St. John’s Antigua- A second government pre-school opened on Thursday, and is expected to bring relief to parents of young children residing in the Point/Villa Community.
The Villa Pre-School now brings to two the number of early childhood centres operated by the Ministry of Education, the first being the Simon Bolivar pre-school, with plans to add similar facilities in at least two other communities.
The two classrooms on the compound of the Villa Primary School were refurbished and a bathroom, drainage and sewer system constructed, thanks to the financial support received from the Board of Education in the amount of EC$ 55,000 and the Mill Reef Fund pledge of US$ 25,000.
Declaring open the facility on Thursday, Minister of Education, Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro said the event marks the culmination of years of planning and preparation, all in the interest of advancing early childhood education in Antigua &Barbuda.
Dr Quinn-Leandro underscored the importance of pre-school years, and the effect they can have on individuals in adulthood.
“Indeed, the evidence is clear that children who have had an early foundation starting from age three to five years are more likely to succeed at Secondary school and eventually to go on to university.
As the ministry moves towards the full introduction of Universal Secondary Education (USE), Dr Quinn-Leandro said equally important is the goal for Universal Early Childhood Education that is free and accessible to all.
She highly commended the Mill Reef Fund and Board of Education for their collaboration and financial support, which she said, would augur well for the residents of the Point and Villa communities. She admonished teachers to give of their best and for residents to make use of the opportunity afforded them.
Trustee of the Mill Reef Fund Musette Morgan said the Mill Reef Club was happy to have assisted the Ministry of Education, pledging their continued support to the further development of early childhood education in the country.
Musette said the Mill Reef Fund was founded on the premise of giving back to Antigua & Barbuda through education, which continues to be one of their highest priorities.
Director of Education Jacintha Pringle and Early Childhood Education Officer Earla Esdaille were singled out for their dedication and perseverance in seeing the project to fruition.
Pringle described the opening of the new facility as “important,” stating that it is the children who stand to benefit greatly.
Board of Education’s project manager Paul Punter said refurbishing the two rooms along with the construction of a bathroom and a drainage and sewer system lasted between three to four weeks.
The Villa Pre-School has already registered its full complement of students (30). They will begin classes next week, proceed on Easter break and resume classes in the new term.