ECCE Celebrates One Year
Published 5th June 2012, 12:8pm
Upon appointment to office in 2009, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, Minister of Education, Training & Employment identified an early years curriculum as a need within our islands. As a result, the Ministry of Education made a commitment to improving the provision of early childhood care and education within the Cayman Islands. To honour this commitment, the Ministry established the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Unit. May 2012 marks the first year in operation of this Unit within the Ministry of Education. The unit is led by Chief Policy Advisor, Julie Madgwick who is supported by Early Childhood Care and Education Officers Reneé Barnes, April Tibbetts and Carol Bennett; Policy Advisor for Family Learning, Wilberlee Range; and Administrative Officer, Turnette Stewart. When the Unit began its work in May 2011, their first task was to draft a mission statement and strategic plan that would quickly and efficiently begin to improve and expand early childhood care and education within the Cayman Islands, while considering the global progress of early childhood care and education as a whole. Some of the goals identified by the team were: development and implementation of regulations, policies and procedures, ensuring parents are confident in their role and have an understanding of their children’s learning and developmental need, and having confident, qualified teachers implementing a quality, unified curriculum. One year on, the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit is pleased to report its progress. Over the course of the past year, the Unit has: • made over 261 visits to early childhood settings and interviewed over 300 early years practitioners • drafted and piloted the Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum Framework (CIEYCF). This involved consultation meetings with ECCE practitioners at all levels to develop the curriculum. Once it was written the unit then provided training sessions to over 200 practitioners to assist them in the implementation of the curriculum along with providing coaching for centres who have staff in need of one-on-one guidance in understanding how to effectively use the CIEYCF • provided a 6 week Introduction Course to Early Childhood Care and Education for over 120 practitioners who currently work in early years settings in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac • provided centre based training for staff to have more in depth understanding of planning, environments and assessment • published monthly newsletters from September 2011 in order to keep early years practitioners and ECCE setting owners and management up to date with the work of the Unit and provide ideas and websites to assist them in their work with the children • strengthened the Early Childhood Assistance Program to ensure that parents in need receive financial assistance for payment of fees for their child to attend an early childhood setting prior to beginning primary education Truly proud of her unit and the work they have accomplished, Ms. Madgwick had this to say, “The first year of operation for the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit has been a powerful foundation year, laying the ground work for the years to come. Implementing the CIEYCF and providing professional development for practitioners will ensure that the level of quality ECCE settings provide will be raised. I would like to thank my team for all their hard work and I look forward to the next year of success with them.” Minister of Education, Hon. Rolston Anglin is also extremely happy with the progress of the unit and said, “I would like to thank Julie and her team for their outstanding work and dedication to the improvement of Early Childhood Care and Education in the Cayman Islands. The early years of our children are some of the most important and we must ensure that our children receive the best care and education right from the beginning. I look forward to the continued work of the ECCE unit and the continued improvement in Early Childhood Care and Education in our country.” For more information on the ECCE Unit, please visit their webpage under the “Education” tab on the Ministry of Education’s website: www.education.gov.ky.