, which represent more than 10 per cent of the country’s 2,125 basic schools.
“PACE Canada must be congratulated for this,” said Dr. Lola Ramocan, an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Specialist.
“You have been a mighty organisation of ECD educators, child development specialists, concerned citizens, persons with a vision and a heart for ECD, both here and abroad,” she added.
Actress and singer Saskia Garel (left) was presented with the Helen Sissons Children’s Story Award by PACE Canada’s founder Dr. Mavis Burke (right) at the organization’s recent fundraising event.
Dr. Ramocan, who was the keynote speaker at PACE Canada’s annual fundraising event in Toronto, Canada, recently, said the tremendous contribution of the organisation demonstrates commitment and unwavering support for early childhood development.
Highlighting some recent developments in the early childhood sector in Jamaica, Dr. Ramocan said a more integrated approach is being taken towards early childhood, as many have come to realize that the first five years of the child’s health, nutrition, play and stimulation needs are crucial for childhood development.
This new integrated approach has led to closer collaboration between the Ministries of Health, and Education, supported by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
A national parenting policy is to be finalised this year, and will address important areas of child development, such as child shifting, child protection, child abuse, barrel children, single parenting and the critical roles of fathers and mothers, she said.
The sector is also faced with many challenges, noted Dr. Ramocan, including lack of financial resources, lack of stimulating materials, lack of reading materials in the home, social and economical inequities and the high incidence of crime and violence.
Immediate Past President of PACE Canada Mrs. Lorna King was acknowledged for her contribution to the organization.
An evaluation of the very successful Roving Caregiver’s Programme, which has received UNICEF’s highest award, shows that millions of dollars could be saved if children were stimulated early.
The new president of PACE Canada, Mary Anne Chambers, noted that in its 23 years existence, the organisation has helped close to 50,000 basic school children.
She thanked the non-Jamaican supporters who have helped over the years, for recognising the importance of supporting the children of Jamaica, as well as the Jamaican supporters whose pride, love and conscience “cause us to hold the rock close to our hearts.”
Mrs. Chambers told the audience that it is imperative to continue the support by becoming a member of the organisation, adopting a basic school or making a financial donation to a school.
“If we truly care, we must invest in Jamaica’s future. That is what we do when we invest in the children of Jamaica, and there has never been a more important time to invest in the children of Jamaica,” she said.
She introduced the 2010/11 Board of Directors comprised of – Immediate Past President, Lorna King; Diana Burke; Dr. Vincent Conville; Charmaine Denton; Totlyn Douglas; Dr. Fred Kennedy; Dr. Rosemary Moodie; Donette Chin-Loy; Ingrid Lawrence; Dr. Vandra Masemann; Mardi South; Beverley Thompson; and Christine Williams.
Pacesetter Awards were presented to Grace Lyons and Laureen Lee; while the Helen Sissons Children’s Story Award was presented to actress and singer Saskia Garel. Amanda Chance received the Appelt Scholarship.