JIS: THE Early Childhood Commission (ECC) recently formalised a partnership with Digicel Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance to five early-childhood schools to become certified under the ECC’s 12 Operating Standards.
The schools are New Works Primary and Infant, Westmoreland; Upper Rock Spring All-Age and Infant School, Hanover; Pratville Infant Department, Manchester; Carisbrooke Infant Department, St Elizabeth; and Cassava River Primary and Infant Department, St Catherine.
Acting executive director of the ECC Karlene Deslandes told JIS News that these schools were selected in an effort to extend assistance to institutions in rural areas where there is need for such an intervention.
“The ECC is quite happy for this partnership because it means the 300 children in these five institutions will be positively impacted in terms of their outcomes. We will be providing technical assistance for them to meet our 12 standards, providing guidance as to what is required,” she said.
“We work with the schools in terms of their plans and policies. Our officers go out and work with them to get their plans and policies done — the fire plan, nutrition plan and others. They are part of the requirements under the ECC Act and Regulations. We also arrange for training with our agencies, such as the Child Development Agency and public health departments, so that they receive the necessary training in these areas,” Deslandes added.
The certification process requires early childhood institutions to satisfy the criteria under the ECC’s standards, which relate to health, safety and educational quality, including teacher qualification certificates. They must also pass a rigorous inspection process.
She noted that so far, a site visit has been conducted at Cassava River Primary and Infant. Visits will shortly be made to the other four schools to determine the specific needs of each institution.