The education of early childhood teachers finally came to fruition on Saturday when 30 graduates received certificates at the Savannah United Church Hall.
The training, a first-of-its-kind in the Cayman Islands, marked a milestone in the history of early childhood education, said brainchild of the initiative, Early Childhood Education Officer Marjorie Beckles
‘For many years there were discussions of a need for trained pre-school personnell. It was after meeting with the former Education Minister Roy Bodden and his Permanent Secretary Joy Basdeo, that the implementation of the programme was launched in April last year.
‘At present, more than half of the pre-school and day-care practitioners do not possess any academic qualifications beyond high school. Some of them do have the experience of working with children, but because they work long hours they had not been able to pursue further studies.
‘After some humps and discussions it was decided that the training would take place at the Savannah United Church Hall with trained local facilitators and assessors,’ said Mrs Beckles.
Eleven pre-schools island-wide participated in the programme.
Guest speaker Joy Frater congratulated the graduates, facilitators and assessors on a job well done.
She encouraged graduates to commit themselves to the little ones. ‘Give them freedom of voice, do not trample them but encourage and motivate them, instil values, skills, attitudes and citizenship. We must be able to say they have got all the fundamentals they need to move on.
‘Embrace team work, use new strategies that are available to you and work with the parents. It is only through our attitudes and commitment that we propel these young ones onward.’
In her address graduate Cheril Calder, Director of the Achievement Centre, said: ‘There is nothing more important than shaping the brains and minds of young children.’
She said although there were a mixture of happenings and emotions throughout the course it helped to bond students even more.
She encouraged fellow classmates to make a difference so their pursuits would be meaningful.
Pre-school personnel receiving certificates were: Casmin Blake, Nerissa Brown, Jennifer Brown, Maxine Burke, Cheril Calder, Hazel Campbell, Althea Carby, Judene Crawford, Karen Ebanks-Powery, Laura Ebanks, Martha Flores, Yyonne Francis, Marcia Gough, Deon Grant, Winsome Groucher, Rachel Hurd, Francis Humphreys, Katrice Knight, Stephanie McPherson, Marcia Moiten, Beverlyn Patterson, Paulette Pinnock, Linnette Queensbourough, Mavita Rankine, Sybil Robinson, Mishelle Rose, Florence Solomon, Irene Tennyson, Veronia Williams and Donna Williams successfully pasted the of the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) Level 1 course.
Cheril Calder and Karen Powery-Ebanks tied for the top academic award. Runners up were Althea Carby, Marcia Gough, Linnette Queensborough andJudene Crawford.
Spirit of the Class went to Mishelle Rose, Florence Solomon and Laura Ebanks Most Improved students were Stephanie McPherson Sybil Robinson and Katrice Knight received the Achievement Award.