Less than 1% of early childhood centres meet ECC standard
Floyd Green, the state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, says that of the approximately 2,500 registered early childhood institutions in Jamaica, only 18 schools, or less than one per cent, have so far met the required 12 standards to be formally certified under the Early Childhood Commission.
The junior minister, who is also the member of parliament for South West St Elizabeth, stated that it was only last year that the first set of schools began reaching all 12 standards, adding that the country's early-childhood system has a far way to go.
"Some are at 70 per cent, 80 per cent and even 20 per cent in terms of reaching all standards," said Green, while speaking at the recent launch of the MoBay City Run in Montego Bay, St James. "What we have found is that all early childhood institutions want to reach those standards, but the difficulty oftentimes is the resources."
According to Green, this is where charity groups and corporate entities come in by familiarising themselves with their local early childhood schools and helping them to reach the certification level.
"We have a lot in western Jamaica that are ... 60 per cent and 70 per cent [compliant]. So all they need now is your support," said Green. "Think about the early childhood institutions in your locale. Contact the Early Childhood Commission to find out how near these schools are to the standards and start working."
Green went on to state that the Early Childhood Commission is working alongside the schools to identify their respective areas of need and to ensure a stimulating educational environment.
The 12 categories of standards for the operations of early childhood institutions include the following:
- Development and educational programmes
- Physical environment
- Interactions and relationships with children
- Indoor and outdoor equipment
- Child rights, child protection and equality
- Parent and stakeholder participation.