A group of 70 child-minders from all over the country who have completed pre-registration, education and training in new child-minding standards received their certificates on Saturday.
During the same ceremony held at the STC conference hall the series of 10 new standards were presented.
The need for national standards for child-minding in Seychelles follows recommendations of a national child-minding study conducted in 2013. The standards were developed with technical support of the World Bank (WB) through a consultative process involving various Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) sectors, partners, parents and child-minders themselves.
Training for child-minders so they can apply the new standards started last year. The aim is to raise the quality of home-based child-minding services in the country.
The ten standards include — early learning, interaction, health, nutrition, safety, children’s rights and protection, staffing, physical environment, family and community engagement as well as administration.
The Minister for Education Macsuzy Mondon presented certificates to the child-minders in the presence of senior education officials and other guests.
Addressing everyone present — stakeholders in early childhood care and education, policymakers, service providers, regulators, parents, district representatives, trainers, consultants and other professionals in the field — Minister Mondon remarked that it is not often that so many key people gather under the same roof to share achievements, relating to provisions to better the lives, education and care of small children.
Minister Mondon described the child-minding standards as a milestone in ECCE and noted that it is further confirmation of the government’s commitment to the holistic development of children in Seychelles.
“In partnership with the government of Seychelles, the Institute of Early Childhood development (IECD), the WB and social partners in ECCE, standards for child-minding services have been developed,” Minister Mondon said, saluting the first cohort of child-minders who will be following and putting into practice the standards in their establishments and places of work.
Minister Mondon pointed out that the standards for child-minding is part of a national drive within an international momentum to build a strong foundation for the citizens of tomorrow by addressing fundamental issues relating to early childhood care and education.
Expressing gratitude to the WB for its continued help and support, Minister Mondon noted that Seychelles’ experience with the world financial institution dates back many years and she went on to highlight all the different initiatives and programmes in the education sector which have benefitted from WB help and support.
The minister congratulated the child-minders who have persevered and completed the training and for their determination to upgrade their skills even though some of them have been providing the service for over 20 years but have seen the need to take part and review their practice.
Minister Mondon urged them to make full use of what they have learnt and provide improved and better quality services to their communities.
Dr Sophie Naudeau, a senior education specialist and global leader for ECCE at the WB who have worked with IECD on developing and finalising the standards, made a presentation on the importance of early childhood care and development.
Rebecca Sayre, an ECCE consultant from the WB who also worked closely with the IECD on the standards, shared with the audience the work done to come up with the standards.
Dr Naudeau commended Seychelles for its great achievements in ECCE and remarked that because of all that has been accomplished here “Seychelles can share its experience with other countries in the region. There are many countries, big and small which are struggling with the quality of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECD). What you have accomplished here is tremendous and would really be useful for other countries to learn about”, Dr Naudeau said.
She however noted that Seychelles also can learn from other countries’ experience particularly in the area of data collection and use of data for policy-making.
Vereine Louis-Marie, the director for regulatory affairs unit at the ICED which coordinated the training programme for the child-minders, also made a detailed presentation on the standards and stressed on their importance.
Linda Auguste, a child-minder from Au Cap on behalf of her counterparts hailed the opportunity to improve standard of care and education of small children entrusted in their care.
“It is no small task to take care of young children but we are now more equipped with new skills to better discharge our responsibilities,” she said.
Source : Seychelles NATION