SABA — A new, second group of staff of the Laura Linzey Day Care Center and the After-School Care Organization started the two-year training Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) level 2 Early Childhood Education (ECE) since early September. Classes take place at the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) and are facilitated by teacher Floyd Pryce.
The group attends classes on Tuesdays and has a study period on Thursday afternoons. At this moment, 14 staff members of the day care and five from the after-school care are working towards their qualifications in ECE. The first group of staff successfully completed the first year of studies and have begun the second and final year of study. “They completed the assessments and were found competent. They are producing high quality work. You can see the increased professionality, increased care and quality,” said a proud day care Manager Tessa Samuel-Alexander.
The first group is expected to finish in July 2021. “The success of the first group is highly motivating for the second group,” said Samuel-Alexander. The second group consists of four fulltime day care staff members and three part-time workers, as well as four from the after-school care. The second group should be CVQ 2 ECE certified by the summer of 2022.
Putting year one and 2 together, there are currently a total of 30 students in the CVQ 2ECE program. Of this number, the vast majority comes from the Laura Linzey Day Care Center, and a smaller group of the after-school facility, the Sacred Heart primary school and EC2. SCS Director Anton Hermans said he was happy to facilitate the CVQ 2 ECE education at his school. Quoting the famous educator Maria Montessori, Hermans said: “Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.”
In October 2019, a group of six daycare teachers, two after-school care teachers, a few teacher assistants of the Sacred Heart School, and a few persons of other organizations started the CVQ Early Childhood Education training. Manager Samuel-Alexander proudly said that no one of the day care group has dropped out and have successfully completed the first year.
Day care employees taking part in the CVQ education are eager to share their theoretical and practical knowledge and skills towards the continued strive to improve the quality of services and care. Cohort 2 student Verianica Smith is enthusiastic. “I expect that this course will provide me with the required knowledge and learning tools necessary to develop my skills in early childhood education. Once I complete this course, I expect that it will qualify me to provide quality early childhood education and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in my care.”
Asked what her expectations were of herself and and fellow classmates, Smith said: “I expect that I will remain disciplined in reaching my learning goals and complete this course in full to the best of my ability. I expect that my classmates will be supportive and I will be able to work with them as a team to achieve the qualifications provided by this course.”
Smith mentioned four things that she considered her priority goals. “Learn how to provide quality early childhood education; Develop a better understanding of the safety and health of young children to ensure that this is provided as I continue working in the field; Become officially qualified to work as an early childhood caretaker/educator; Eventually use this knowledge to have my own business in early childhood education.”
Another enthusiast cohort 2 student Sheyla Daniel-William stated: “I expect to become a better caregiver to the children who are in my care, to be someone they see as their safe place, someone who will guide them to become the best versions of themselves. I decided to join this course so I can acquire the essential knowledge, training and skills needed to become a qualified teacher/caregiver.”
Daniel-William said the CVQ education, once completed, will place her one step closer to her main goal, which is to obtain her Master’s in Education and to work confidently as a teacher. “I will work day and night with every spare time I have to be able to complete the CVQ course. My hope is to obtain as much training and knowledge that I can possibly get over the next two years, so that I will be able to implement the best quality of care to the children I work with.”
Director of Saba Girls and Boys Sports Society After School Care Ms. Elka Charles said that the board and directors’ team were very proud to be part of the CVQ ECE training. “This will ensure that our leaders receive the necessary training and skills to continue serving the children of Saba to the best of their abilities. We support and encourage our leaders and the others in the program to take advantage of this opportunity and go the distance. Much success to all,” she said.
The CVQ 2 Early Childhood Education is a two-year program and provided as part of the larger BES(t) 4 Kids program to upgrade daycare and after-school care in the Caribbean Netherlands. The focus of BES(t) 4 Kids is on creating a safe and caring environment for children, which is accessible to all parents.
Day care manager Samuel-Alexander said she was very grateful to the BES(t) 4 Kids program for enabling her staff to take part in this two-year training that benefits not only the participants personally as they learn a lot, but it is also very positive for the day care services and the children.
Samuel-Alexander said she was also content with the additional support that BES(t) 4 Kids has made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current crisis has created financial consequences for many parents and families. The BES(t) 4 Kids program along with the day care management has made it possible to provide diapers, wipes and pull-ups free of charge for all children of 0-3 years at the day care from September until December 2020. The products are for the sole use at the day care and are not for use at home.