Early Childhood Development Coordinator, Mrs. Jacquelyn Morris stated that the Caribbean Development Bank sponsored initiative, could not have come at a better time, as the Caribbean region is focusing on increasing access to quality early childhood development for children who are poor, disadvantaged and experiencing other forms of vulnerability at this time.
The theme for the conference is Towards Poverty Reduction: Maximizing the Returns on Investment in Early Childhood Development in the Caribbean. In keeping with this theme the conference will deliberate on policies, strategies and actions to optimize early Childhood Development in the Caribbean.
Dr. Martin Baptiste, Operations Officer of Education at the Caribbean Development Bank noted “We need to decide whether our task is to reach the children now or to catch them later on.” He emphasized the importance of being proactive rather than reactive. “By reach we mean we want to be preventative and we are not talking about simply providing opportunities to participate in ECD we mean opportunities to be successful in ECD.”
Locally, on 5th March, the Ministry of Education entered into a cooperation programme with the Republic of China – Taiwan – which will realize a state-of-the-art day care centre for the residents of St. Paul’s Village and its environs.
Minister of Education Nigel Carty while commenting on the programme, remarked that “this day care centre will aid significantly in our children developing their basic values, attitudes, skills, behaviors and habits and the support of their learning.” He added that the implementation of the centre shows the ministry’s support to the Early Childhood Unit’s philosophy and curriculum and the government’s mandate.
“A better start is likely to lead to a better finish,” commented Minister Carty. “Therefore, investing in early childhood care and education can make a crucial difference to the future competitive ability of children who start life in disadvantaged situations.”