By Carlena Knight
One local preschool got a much-needed boost earlier today as a new building was officially opened.
The Simon Bolivar Pre-school which is the first government-run early development centre to be opened in the country, officially unveiled a new building which will serve as an additional classroom.
Work to refurbish the abandoned building began in July of this year, and it is the fourth classroom at the pre-school, housing eight students under the social distancing protocols.
The additional classroom is a welcomed infrastructural addition said the Early Childhood Development Education Officer, Embler Spencer.
Spencer, who was present at a brief opening ceremony today, says the additional space will help the staff at the school be able to abide by the social distancing protocols even more.
“This is a very important aspect of our early childhood education in Antigua and Barbuda. As you know, the Covid pandemic has truly done a number on the amount of children that we can accept because of limited space. The opening of this classroom marks the ability to take more children and so this morning, I am very happy that we can do this,” Spencer said.
Supervisor at the Simon Bolivar Pre-school, Onecia Browne, echoed Spencer’s sentiments.
Browne added that this classroom will help to provide children with the tools they need to begin their lives as it is the foundation of their educational journey.
“We cannot over-emphasise how important early childhood education is. When I think of early childhood education, I think of the foundation of a house. Once your foundation is firm, there is stability,” Browne added.
Director of Education Clare Browne was also present at the ceremony. He too spoke on the importance of such an expansion.
“Early childhood education is the foundation for the rest of lifelong education, and so if you get that right, you then won’t have a problem going forward. The Ministry of Education, Sports and Creative Industries sees the importance of starting right and ensuring that our children start right. If they don’t start right then they will not end up on the right path,” Browne said.
He recommitted the Ministry’s efforts to ensuring that all the school’s needs are met.
Special thanks were extended to Senator Shenella Govia, Constable Mitchell, the Board of Education, Sammy’s Concrete and all the other persons and businesses who contributed to the school’s expansion.
The Simon Bolivar Centre which has been serving the communities of the Rural East Constituency since 2019 presently has thirty students enrolled.