Parents of young children in Ithaca, West Bank of Berbice, now have access to a brand-new Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC) which was commissioned in the village on April 4.

The centre was officially opened by Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry, who told the residents and visitors that it was representative of the government’s deep belief in early childhood education as an integral part of the national education agenda.

“We believe that optimising the early years of any child will give that child a jump-start on learning and provides the best platform for academic practices and training and for honing the intelligence and skills of his or her young mind… Early childhood education is the best investment we can make as a society to ensure our children learn early and retain the foundational skills and knowledge to help them achieve their full potential as adults.”news 20190409 14

The construction of the ECEC at Ithaca cost $36M and was financed by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) from funds received from the Government of Guyana (GOG) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

A resident of Ithaca, Verlyn Collins, who is a craft producer, welcomed the service saying that it gives her more time to be productive and market her items while arrangements for care-taking can be made for her three-year-old son.

Melieta Jacques shared similar sentiments about the usefulness of the centre in taking care of her two-year-old daughter, thus giving her more income earning opportunities.

Security guard, Shoneca Anthony said the centre helped her to work with greater peace of mind knowing that her son, aged two, was in the hands of competent caregivers while she was at work.

The centre caters for children from three months to three years old and has an after-care service for children from nursery school who can be accommodated after their school day is over.

The center at Ithaca will be managed by the Regional Administration of Region 5, Mahaica/Berbice in collaboration with the Child Care Unit of the Ministry of Social Protection. The service is being offered at charges ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 per month per child and the administration of the region will be flexible in this regard whenever necessary.