St. Kitts – Nevis Childhood Programs Aim To Enhance Lifestyle

St. Kitts Residents Attend Meeting

St. Kitts Residents Attend Meeting
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 27, 2008 (CUOPM)

Tuesday’s official opening of the Challengers/Stonefort Multi-Purpose Centre, which houses an Early Childhood Development Centre, brings the Early Childhood Development Unit closer towards achieving its mission of not only increasing access to Early Childhood but access to high quality care and education.

“Early Childhood is a highly sensitive period marked by rapid transformations in physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development”¦under nutrition, deprivations of care, and poor treatment are particularly damaging to young children, with repercussions often felt into the adult years. Inadequate stimulation in the first year of life can have serious long term effects,” said Co-ordinator of the Early Childhood Development Centre, Mrs. Vanta Walters.

Mrs. Walters told top government officials including Governor General His Excellency Dr. Sir Cuthbert Sebastian and Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, as well as scores of residents from Challengers and Stonefort that a child who receives extremely poor care or who rarely hears language is likely to suffer developmental deficits that are difficult to address later.

“Good Early Childhood Programmes can significantly enhance young children’s well being in these formative years and compliment the care received at home. We at the Early Childhood Development Unit are committed to helping to ensure the best possible start in life for our Nation’s children. Comprehensive early care provides the building blocks for social and intellectual competence that allows children to reach their full potential. Early Childhood Care is a solid investment,” she said.

Mrs. Walters noted that the mission of the Unit is to ensure that every community has access to high quality care and education.

“Before these recommendations are presented, the Unit usually carries out feasibility studies to ascertain, first of all, whether there is a need in that community. Before the Early Childhood Unit present the recommendations for the establishment of any Government Day Care Facility, statistics are usually collected from the Health Centres to ascertain whether there  is a sufficient number of children in the area that are in need of Day Care services. This was found to be the case when such a survey was done in this community,” she disclosed.

According to Mrs. Walters numerous studies have shown that participants in preschool and day care are less likely to suffer illnesses, repeat grades, drop out of school, or require remedial services later in life.

“Given these facts therefore, the time of early childhood should merit the highest ““ priority action. Choices made and actions taken on behalf of children during this crucial period affects not only how a child develops but also how a country progresses. No reasonable plan for human development can wait idly for 18 years of childhood to pass before taking measures to protect the rights of the child. Nor can it waste the most opportune period for intervention in a child’s life ““ the years from birth to age five,” she said.

The Early Childhood Co-ordinator lauded three-term Parliamentary Representative, Hon. Rupert Herbert for being “passionate to ensure that the children of this area get the care they need, recognizing that what happens during this critical period of a child’s life can last a life time.”

“It is on this very premise that a Day Care facility was included as part of this Multi-Purpose centre,” said Mrs. Walters, who proudly stated that the Challenger/Stonefort Day Care Centre is a model centre where the very young children are protected from physical danger, receive adequate nutrition and health care, have things to look at, touch, hear, smell and taste, a place where they are given opportunities to explore their world and where they are given support in acquiring new motor, language and thinking skills.

She appealed to the staff to take their jobs seriously. “Be professional in your behavior both on and off the job; support the centre supervisor ““ your supervisor and by so doing a loving and family-like atmosphere will be evident and will contribute to the smooth running of the centre,” Mrs. Walter said.

An appeal was also made to the parents and the community “to cooperate with the persons in whose care you place your children on a daily basis.”

“Please love them, be kind and cooperative and show them the respect they deserve. The children spend most of their waking hours with them at the centre. The few hours spent with you the parents are sleeping hours,” said Mrs. Walters.

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