United Way pushes early childhood institutions closer to certification
After being at the helm of their registered early childhood institutions (ECIs) for decades, the principals of Sanguinette ECI and York Town Basic School are positive that they are now within touching distance of Early Childhood Commission (ECC) certification.
Both administrators were yesterday presented with cheques to cover the costs to construct perimeter fences at their schools, one of several prerequisites for achieving the operational safety standard set for ECIs.
Four other ECIs were also recipients of funding to improve their facilities in preparing to be certified with the ECC, courtesy of the United Way of Jamaica's Allocation Committee, which disbursed a combined sum of $1,472,000 to six basic schools islandwide.
"After the fencing [is erected], we just have some painting to do, so we should be certified by the end of this year," said Paulette Dixon-Reece, who has served as principal of the Clarendon-based York Town Basic School since 1992.
York Town, which has a student population of 47 students and a staff complement of five (four teachers and a cook), was allocated $289,000 to erect the fence and to purchase sleeping mats.
"This school means a lot to persons in the area because it has been in existence for about 45 years, and for a time, it was the only school in the area," said Dixon-Reece. "Most of our parents are young and unemployed because it's a cane farm area, so it's difficult for them to pay the fees. We don't turn back children, so this funding to help build the fence, acquire mats, and get us certified is very much appreciated," she added.
Dianna Douse, principal of the Trelawny-based Sanguinette ECI, said that certification would almost certainly mean an increase in the school population, which currently stood at 65. Sanguinette received $143,000 from United Way of Jamaica to construct their fence.
"The last major hurdle was the fencing, and we've got it now, so we're aiming for certification by the end of September. As early as today (yesterday), we're going to stop at Fence Master, and if they're available, the work can start tomorrow (today)," said Douse, who has done 20 years as principal.
"Once we achieve all 12 [ECC] standards, I'm confident the school will grow," she concluded.