JIS: The Union Gardens Infant School in South West St. Andrew has taken steps to ensure that the nutritional needs of the nearly 70 students enrolled at the early childhood institution are being adequately met.
This is in keeping with Standard 7 of the Early Childhood Commission’s Standards for the Operation, Management and Administration of Early Childhood Institutions (ECIs).
Principal, Pauline Stapleton-Griffiths, said that the school cultivates a vegetable garden that provides callaloo, string beans, pumpkin and pak choi, among others for the preparation of meals for the students.
The Jamaica 4-H Clubs provides guidance on how to tend the garden.
“We are happy that we have been able to help our students meet their nutritional needs,” she said, noting that the garden “has allowed us to teach them about the importance of vegetables in their diet.”
Standards 7 of the ECC’s 12 Operating Standards requires that institutions provide children with appropriate nutritious meals and model good nutritional practices for children and their families.
The others relate to staffing; development and educational programmes; interactions and relationships with children; physical environment; indoor and outdoor equipment; health; safety; child rights, child protection and equality; parent and stakeholder participation; administration and finance.
Mrs. Stapleton-Griffiths pointed out that while the school has met 80 per cent of the required standards for certification, it needs to have activity plans and core learning centres established.
She said the school also requires an office assistant to help organise the administrative files, and an additional caregiver.
Union Gardens Infant School has a staff complement of 14 including five trained teachers.
The institution was constructed in 2015 through a public-private partnership led by the Union Gardens Foundation.
Students participate in extra-curricular activities including swimming, dancing, football and speech.
The school was awarded a bronze medal in the 2017 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Speech Festival. For details on the ECC’s 12 Certification Standards, please visit the agency’s website at www.ecc.gov.jm.