The Early Childhood Educational Training Centre was one of the participants at the Ministry of Social Transformation’s Social Services Street Fair, held Thursday as part of Social Work Month.
Although early childhood is under the Ministry of Education, Curriculum Officer Paulette Browne said their mandate has to do with children and ”if there’s a problem with a child we recommend the Welfare Department get in touch with parents.”
Browne, in explaining the collaboration between departments which see to the welfare of children, said in case of abuse of a child or in cases “where we see behavioural problems, we recommend that social workers intervene.”
The symbiotic relationship is evident too, in that personnel from the Welfare Division also assist the Early Childhood Unit in conducting parenting workshops, lectures and seminars.
Thursday’s Street Fair, another Curriculum Officer and teacher Alvis Abbott said, was a welcome exercise as it brought “the public a little closer to us as they enquired where we are located and the work that we do.”
Abbott said their colourful display attracted a number of visitors who asked for more information regarding the unit’s work and the training programmes on offer for pre-schoolers and day care personnel.
Such a programme, Abbott said, is conducted three days per week and as recent as March 18, the unit graduated 23 students.
The display showcased educational toys and games as well as teaching tools.
At the street fair, passers-by were handed booklets and handouts detailing the standard regulations for early childhood services in Antigua & Barbuda, quality education provisions for three- to five-year-olds, and how to keep records of health and safety in preschools.
As an aside, Browne said on the last Friday of every month, the unit, located at Gunthropes, Sir Sydney Walling Highway, hosts a workshop for people who work in day care centres and pre-schools. The purpose of these sessions, she said, are to keep staff abreast of early childhood care and development.
There are approximately 98 preschools and day care centres across Antigua & Barbuda.
Organisations which took part in the fair included Street Pastors, Lions, Antigua & Barbuda Planned Parenthood Association, St John Ambulance Brigade, Crimestoppers, Medical Benefits, and the AIDS Secretariat.