MORE than 750 early childhood institutions have satisfied the requirements for registration with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).
Marsha Grant, communications manager at the ECC, said the commission is in the process of sending out certificates to these institutions.
"Currently there are over 2,700 early childhood institutions islandwide, and we have gotten applications from most of them," Grant disclosed, adding that while most applications were incomplete, 755 have been completed and the Commission is sending out the certificates.
"We are working with the others to get all their documents together, so that they can complete the registration process," Grant said.
She is urging all early childhood institutions to register, as there are a number of benefits to be gained.
"You get a lot of up-to-date information on child care, and you do get the advice of our inspectors who are in the field regularly liaising with early childhood institutions. Apart from that, we are working with them to bring them through the registration process. We won't leave them alone and we are here to offer any help that we can," Grant stated.
"We also want to appeal to parents to work with your early childhood institutions, because they need your help. Yes you do pay a fee, but it helps when you have a relationship with the institutions and you can help to monitor your child's development," she added.
Since November 2007, the Ministry of Education has been undertaking the compulsory registration of the institutions, to improve the quality of service. There are approximately 3,000 such institutions in Jamaica.
Along with applications, the institutions submit a report from the Fire Brigade, and food handler's permits for employees as well as their names and job descriptions.
The Commission, an agency of the education ministry, was established by the Early Childhood Commission Act of 2003. It has overall responsibility for early childhood development in Jamaica, including supervising and regulating early childhood institutions (pre-schools, basic schools, day care centres, and infant schools), to ensure that they are efficiently run and meet the health and developmental needs of children.