Early Childhood Care and Education Guidelines Ratified
Caring for our young children is an amazing responsibility. We must ensure that they are protected and stimulated.
Temporary Minister Education, Employment & Gender Affairs, Hon. Winston Connolly
Published 9th September 2013, 8:32am
In the quest to improve provision for the country’s youngest citizens, the Education Council has recently ratified their Guidelines for Early Childhood Care and Education Centres (2013).
“Caring for our young children is an amazing responsibility. We must ensure that they are protected and stimulated. The Education Council Guidelines 2013 (the “Guidelines”) are essential tools in ensuring a high standard of care for each child in the early childhood centres. Parents and Centre owners can now also be reassured that they are all being inspected and registered and re-registered using clear and transparent processes. I trust the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit to work alongside each centre to help them meet and exceed these requirements,” stated Temporary Minister for Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, Hon. Winston Connolly.
The Guidelines contain information on the registration and re-registration processes for centres and the policies and practices required in the operation of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centres. The Guidelines build on previous regulatory work by early childhood professionals, inclusive of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Guidelines and international best practice as well as the pioneering work of Mrs. Marjorie Beckles. Prior to these Guidelines being developed, ECCE centres were governed under guidelines which were published in 2002.
“The Guidelines give recognition to Mrs. Beckles who was a pioneer in early childhood in the Cayman Islands, as a significant part of the 1999 and 2002 Guidelines are still relevant and are incorporated in to the new document. She was years ahead of her time, and international best practice which speaks to adult to child ratio and space requirements for children in early childhood centres still stand true more than a decade after she spearheaded the last version of the Guidelines,” said Carol Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor and Manager of the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit.
The 2013 Guidelines provide information to prospective early childhood centre owners regarding the process to register an early childhood centre with the Education Council. The Guidelines also outline the re-registration process for ECCE centres that are already in operation. Information about care and education provision, premises and facilities, health and safety and leadership and management are included in the document to ensure all stakeholders in early childhood education are aware of the process and expectations of managing and maintaining high standards of provision for the children they are responsible for.
Representatives from Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, Trade and Business Licensing, Fire Services, Education Quality Assurance Unit, Department of Children and Family Services and the Planning Department were involved in developing the registration and re-registration processes. Information from each agency is compiled in the Guidelines so that all stakeholders can be aware of standards and expectations for the centres. Owners and managers of the ECCE centres may use the sample forms and policies in the document, as templates for developing the requirements for their centres.
The Acting Chief Officer for Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, Mr. Christen Suckoo recently stated, “Exciting times are ahead for early childhood in the Cayman Islands. We look forward to the positive thrust these Guidelines will give us in ensuring all our children are equally provided for and that their health and wellbeing are protected.” Current Centre operators and principals of government schools with reception programmes will be invited to the launch of the revised Guidelines, where the Guidelines will be explained as well as the process for re-registration that will resume in the near future.