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Madge Linton, assistant chief education officer in the Early Childhood Unit of the Education Ministry, has urged parents to do preliminary checks on early childhood facilities to ensure that their young ones are placed in a safe environment and with qualified personnel.
Linton stressed that the selection was vital, as good early childhood facilities helped to prepare children for learning by the time they get to the pre-school stage.
"They (parents) must recognise that early childhood education facilities are imperative, as they are the catalysts for early social integration," Linton told JIS News.
"This stage is more about a total development, protection and nourishment, and to some degree, the education of the child," she said.
"In fact, it may be one of the most important decisions you will be called on to make for your child's early development," she emphasised.
In the case of babies and toddlers, she said it was especially important to ensure that the facility has soft, carpeted areas for crawling and age-appropriate safe toys.
Linton also suggested that parents take into consideration the affordability of the facility before enrolling their children. "You don't want to start off today and then tomorrow you are unable to keep up with the expenses."
She said that were more than 2,000 basic schools in Jamaica, in addition to infant departments in primary schools, as well as kindergarten, day-care and pre-school facilities.
Reprinted from Jamaica Observer