The University of the West Indies (UWI) is to establish a state-of-the-art early childhood training and development centre which will combine day care services and courses in early childhood development.
Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education Dr Jennifer Obidah this week announced plans for the $2 million project at the official handing over of a grant of just over $300,000 to the Cave Hill School of Education from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund programme.
According to Dr Obidah, the centre, which is expected to be completed by August 2016, will train future educators in early childhood development while providing a facility for parents who attend the university to take their young children for the best care.
“We are still in the process of establishing it. The building has been identified and we are going through Town and Country Planning for approval, as well as the Child Care Board. Once we go through all of the correct processes, the centre will be established on campus,” she said.
Dr Obidah said UWI was working in partnership with the State University of New York, which offers similar services.
“Their day care centre is on the campus and while the children are in the day care, they actually have monitors set up so that classes on early childhood development can actually view what’s going on with the children in their natural setting, and study what’s going on with the children with disturbing the children’s play,” she added.
The CDB grant to the faculty’s Gender Socialization Early Childhood Development project will help finance UWI’s curricular on gender socialization for early childhood development practitioners, the prerequisite training of teachers and collaboration on pilot community level training.
Director of CDB’s project department Daniel Best indicated that the trust fund programme was one of the bank’s key instruments for addressing poverty reduction. He said it is meant to assist poor and vulnerable communities, improving their access to basic public services through the provision of social and economic infrastructure and the development of skills to enhance employability, community management and engagement.