21 Rovers gain Regional Certification in Early Childhood Education
May 6, 2011
21 Rovers gain Regional Certification in Early Childhood Education

Twenty-one participants in the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) recently received certification in the Jamaica-based National Council on Technical and Vocational Education (NCTVET) Early Childhood Practitioners Programme.{{more}}

The Rovers participated in a Level one training programme funded by UNICEF and were exposed to 11 modules which provided training on how to create a child-friendly environment, prepare nutritious meals, provide for children with disabilities, as well as those who have been abused.

Judith Hull-Ballah, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Programme Coordinator, said the Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI), the parent organisation of RCP, suggested that training be accessed for the Rovers so that they will be in a better position to deliver the services. In this regard, she said training is key to the growth of the programme.

“RCP is a career path. You get experience and then you move on,” said Hull-Ballah.

According to Hull-Ballah, the Rovers will be able to confidently answer queries about the growth of children and apply for jobs within the Ministry of Education. Additionally, they will be able to work in any country where NCTVET is accredited.

Hull-Ballah said that the certification of the Rovers will undoubtedly have significant positive effects on the overall offerings of Early Childhood Education within the country.

“It will now have a cadre of persons who are certified to be able to take Early Childhood Education to the next level. They could be a part of the process, because even government has come to realize that’s where you have to begin,” she said. “Government is seeing RCP as an integral part of Early Childhood Education.”

Kamana Black, a Rover and former participating parent, received exceptional scores, despite starting the programme more than one year late. She said RCP has been of great benefit.

“RCP is more than just going into the homes and playing with children….We go into the homes and we teach the mother, inform her about different health practices, breast feeding, safety tips. We read to them…you definitely see the benefit and the need for it,” said Black.

Janelle Francois, a Rover who gained full scores in the training, also had a child in the programme.

She said the programme is very important, “especially in the areas where there are no daycare facilities.”

“You go into a home and you help that parent and you help that child, and when they move on to pre-school the teachers don’t have a problem at all with the child adapting to the environment,” said Francois.

RCP has been institutionalised in communities in both the Leeward and Windward sides of the island, and expansion is the buzz word for the way forward. The RCP falls under the Ministry of National Mobilization etc, with support from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.

It is an informal Early Childhood Education programme which seeks to reach children from birth to three years who do not have access to any formal Early Childhood Education. Since the start of the programme in 2004, approximately 1,600 children have been impacted directly and indirectly.