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Reception Students at George Town Primary School drawing under the supervision of their Reception Teacher

Published 14th September 2012, 11:0am

When Sir John A Cumber Primary, Bodden Town Primary and Savannah Primary Schools opened their doors in September this year, over 200 more Caymanian children gained access to Reception classes - a year of free, quality pre-primary education.

The roll out of Reception in these schools is part of the Government’s plan to reintroduce Reception to the government service, in a phased approach, as resources allow. George Town Primary’s Reception class was piloted in 2010. The completion of new classroom blocks at each of the schools has provided the necessary additional space to make the Reception classes possible.

Reception programmes also continue to be available at East End Primary, North Side Primary, as well as Creek and West End Primary, on the Brac, and the Little Cayman Education Service.

Ms. Julie Madgwick heads the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Unit. She explained that each Reception class in the Government service is staffed with a trained Early Years Teacher and an assistant, where numbers rise over 12 students. She also noted that all of the assistants hired for the new Reception classes are Caymanian, most of whom are participating in the Ministry’s new Post Graduate Certificate in Education this year, seeking to become qualified teachers.

Ms. Madgwick and her team have worked closely with schools, the Department of Education Services and parents, to prepare for the start of the Reception classes. They have also been in schools since the start of term, providing support and guidance. The Reception teachers are using the new Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum Framework to plan stimulating activities for children, to support them as they develop the knowledge and skills to become life-long learners.

“The response to Reception has been fantastic!” reports Mrs. Reneé Barnes, a member of the ECCE Unit. “Parents are grateful, the children are excited, and schools are delighted that they have an opportunity to start working with the children before they start their formal education,” she stated.

Mrs. Barnes explained that, as a part of the Government service, children in Reception classes will benefit from support from the ECCE Unit, services and resources within the education system, as well as a commitment to identifying and remediating barriers to children’s learning at the very earliest stages. “There is a commitment for everyone to work together to tackle problems before challenges and failure become the norm. Our Minister’s vision is for every child to succeed. Quality early childhood care and education can help to make this a reality,” she stated.

Creating a World-Class Early Childhood Care and Education System is one of the key goals championed by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, as part of his agenda for positive change in the education system.

“I believe the work my ministry is undertaking in the early years will prove to be one of the most important investments our country has ever made. I also believe incredible gains have been made since the ECCE Unit was launched in May 2011: the Reception programme, our new Early Years curriculum framework, our innovative training programmes for practitioners, partnership with private pre-schools to raise standards, a rigorous programme of oversight and support from our new ECCE Unit, and a new inspection programme ,” Minister Anglin said.

“In time I believe these efforts, and the work to come, will translate into more and more children finding success, as they move through our school system, irrespective of background, income, or special education needs. That has to be a goal that inspires us all,” he said.

For more details on Early Childhood Care and Education in the Cayman Islands, Reception Classes or the Early Childhood Assistance Programme, please visit the website of the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment at www.education@gov.ky, or contact the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit, Ministry of Education, at 244-5724.