The Ministry of Education & Culture has designated May as Early Childhood Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Early Childhood Unit within the Ministry will be engaged in a variety of activities in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education.
Early childhood encompasses children from birth through under eight years of age. The goal for early childhood education is to ensure that all children within this age group have regular and consistent opportunities for enriching and engaging activities, regardless of socio-economic status, race, family structure, or physical ability.
These activities and opportunities should include time for talking and reading which promote language development; physical activity both indoors and outdoors; imaginative play; social interaction with adults and their peers; and exploration through music, art, nature, and math. Such experiences should not be taken for granted. They are key to the development of the whole child.
The Ministry of Education & Culture stands firm on the belief of quality education for all. The physical environment, personal care practices, programme structure and parent/staff relations are also important in creating positive environments that are conducive to learning. In October 2014, a quality assessment survey of all early childhood learning environments for daycares and preschools was conducted. The results highlighted strengths within the centers but also red-flagged areas that need special attention in order to improve the quality of service.
I encourage all operating centers to strive for excellence in providing learning environments that are stimulating; enriched with child directed activities; promote language development; and are safe.
The early childhood years are the foundation years. If we are to build a strong future for this country, we must firmly establish early childhood education as the cornerstone of our education system.
The Ministry of Education & Culture therefore joins with all Early Childhood Centers and Pre Primary Divisions in celebrating early childhood and bringing further awareness to our community about its importance.
This is why it gives me great pleasure in declaring Early Childhood Awareness Month officially open.
Enjoy the month and all that it has to offer.