$1.3M found for pre-school

| 12/06/2012

ECCE Reception Classes (281x300).jpg(CNS): Government has found an extra $1.3 million in the forthcoming budget to invest in the return of Reception classes to public schools. Nine new pre-school classes will open in September at West Bay, Bodden Town and Savannah and parents can register to place their 4-year-old children from Wednesday. The education minister revealed that the funding, which he said would not come as a result of cuts in any other department, is new money from government revenue and the next step on the road to developing the country’s early years education strategy. Some 200 families are expected to benefit from the policy, made possible by the development of new classroom blocks in the relevant schools.

Schools in Cayman Brac, East End and North Side had always retained the Reception class, which officials say helps prepare and socialize children for formal school through play-based learning. In most other schools, however, the informal first school experience was removed until a pilot class was introduced in 2011 at George Town Primary. Following the success of the return of the classes at the capital’s school, the ministry is rolling out more classes in the districts to accommodate a further 200 children.

With plans to ensure a Reception class in every government primary school by the start of the September 2013 school year, the compulsory school starting age will be raised to 5.

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday to announce the plans for Reception, Education Minister Rolston Anglin said that this was in line with trends around the world to increase the starting age for formal school and have as many kids as possible in play-based learning environments for longer before beginning the Year 1 curriculum.

He pointed out that in Finland children don’t start compulsory formal school until seven but attend play schools that prepare them for the school experience. Anglin said the goal in Cayman was to bringthe compulsory starting age up to six, with a compulsory leaving age at 18.

The new funding and introduction of reception at most of the government schools will not affect the funding of the Early Childhood Assistance Programme (ECAP) for parents who meet the criteria, and the age will be lowered for September 2012 to cover children 3 years and 6 months of age.

“With the reintroduction of Reception we are committed to creating centres of excellence in that important year before children start compulsory schooling, preparing our children for success,” Anglin said, adding that the early years have been an area of focus for his ministry.

“As a government we promised that we would prioritise the re-introduction of Reception, as facilities and resources allowed, and we are making good on that promise.  We will continue to do so, until all of our children and their families are catered for, because research shows that the early years are the most important in the growth and development of our future citizens,” he said.

Despite the young age of the children, Anglin spoke about the introduction of Reception as the first step in his ministry’s human capital development strategy. 

“To my mind, lifelong learning must mean that we develop strategies to enhance our very youngest people, while at the same time providing ongoing and continuing opportunities throughout life," the minister said.  “Reception is not only the best way to ensure your child’s education success, but it is also the foundation of a process of lifelong learning.”

The minister and other experts emphasised that reception is play-based and a kindergarten setting and different from formal school. Although there is a specific curriculum, it focuses on socialisation and not academic learning.

Officials from the education department explained that Reception is a critical element in the education process as it prepares children for school rather than starting their formal learning too early. Experts noted that in some cases children who have just turned fourhave been starting formal school and do not know how to socialize with other children, hold a pen, line up when asked or share. Year 1 primary school teachers have spent the first three months or more helping kids fit into the school environment, which they say is a considerable chunk of the school year lost that should be spent on the formal curriculum.

However, children that attend Reception or formal private pre-schools are better socialized and know what is expected in a group learning environment and, according to local teachers, do far better once they start formal school.

With nine new classes beginning this coming September, the education department is gearing up to help parents access the new classes. Registration will begin next week, at the Department of Education Services, at 130 Thomas Russell Way in George Town, together with special registration sessions planned at selected schools.

Information on Reception, including FAQs and brochures on the new curriculum, will be available for parents registering, and on the Mministry’s website.  Queries can be directed to the Early Childhood Care and Education Unit on 244-5724 or turnette.stewart@gov.ky for further information.

See more information below and minister’s statement on early year’s education.

Category: Local News

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    See what happens when Mac stays on island more than 2 weeks 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Not so fast there my friend. Do we have any idea how many millions we "lost" during that two weeks?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, it looks as though Satan is getting his way once again. Engineer an economic crisis, send the mothers out to work so the kids get handed off to be fed the same crock that has produced the last bunch of whining, fat, tattooed, air-headed, promiscuous, Facebook-addicted thugs.

    Yes Mr. Anglin. Well done. What was it you said, "it's time for us to implement what works in the rest of the world." Works for who? Certainly not the mother who misses her child, not the child who has to conform to stringent, intimidatory environments in school settings and finally, not for the father who sees his marriage collapse because he and his wife don't talk anymore and the child doesn't even know the parents. 

    And you people have the gall to stand for election to represent the best interests of your people?

    And don't you dare play the God card, 'cos you are all too busy playing the joker.

  3. datisme says:

    Makes sense because all money is basically "lost" as soon as CIG gets its hands on it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you check RCIPS I'm pretty sure some Leprechaun has recently filed a report stating that his pot of gold has been stolen.


    How do you 'find' money these days? I've heard of saving money, earning money, being given money, but not too much of 'finding' money

    • Anonymous says:

      True.  This Government is also famous for "transferring"money from one ministry to another to shuffle around the money.   But if they happened to "find" new money somewhere, please Government let us in on it, so we can go check the same spot or within a certain radius nearby to see if we can "find" some too.  Could certainly do with some good luck myself, and a windfall just right about now could help pay some of my bills.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats alot of money to be found all of a sudden….I am sure "someone" has loaned it to them…wait till they can't pay it back……wake up everyone….

  5. Accountability says:

    Arrrrrgh!  I am so sick of these political games.  Throw ALL the bums out.  UDP or PPM, they both line their own pockets, play games, give contracts to pals, and we have to eat this and smile?  NO!!!

    I WANT accountable administors and nothing more.  No more cronies- no more contracts.

    Can we not simply run a tiny country of less than 75,000 people without all these games?


    • Anonymous says:

      The answer is no. The government mostly exists to spread around the money it takes in. That is about $500,000,000 a year, and it takes a lot of effort and imagination to pass it out. So if you need 18 new affordable houses, 18 contractors get to build one apiece, for example. The voting public is ok with this. Most of the concern with the Chinese dock is that Chinese will get all the money, not that the dock is too expensive to afford in this life or the next. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they are using Monopoly dollars, strange how they suddenly can find money when we supposed to be broke.   Election must be around the corner.

  7. Mars_mum says:

    Regardless of where the money came from…this is an excellent programme! My son is apart of this year’s pilot programme and moving him there was the smartest move I could have made…teachers like Miss Barnes should be cloned and sent to the other schools….Kudos to the gov’t for actually following thru with something of such high importance…..now if we can only finish the high schools….lol smdh!

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody can deny the importance of the initiative and I wish the best for your son,  but that's not the point.  The point is the funding.  Theres no such thing as "new money from revenue." It's all just money in the public purse, and $1.3M here means it cannot go to somewhere else, or it gets taken from somwhere else, or taxes increase so the government can afford the programme.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps now he could send his own children to a government school

  9. Anonymous also says:

    Did they really find new money?  Or have they been hiding old money?

    Maybe it is all pretend money.  That is how they treat this like a game.

  10. Anonymous says:

    yes…and the magically "found" $1m to pay for roadside cleanup….zzzzz

    these numbers are a joke. UDP manifesto lambasted PPM poor findncial management, committed to producing audited financial statements and promised a balanced budget with a $5m surplus….but we was bankrupt/broke.


    nation building handouts to churches, free paving to everyone in brac, hurricane hilton, $5m save the mortgage for lazy Caymanians, free gas for lazy civil servants (even if you havent worked for government for 10 years, free subsidized healthcare for Caymanians with no security, free shutters for certain Caymanians – UDP vote buying

  11. Anonymous says:

    What exactly the *@#! is "new money' in fiduciary terms?  From where?  This gowerment treats the electorate like *@#!Ing idiots. Come on, surely you've all had enough of this bulls crap?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Soooooo Ironic!!  They can find funds for this project, but they are cutting funding for our College kids that are "C" Students and consistant. These College kid are usually,right smack in the middle of their programs and because they are finding it hard to be an A & B student, they are being rejected funds by the Ministry and put on the streets to cause the Government more money….Unbelievable!!!  I wonder if our Education Ministry know that history show that a "C" student usually succeed in our community and inlife.  They are always striving for excellence!  They become leaders……research that!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely ridiculous.  Not all students can get A's and B's that doesn't mean you don't deserve the same chance at a college education as those that can. In college you have to get a certain percentage or over to pass.  Yes, the brilliant ones can get a degree with distinction but they are few and far between.  No one looks at your grades when you have a Bachelors or Masters.  They just look at the certificate proving that you have such a degree. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Grades do not matter, unless you're trying to get into another educational institution, y transcript is quite important then. Furthermore, to the comment above about "C" students. There should be no such thing. Practically, everyone is capable of A's and B's unless they are mentally handicapped. The " students to me are students who either do not have the proper support and environment to learn the material or are not given appropriate attention in school. I've seen many "C"  classmates turn around and become an "A" students when given some recognition by a teacher or encouraged by a classmate. With the right environment, we can all be "A" students it may just be more difficult for some than it is others, and we will all be better at certain things as well as having different interests.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow.  It must be election time coming up soon.  Funny, how a government who declares we are in deficit can suddenly find money to do stuff.   I swear they make these things up as they go along.   Don't get me wrong, I am all for spending on education – that is one of the most important things for a society's wellbeing.   But it is laughable how this government cannot balance its own budget and reduce deficits and we are losing money through fuel card abuses, travel abuses, awarding of contract abuses, cinico abuses, and the list goes on, and yet suddenly we can find money to pave private parking lots, first class travel jaunts with delegations, give $10M to churches, spend money on solar panels for a project in west bay, and so on and so forth. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    I agree with raising the age for formal schooling.  It is the only stress free time during the life span of most people and I don't think we should be depriving children of it. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Now that I've achieved the goal of providing every educational need for every child for free, I pledge that if I'm re-elected next year, I will give a reward of $2,500 to every mother who has a child born after May 2013. The 'free education cake' is baked; I just need more chidren to eat it.

    Operators of pre-schools who encounter financial difficulties can check with the Minisry of Commerce for assistance. They have the Nation Building account over there and they would be happy to help you turn your pre-school into accommodation for the Chinese who will be arriving shortly.

  16. Pro Caymanian says:

    I agree……….starting age should be 6yrs. That way, the student would be 17/18 when they graduate. Instead of 15/16 as it is now, which i think is too young!!





  17. Anonymous says:

    That's 200 families voting in the election, any guesses who they will vote for now that they don't have to pay for pre-school? Sad situation when this money could have gone to finish the high schools which the UDP broke ground on.

  18. Bling man says:

    Money na lost.  It jus overook.  Only about $1.3 million.  Easy to overlook.

  19. anonymous says:

    They can find "new money" for votebuying projects but where is the "New Money " to pay down the debt?

  20. Anonymous says:

    "…the funding, which he said would not come as a result of cuts in any other department, is new money from government revenue…"


    New money? New revenue? It sounds like the government will be going to the UK again next year with cap-in-hand…….."please sir, can I borrow more?"


    However, I applaud the intent. Improved educations is a good investment; but I think that the funds should come straight out of McKeeva's travel budget (good luck with that one).

  21. Anonymous says:

    When will the CIG make the cuts that need to be made?  Adopt normal accounting standards?  Imagine the money that could be recovered for worthwhile social investments like this?

    • jsftbhaedrg says:

      Correct me if I am wrong here but surely this $1.3M could have come from the Nation Building Fund?

      Oops I forgot that  was already spent on churches

  22. Anonymous says:

    The Education Minister is certainly doing a good job. Regardless of the outcome of the next elections, there should be a stop to the hand-picking of subjects by Ministers also known as musical chairs, and the Education Minister should be kept on.

    Our children's future is too important.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Found?? Was it lost?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wait…what's that you say? There's an election around the corner?  Oh, would you look at that!  I found some money to do some fabulous things with.

    I'm sure we'll have figured out where this money came from when the government swaps hands again. Sigh.