Early childhood focused stressed

The Cayman Islands Minister for
Education, Training and Employment recently led a delegation to attend the
first world conference on early childhood care and education in Moscow.

Rolston Anglin’s group joined over
1,000 participants from 67 countries in the event organised by UNESCO, the
Russian Federation and the city of Moscow.

Mr. Anglin said that the early
years in preschool and reception classes are a priority for his ministry.

“In Cayman, we have made very
little progress in this area, although the previous administration set up an
Early Years Unit for this purpose some four years ago,” he said.  “We have no national standards, no
curriculum, no training or no inspection programmes, very little data to
support decision making, and issues with the registration and operation of
preschools.”

Mr. Anglin highlighted the
ministry’s reform process in a recent special CITN DayBreak programme.

“We started with a consultation
session with preschool operators, teachers, the Early Childhood Association and
parents in July,” he said.

The ministry’s chief officer, Mary
Rodrigues, said other initiatives under way include the establishment of an
early years task force, the launch of a reception programme in George Town
Primary and the redevelopment of the Early Years Unit to provide guidance and
support to raise standards.

The ministry is also making plans
for training this year and an early years conference next year.

“The underlying message was that if
we don’t attend to the care, nutrition and stimulation of our young children
from the start, it comes at a very high cost,” she said.  “The early years lay the foundation for later
learning and can create a level playing field by reducing the gaps between
children of different means.

“We worry about what a child will
become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”

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