Early childhood educators lauded
Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
TEN HANOVER-based early-childhood educators were honoured by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) on Monday at a colourful awards luncheon, which was held at Tryall Club in Sandy Bay, Hanover.
The event, which was organised by Region Four of the ECC, forms part of the Commission's 10th anniversary celebrations. Teachers were lauded for their long and distinguished service in the field of education.
In giving the keynote address, Hillary Foster, the regional director for Region Four in the Ministry of Education, underscored the importance of early childhood education while noting that Government is supporting the programme to rationalise basic schools by merging them into the infant departments of primary schools.
"The ministry is targeting the merger and/or construction of 200 early childhood institutions (ECI) in the coming school year," said Foster. "The merger of basic schools into infant departments provides critical institutional support that is already available at the primary school."
Foster also noted that in the coming school year, Government will be moving to assign trained teachers to some basic schools to ensure that youngsters at this level get the best possible foundation.
"In the new school year, the ministry will assign one early childhood trained teacher to 480 basic schools with the responsibility to coach pre-trained teachers in these schools," Foster stated. "In the following year, we hope to implement a similar increase. We want our best teachers and practitioners to stay in the early childhood system."
According to Foster, the decade-long journey of the ECC, which required much commitment and dedication, was made possible through the partnerships, which the ministry has managed to forge between the various schools.
In 2013, the Chase Fund spent $50 million for repairs and retrofitting of 10 early childhood institutions and is committed to spend an additional $87 million. Another entity, Food For The Poor, Jamaica, has so far built or expanded 29 basic schools and an additional 13 are under construction.
There are 2,661 ECIs in Jamaica, 78 of which are located in Hanover, including 64 basic schools.
The person honoured at the Hanover function were: Joyce Smith - Logwood Basic School, Pauline Stein - Lances Bay Basic, Elaine Myrie - Green Island Basic, Novia Parkinson - Santoy Basic, Matilda Grant-Jones - Pell River Basic, Beulah Pryce - Riverside Basic, Sybil Calvin Brown - St Simon Basic, Alice Williams - Axe and Adze Basic, Rhona Heaven - Clare Basic, Milkah Gillins - Haddington Basic and Zena May Jones Brown - Cave Valley Basic.