Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The newly constructed St. Pauls Preschool and Daycare Centre will soon provide an opportunity for all infants and toddlers in the area to get a kick-start in their education.
The construction of the Centre, which was a joint venture between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan), is near completion and is set to accommodate the number of children in St. Pauls and the surrounding area.
Minister of Education the Hon. Nigel Carty stated that for many years the area has had a very small daycare facility which was inadequate for the very large and prolific community.
“Children from St. Pauls, those who could not be facilitated at the facility in St. Pauls, would have to go to Newton Ground and some of them over to Dieppe Bay. But this massive structure does justice to the Preschool and Nursery needs of the people of St. Pauls and the surrounding areas.”
Minister Carty added that the facility will aid his Ministry achieve universal preschool education. At the moment, there is 80 percent coverage of students who are at preschool age.
“The 20 percent who are not accessing our school’s day-care centres or preschools are doing so partly because of choice,” said Minister Carty noting that there are some families who prefer to have a grandmother or close relatives or friends take care of the children. “[There are also] others who may have difficulty finding space in existing preschools. So this goes along with helping to achieve that. So we are getting closer and closer to universal preschool education.”
Jacquelyn Morris, Director of the Early Childhood Development Unit, stated that the school will boast top-notch facilities such as the strategically placed windows so that children can view the scenery without stretching as well as a professional staff.
“We intend to have well trained workers at that Centre particularly the practitioners…We recognise that training is paramount to…the quality of care that children get…Therefore we will focus a lot on our workers.”
The Director noted that the children will benefit from a programme that is geared towards holistic development focusing on their social, physical, emotional and cognisant development.
The St. Pauls Preschool and Daycare Centre was an EC $3.5 million investment. The Republic of China (Taiwan) provided finances for the first part of the construction phase.