The Early Childhood Development Unit (ECDU) is part of the executive offices within the Education Services division of the Ministry of Education. The Director of the Early Childhood Development Unit, Mrs. Rosalind Warner, manages the ECDU and serves as the primary advisor to the Chief Education Officer on matters of early childhood care and education.
The Early Childhood Development Unit in collaboration with the Child Welfare Board is responsible for ensuring adherence, of service providers, to the policies and regulations related to early education, care programs and services in St. Kitts and Nevis. Early childhood care and education includes both formal programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children up to age eight and informal programs which include home visiting and community-based family engagement networks.
The ECDU is responsible for registering and licensing all early childhood facilities, as well as providing systematic monitoring and supervision of early childhood care givers. The ECDU also provides technical assistance to registered programs on complying with safety and best practice standards, and assists programs with attaining higher levels of quality through a system of standards and support, including professional development for early childhood providers in both the public and private sectors
General Aims of Early Childhood Education
- To provide equitable access and participation in high quality early childhood programming for all children between birth and eight years of age.
- To strengthen services and interventions in early childhood that will improve opportunities for positive outcomes for children between birth and eight, including those with special needs.
- To empower early childhood practitioners, service providers and parents as “active agents” of environmental influence during early childhood.
Types of Early Childhood Care and Education Centres
Common Features of Early Childhood Centres
Early Childhood centres can be privately owned and operated or a government institution. Private centres may be housed in private homes, proprietor owned commercial buildings, or rented buildings given the minimum standards for operation are meet as outlined in the Early Childhood Minimum Standards and Early Childhood Operational Guidelines.
Government Early Childhood Centres are headed by a Supervisor. Centre supervisors, are directly monitored by Resource Teachers within the ECDU and, report directly to the director for the Early Childhood Development Unit. Early Childhood Centres are typically staffed with the following: Teaching Staff, Teachers’ Aides, Nursery Assistants, Cooks, Cleaners, Washers and sometimes a Groundsman and a Crossing Guard.
Within Government Early Childhood Centre, children enter the centres between 7.00 a.m. and 8.00 a.m. and are picked up by parents and guardians between 4.00 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. Parents and Guardians of Government centres are charged a weekly nominal fee of $15.00 (E.C) per child