In July, 2016, the National Standards on Childminding Regulations, 2016 was legislated and formed the basis for monitoring and evaluation of registered home-based Childminding Services in Seychelles and their registration. The Institute of Early Childhood Development (IECD), the mandated regulator of Childminding Services in Seychelles, undertook a pilot study in 2017 to evaluate the implementation of the ten core national standards by the registered Childminders.
The objective of the pilot study was to monitor the level of implementation and maintenance of four mandatory standards which the Childminders are required to comply with for registration Health, Safety, Child Rights and Protection as well as Staffing. Additionally, the team measured how far the other six national standards i.e. Early Learning, Interaction, Administration, Nutrition, Family and Community Engagement and Physical Environment were being applied since these standards were not part of the initial registration requirements as they were to be implemented gradually. The pilot study also provided an opportunity for IECD as the regulator to determine the challenges in the implementation of the ten standards as well as gauge the understanding and knowledge of the registered Childminders and parents on the ten quality standards.
Preparation for the study began mid-year with the assistance of an external Consultant, Dr. Andre Leste who developed the research instruments and trained the data collectors. Data was collected by Staff of the Regulatory Affairs Section through Observation Checklists plus Childminder and Parent Questionnaires. Nine registered Childminding Services selected by convenience and seventy-one parents participated in the study.
Preliminary results indicated that the Childminders were generally in compliance with the standards and their understanding and knowledge of the standards was at a reasonable level. However, knowledge gaps in some areas were identified which indicated the need for further training. The findings also indicated that parents’ sensitization on the standards needed to be intensified and their role in the development of their children required reinforcement. On Saturday 25th November, IECD held a workshop to share the preliminary results with the participating Childminders and parents and obtained their views for finalization of the study report.