...urged to maintain and improve quality of service

With its passage in the National Assembly and subsequent enactment a few months ago, the Childcare and Development Services Act is one that will seek to ensure that all Childcare Centres operate and meet, at least,the minimum service standards for children in their care.news 20161229 1

It was against this background that the Ministry has embarked on a mission to certify the operations of childcare facilities throughout the country.
Yesterday, 13 of the 200 odd existing facilities that offer early childhood care were for the first time issued with operational licenses by Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Volda Lawrence.
The facilities that are now certified are Tryangle Day Care, Sun Flower Day Care and Play Group, Unique’s Play Group and Day Care, Green Acres Play Group, Little Angels Day Care and Play School, Precious Lambs Day Care and Play Group, Margaret Rose Arthur Day Care, ISA Islamic School Day Care, Alcleo Day Care and Play Group, the Canadian School of Arts and Science Play Group, A – Z Play Group and Day Care, Blessed Children Day Care and Play Group and First Prep Day Care and Play Group.
“I wish to congratulate you for taking the necessary steps to provide such a facility and urge you to maintain and further improve the quality of service that you offer to our young potentials…I would like to congratulate all of you who are involved in the care and nurture of our young minds and encourage you to uphold high standards of practice and service.news 20161230
“You have a crucial and pivotal role to play in laying the foundation for future generations,” said Minister Lawrence. She however, cautioned the representatives of the facilities that “the Ministry will be constantly monitoring our early childhood service and as such, the licensing of childcare facilities will be done annually.”
As she deliberated further at yesterday’s forum, Minister Lawrence shared her conviction that “today marks an exceptional and significant day in the calendar of early childhood care for we are on the threshold of putting a stamp of respect and standardisation on our Early Childhood Care Centres.”
According to the Minister, one of the dramatic changes in society over the years has been the increased participation of toddlers and young children in early childhood settings. This demand for non-parent care, she added, has risen as a result of more women joining the labour force. Consequently, the Minister observed, provision for childcare services during the day as well as the night increased so that parents could execute their jobs without having to worry over the protection of their children.
“We have therefore witnessed a mushrooming of centres to which parents, irrespective of their employment status, entrust their children so that they can experience the social and educational enrichment that such facilities provide,” Minister Lawrence explained.
She pointed out that her Ministry in its mandate of ensuring the well-being of its children recognised that the Early Childhood Centres needed to all provide the same quality service and care. It was against this background that Minister Lawrence took to the National Assembly the Childcare and Development Services Bill which was passed on May 4, 2016 and subsequently enacted on July 6, 2016.
The Act is one that governs the operation of childcare facilities and aims to ensure that all such facilities follow the best practices that are paramount for their efficient function.
It is the expectation of the Minister that with the enforcement of the Act by the Ministry the fears of parents who are apprehensive about using early childcare facilities will be effectively allayed. According to Minister Lawrence yesterday “irrespective of where they are, they can be confident that their children will receive the same socialisation and educational exposure in a child-friendly and enriching environment.”
Currently there are some 7,000 children between the ages of three months and five years who are the recipients of early childhood care service, which according to Minister Lawrence, includes home-based care, day and night care, after school care and playgroup services.
“It is imperative therefore that our Centres operate with minimum standards and that rigorous assessments of buildings, public health and fire facilities as well as childcare education are done to ascertain that our centres meet all the requirements.”