Reception Back In Government Schools
Published 11th June 2012, 2:53pm
Nine new Reception classes will be rolled out in government schools at the start of the new school year, September, 2012. This roll out is part of the keenly anticipated phased re-introduction of Reception to government schools, by the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment. The nine classes will be distributed between Sir John A Cumber Primary in West Bay and Savannah and Bodden Town Primary Schools to the East. They complement the five Reception classes already in the government system, which includes George Town Primary, where Reception was introduced last school year. The inclusion of the new classes has been made possible by the successful Primary Classroom Building Project, which has provided the space needed for these classes and other school needs. The final roll-out phase for Reception will include the two remaining schools, Red Bay Primary and Prospect Primary. Early Childhood Assistance Programme (ECAP) funding will continue for parents who meet the criteria, and the age will be lowered for September 2012 to cover children 3 years 6 months of age. Education Minister, the Hon Rolston Anglin, JP, expressed his pleasure at the progress being made in delivering on what he termed as a “critical priority identified by parents and teachers alike”. “With the reintroduction of Reception we are committed to creating centres of excellence in that important year before children start compulsory schooling, preparing our children for success,” Minister Anglin stated. Minister Anglin explained that this move was part of the Government’s prioritization of improvements in early childhood care and education. “As a Government we promised that we would prioritise the re-introduction of Reception, as facilities and resources allowed, and we are making good on that promise. We will continue to do so, until all of our children and their families are catered for, because research shows that the early years are the most important in the growth and development of our future citizens,” he said. Minister Anglin also explained how Reception fits into his Ministry’s overarching human capital development strategy. “To my mind, lifelong learning must mean that we develop strategies to enhance our very youngest people, while at the same time providing on-going and continuing opportunities throughout life. Reception is not only the best way to ensure your child’s education success, but it is also the foundation of a process of lifelong learning that must continue thereafter,” he stated. Chief Officer, Mrs Mary Rodrigues, explained that the reintroduction of Reception, together with the other wide-ranging reforms in Early Childhood Care and Education, is part of the Ministry’s goal to create a world-class early childhood care and education system, for all children in the Cayman Islands, in both private and government settings. “For our children to develop into rounded, confident adults, who are assets to our communities, we must give them every possible chance for success. We are making excellent progress, through our new curriculum and training programmes, to raise standards in all early years settings for all children. Having one year of quality pre-primary education in our government schools, through Reception, is an important part of delivering on our promise of quality early years education,” she said . Following the successful pilot at George Town Primary School, the Ministry has made the decision that children must be 4 years old as at September 1, 2012 to be eligible to start in the new and existing Reception classes for the 2012-13 school year. This will lay the foundation for the Ministry to pursue another long-standing priority for the education system - to raise the age of entry to schools to five (5) years. According to the Chief Officer, this is a target for September, 2013. Ms Julie Madgwick, Senior Policy Advisor, explained that the Reception classes will be staffed with qualified teachers who are early years specialists and supported by the Ministry’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Unit, which she heads. The teachers will use the new Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum Framework to plan activity- based learning that will support children to develop the learning strategies they need to ensure a smooth transition into primary school. Registration will begin next week, at the Department of Education Services, at 130 Thomas Russell Way in George Town, together with special registration sessions planned at selected schools. A detailed schedule will be published shortly. Information on Reception, including FAQs and brochures on the new curriculum, will be available for parents registering, and on the Ministry’s website www.education.gov.ky. ECCE staff members will be available to meet parents. Queries can be directed to the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit on 244-5724 for further information.