GoodHeart | Riverton Meadows Early Childhood Centre closer to accreditation
The Riverton Meadows Early Childhood Centre has seen significant transformations since it began operating in 1976. From a wooden structure to a concrete building with students sitting on individual chairs, the institution has come a far way. Over the years, thanks to a number of partnerships, the school has grown remarkably and continues to serve the residents of Riverton Meadows and surrounding communities.
However, for long-standing principal Junior Rowe, the ultimate objective of the administration is to have the institution achieve full certification from the Early Childhood Commission (ECC). Though registered with the ECC, the certification process requires early-childhood institutions (ECIs) to fulfil the criteria set under the ECC’s standards, which relate to health and safety (public health and fire safety reports, and police records); and educational quality, including teacher-qualification certificates.
Schools must also undergo an extensive inspection to be fully certified.
For the people of this area, the Riverton Meadows Early Childhood Centre is more than just a school, serving also as a nursery where parents can leave their children safely. “Most families here come from economically challenging backgrounds. However, they are determined to improve their children’s lives through education. We are inspired by the dedication of the parents towards the development of their children, and this is what fuels our passion to continue with the work that we are doing here at the Riverton Meadows Early Childhood Centre, despite the school not being fully accredited,” Rowe said.
The school moved one step closer to achieving its objectives of accreditation with a recent partnership with the Desnoes & Geddes (D&G) Foundation. As part of the foundation’s commitment to assisting the institution on its journey to accreditation, a donation of $150,000 and a commercial-grade stove, which will facilitate on-site meal preparation for students, was recently made to the school.
“Last year, we faced numerous limitations to accreditation, and we were much farther from achieving our certification before the D&G Foundation stepped in. With the foundation’s help, we moved much closer to the finish line, and here they are again! We plan to take advantage of this gift in a few ways. To be fully certified, we must purchase sanitisation products, complete repairs, and paint our playground equipment. We also hope to support our feeding programme with some of this donation and, of course, the stove,” Rowe said.
After learning of the school’s accreditation challenges in 2022, the D&G Foundation began providing much-needed support to aid in the process. Last September, the foundation donated a refrigerator, baby changing stations, fans and sanitation items. Much-needed repairs to the institution’s nursery were also completed.
“When we visited the institution last year, we saw that the staff had already accomplished so much, and we truly admired their efforts. Although we made some contributions then, they had still not achieved full accreditation. So we knew there was more work to be done,” said D&G Foundation Accountant Dennis Beckford.
“With this monetary donation and the commercial stove, we are hoping to hear soon that the school has been fully certified and Mr Rowe, his committed staff, and bright students can continue to teach, learn and grow in a space that is officially recognised for meeting the standard of quality,” Beckford added.
Despite the continued challenges, the staff and students have proven their resilience and determination to succeed. Along with infrastructural setbacks, Riverton Meadows experienced substantial learning loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has improved through weekly interventions and one-on-one assessments. Of the more than 50 students who participated in the most recent four-year-old assessment, over 90 per cent were deemed above average.
“I am more than elated about the progress that we are making, and I cannot even begin to express my profound appreciation for the foundation’s support. They continue to show us so much generosity, especially as we prepare for our certification completion,” Rowe said.
“Given what we have achieved so far and what this new donation will allow us to achieve, I would say we are only one per cent shy of being fully accredited. The Early Childhood Commission and the officers have even declared that they anticipate approving our accreditation by the end of March, based on their assessment. So, on behalf of the parents, teachers and students, thank you, D&G Foundation, for helping us get to the finish line,” Rowe added.
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