Parents major part of early childhood development - ECC
A renewed focus in strengthening the parent-involvement arm of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), has seen the parish of Clarendon taking the lead.
This was revealed at a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum where the commission noted that the agency has been on a drive to improve early-childhood education in Jamaica.
Ceila Morgan, public relations manager at the ECC, in an interview with The Gleaner, following the forum, indicated that while the programme is not new, it is even more critical that parents understand the importance of being involved in their children's life at an early stage.
"I must say that there has been improvement in terms of parent involvement in their child's life. There are resource centres in every region so as to cater to every parish, and Clarendon, in particular, has been showing favourable signs. Parents in that area are showing an interest in the children's life, in addition to participating in the programmes," she declared.
"What is even more important is that they are taught skills, and as an agency we ensure that we introduce income-earning programmes as well. Because in addition to catering to the emotional and physical needs, being able to provide for your children is also integral," she said
Morgan added, "Many times we hear calls for parents to avoid giving their children sweets and other fatty foods but when you check it out, most parents are not able to afford nutritious foods."
The public relations manager also said that male participation in the programme has been impressive, indicating that the agency is working hard to have a success story in every parish.
"We are working hard to make sure that the success that we currently have in Clarendon can be replicated in other parishes because every parish benefits from the centres. People are different and response varies, so the aim is to keep working with our partners and getting the message out there," she charged.
"We have also been targeting the men and we have been seeing the results. We are encouraged and the aim ultimately is to make sure that we get parents to understand that early-childhood education is not just about changing diapers but early stimulation is critical," she said.