Charlestown-Nevis—They came immaculately attired and it was obvious that they would have recently made visits to their respective hair stylists and/or the various clothing stores in Charlestown.
Such was the atmosphere at the first ever graduation of Nursery Care Givers, to be held in Nevis.
The grand event was held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church School hall on the evening of Tuesday 1st December.
Mrs. Florence Smithen, Education Officer responsible for the early childhood sector on Nevis, ably chaired the proceedings and Ms. Wendy Walters, invoked God’s presence.
The national anthem was sung lustily by all present and then the beaming graduates took center stage.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Smithen praised the graduates for accepting the challenge to attend the workshop which extended from the 1st of October until the 26th of November.
Later, she also gave the graduates some tips to hold on to in order to operate a successful Nursery.
Mrs. Dawny Lanns, another official from the Early Childhood sector of the Ministry of Education, gave a comprehensive and intriguing report on the workshop.
She spoke of its origins, out of a trainer of trainers’ workshop, held in Antigua and the follow up, as Mrs. Smithen wrote a grant proposal to UNICEF which was successfully awarded.
The workshop was then put in place and the participants were exposed to a wide range of topics and professional facilitators which included but were not limited to: Play techniques; Nutrition; immunization; importance of Health Center visits; evidence of and reporting of child abuse cases; standards for Nursery centers and requirements for visits by Education officials.
Some of the facilitators included: Dr. Patrick Martin, Mrs. Jacquelyn Morris, Mrs. Ivorcia Browne; Mrs. Florence Smithen and Ms. Dawny Lanns.
The participants were required to attend a minimum of ten sessions in order to qualify for the graduation exercise.
Of the thirty-one individuals, who commenced the course, twenty-two endured until the end.
Principal Education officer, Mrs. Palsy Wilkin was obviously enthused and elated.
She warmly congratulated the Graduants and noted that previously her department had paid a lot more attention to the children ages 3 to 5 but that this time, attention was focused on the birth to 2 year olds.
She promised the Care givers that more focus will be paid to them in the future as they are the real building blocks of a child’s development process.
National Director of Early Childhood Education, Mrs. Jacquelyn Morris, expressed her delight at the way the graduation exercise was conducted and stated that she planned to ‘steal’ the ideas and take them back to St. Kitts for future reference.
She gave a detailed historic overview of the development of the early childhood caring system, within the Caribbean, from its primitive stages in the garages of some individuals, to its current prestigious status.
She wished the graduates well and challenged them to put what they had learnt into practice.
PEO Mrs. Palsy Wilkin also apologized for the absence of Premier Vance Amory, who was unavoidably absent.
The proceedings were interspersed by some scintillating performances by the graduates and dynamic soloist, Tessa Nicholas, who rendered a stunning tribute to the Caregivers, in song.
The graduates rendered a group song: “The Greatest Love of all,” and featured in several poems, one of which admonished the listeners to no longer refer to them as baby –SITTERS, as they are so busy caring for the children that they do not even get time to SIT.
Mrs. Shauna Fergus also wowed the audience with a thrilling monologue.
Probably the most important aspect of the evening’s proceedings, was the presentation of certificates. These were presented by PEO Mrs. Palsy Wilkin.
The vote of thanks was eloquently delivered by Mrs. Margarette griffin and the Graduants concluded the evening with various photo shoots and a snack.