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Roving caregivers discuss early child care education

Roving caregivers discuss early child care education

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The Programme Director of the Caribbean Support Initiative (CSI), Susan Branker Lashley, believes that Caribbean Governments are only now coming to grips with the importance of early education and early care for young children.

Subregional officials attached to the Roving Caregivers Programme gathered at the Sunset Shores Hotel on Thursday, August 3, for a consultation aimed at assessing the pilot phase of the project and planning for the programme’s continuation.{{more}}

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT at the consultation, Branker-Lashley said, “We only now understand brain development of children even before the pre-school age”. Expressing great satisfaction with the progress of the Roving Caregivers Programme, Branker-Lashley said that the programme is demonstrating to governments that cost effective modules can be used to target those most at risk, who live in poor, rural conditions.

The Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) was born out of the call by the Caribbean Support Initiative (CSI) in the Regional Strategy Paper 2002- 2006 for the introduction of and support of implementating good parenting practices in Early Childhood Development at the community level. In support of this aim, the CSI decided to position the RCP from Jamaica for replication and initiated a pilot project in the four Windward Islands: Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Under the current RCP methodology, rovers visit homes to engage in stimulation activities with children. Parents are encouraged to participate in the sessions and learn from the activities so that they can continue in the absence of the rover. The programme reaches some 1,058 families and 1,198 children across the four islands.

Local RCP Coordinator Judith Hull-Ballah also expressed satisfaction with the progress of the programme which was launched here in July 20, 2005. While admitting that there were a lot of challenges Hull-Ballah told SEARCHLIGHT that she has seen improvement and positive progress in every aspect of the programme.

Not least of this positive progression is the work done by the rovers themselves. Originally the programme recruited only secondary school drop-outs but was also able to attract persons with CXC subjects, who are being encouraged to use the rovers programme as a stepping stone to further their ambitions. The local Rovers programme is operating in the Barrouallie, Sandy Bay and Byera/ Chester communities.

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