More government primary schools will offer classes for preschoolers following successful reintroduction of the programme at George Town Primary School in September 2010.
The Ministry of Education said this week it will continue to reintroduce the programme, which it calls reception classes, at the primary school level.
Reception classes in all Cayman Islands Government schools were established in 1979 but ended on Grand Cayman in 1992. Reception classes in the government schools in North Side and East End were subsequently re-established because there was no private provision in those districts. Classes for children ages four and five began again at George Town Primary School at the beginning of the 2010/11 school year.
At Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony for new buildings at George Town Primary, Education Minister Rolston Anglin said reception classes will be offered to younger students at other primary schools as quickly as possible, funding permitting.
The new school buildings will “allow each school to accommodate [reception classes] and meet future expansion,” he said.
George Town Primary Principal Marie Martin said this year’s reception classes went well.
“We are quite pleased with the development and progress of the kids,” she said.
“There’s always been that deficit when children come in from some preschools,” she said. “Some are OK, but there are some [preschools] that focus on the wrong areas.
“Here at our school… we follow the curriculum and it’s going good,” she added.
Vice Principal Dorothy Wilson said some children haven’t attended preschool before Year 1, which might put them at a disadvantage.
“Here now, they’re more prepared for Year 1,” she said. “So it’s going to be a lot easier on the teachers as well.”
Over the summer Ms Martin will be taking steps to enhance the reception classroom.
“Hopefully, it will become the model reception class for the government,” she said, adding that she has even ordered special furniture.
“For this particular year, it was all the sudden,” she said.
Next year George Town Primary will be prepared, she said.
With a planned completion date in early 2012, the two-story, 17,510-square-foot building at George Town Primary will house an art room, library and sick bay.
Tuesday’s ceremony follows last month’s ground-breaking at John A. Cumber Primary School. Another ground-breaking ceremony was scheduled for Savannah Primary on Wednesday. An East End Primary, ground-breaking ceremony will take place in the coming weeks, according to Mr. Anglin.
“The fact of the matter is that one of the first things after taking office that became very obvious to me is that facilities are getting in the way of teaching and learning,” he said.
He added that these new buildings at the primary schools are filling a critical need.
Ms Martin acknowledged that she thought she might never see new buildings, so she was particularly pleased during Tuesday’s ground-breaking.
“After the honourable Rolston Anglin has taken over, this is the most progress that we’ve seen to date on the George Town Primary School project,” she said. “And I know it’s going to get done under his leadership.”