By Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): At the NEOC briefing on September 23, Director of the Early Childhood Development Unit Kimona Browne spoke about the reopening and registration for early childhood facilities.
Currently, there are five public and 19 private facilities that have been approved for the commencement of operations under the COVID-19 guidelines in Nevis; while on St. Kitts, 15 public and 55 private facilities that have been approved for operations.
Browne advised that all parents and guardians should be aware that approved facilities were issued a Certificate of Approval that should be on display in a conspicuous place within the facility.
“Please note that there are ongoing assessments to have all outstanding facilities comply with the protocols and standards for the sector.”
Browne stated that it had been observed that a number of unregistered facilities have been advertising their services. She urged those facilities to register as soon as possible.
In order to register an early childhood facility, Browne briefly explained the steps taken.
1. Apply to the Early Childhood Development Unit.
2. Applicants will be interviewed to ascertain the suitability of the applicant to operate an early childhood facility.
3. If deemed suitable, an evaluation of the proposed site will be conducted to assess the suitability of the space to operate an early childhood facility.
4. If a new building is to be constructed advice will be given on the layout to secure suitability to the facility.
5. If the proposed space is the applicant’s home, there will be an assessment of all residents of the home as well as regular visitors to the property.
Based on these assessments, the suitability for the operation of an early childhood facility will be determined.
In speaking about the spatial availability in early childhood facilities, Browne stated that all facilities must be measured and assigned a maximum number of children who can be served.
“Therefore, we are working to have each approved facility displayed to specified center maximum capacity in a conspicuous point of entry to the facility. This is one of a set of minimum standards that are best practices… throughout the Eastern Caribbean.”
Other considerations in the minimum standards for the operation of an early childhood facility include:
1. A learning environment with sufficient indoor space, furniture for care and rest and an organized room for play
2. Basic Daily Schedule familiar to the children.
Approved facilities must be kept in accordance with the protocols set and the standards developed and imposed by the Early Childhood Development Unit’s legal right to set such standards. Browne concluded by stating:
“Please note that failure to comply may result in the immediate withdrawal of the approved permission to operate.”