It gives me immense pleasure to address you on this special and important occasion. I wish to extend a very warm welcome to all prospective childminders and their families. I also bid a special welcome to all our faithful partners in the various sectors in ECCE, who despite their buys schedules, have made time in their weekend to join us this afternoon. Thank you all for your esteemed presence.
Today marks a monumental milestone as the Institute of Early Childhood Development – Institute under the auspices of UNESCO, celebrates two major accomplishments:
- The 12th Group of 29 prospective Childminders who will receive their certificate of attendance after completing the Pre-Registration Sensitization Training Programme on the National Standards for Childminding Services.
- Four distinguished registered Childminders who have clocked 100% compliance to the 10 national standards in 2023.
Indeed, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to reach these important milestones successfully. The most defining success factor which has shaped the Childminding Programme since 2015 is indeed the unswerving support and strong collaboration of the main sectors and agencies in ECCE, relevant partners and benefactors, and who are still to this day, working closely with us, to implement the regulatory framework for home-based childminding services.
Since 2015 to date, almost 400 Childminders and Assistant Childminders have been empowered to nurture, care and educate young children in a least restrictive and standardized environment, thus laying the foundation for formal early childhood and subsequently primary education as well as improving the quality regulatory framework to ensure that all children the best head start in life. This is part of the commitment for action encapsulated in the recent Tashkent Declaration 2022, adopted by Member States of the UNESCO, including Seychelles and IECD, the provisional work plan of IECD/ UNESCO Category 2 Institute for ECCE, to further advance Early Childhood Care and Education.
We, as a community in ECCE and country, are very happy to note that we have already taken bold steps to fulfill this commitment for action. The professionalization of early years’ workforce and quality assurance, and in most cases, we are well advanced compared to other countries in the world. As a small island developing state, we are on the right track and well positioned to achieve the sustainable development goals.
One of the first-of-its-kind training initiative and groundbreaking success in this area, which we also celebrated last year, is the recognized certification of twenty-six registered childminders in ‘childcare and development’ through the Recognition of Prior Learning, in collaboration with SQA and SITE. A second group of fourteen registered childminders have completed the RPL process and they expect to receive their certificate next year. The formalities for a third group using a similar process has already begun with SQA and portfolios will be submitted in the first quarter of 2024.
We will continue in our efforts to maintain this best practice until we attain our target of 100% of childcare workers trained and sensitized in the national standards and ECCE.
As part of the national priorities of the Seychelles Framework on ECCE and IECD’s long term Strategy, this initiative, fully funded by the Government, is being offered through ‘full’ and ‘part-time’ courses by SITE. In doing so, we are implementing and promoting research evidence which shows that well-qualified childcare providers are crucial in ECCE, and children who attend high-quality childcare services are better prepared to succeed in school and their future careers.
The National Standards for Childminding Services 2016, which is currently under review to align it with the new Early Childhood Development Act 2022, was established to assure quality service provision and to set national measures. All Childminders are expected to be fully compliant to these standards with a view to satisfy regulatory principles and enhance quality management. The standards promote the adoption of best practices by Childminders, consequently contribute to raising parental awareness on early childhood care and education, provide the basis for the registration of services among others. They are essential in safeguarding both the registered Childminders, children and their families accessing the service and the ECCE community as a whole.
At this stage, allow me to extend our warm congratulations, to the registered childminders who will receive their certificate of recognition in a few moments, for their remarkable works and consistent efforts to reach such high standards – 100% compliance to the national quality standards. This demonstrates that nothing is impossible when one is committed, dedicated, have good attitude towards work, and passionate to achieve the best possible results.
To the 12th Group of Prospective Childminders.
Dear Participants – As early childhood educator, you have a very important role in protecting the rights, nurturing and educating our young children. The training, which you have just completed, reinforces the benchmark of quality and excellence to help ensure quality early childhood experience, school readiness and a strong head start for all children in your care.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of your commitment towards its effective implementation and meaningful participation of parents, in the interest of promoting children’s holistic development standards as they have a positive and lasting impact on the holistic development of the child.
We count on you to take up the challenge and help the country in its demarche to meet the increasing needs and demands for this critical service in our communities.
Today we celebrate YOU, your perseverance and commitment to successfully complete the nine-week long training programme, with the support of your family and friends. Moreover, we celebrate your freshly acquired knowledge and skills to impart with young children. This certificate-giving ceremony is a graceful tribute to your 100% attendance and active participation. The certificate you are about to receive is the first step towards formal registration of your service with IECD, part of the ongoing professional development and implementation of high quality service to the youngest children.
On this note, on behalf of the Boards, Staff, Partners and everyone present here today, I wish to congratulate you all for completing the training and look forward to welcoming you on board in the coming months!
As we mark the closing of the intensive training programme for prospective Childminders, and whilst strengthening our partnership with various sectors, I take this moment to convey our sincerest gratitude and deep appreciation to our partners:
- Ministry of Health,
- Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs,
- Ministry of Education and SITE
- National Sports Council,
- Seychelles Fire Rescue Services Agency,
- External Partners and Collaborators
A special note of thanks goes to our faithful Facilitators – your experiences and expertise in various areas in ECCE, excellent facilitation skills, and valued contribution to the successful delivery of the training sessions – are highly appreciated!
The concerted relationship with relevant partners reflects a strong commitment and focus to continue raising the quality of child care services and ECCE in general. Your support is commendable! Can you stand up Facilitators! I applaud you and urge you to maintain this collaborative spirit, and keep up the excellent collaborative partnership! Please give them a big round of applause! Thank you.
I also wish to recognize the IECD Team, in particular Staff of the Regulatory Affairs Section, for the effective planning, coordination and organizing today’s ceremony and the training programme.
Indeed, you have proven that where there is strong team spirit, discipline and unity– wonderful things can be achieved. As we always do, cheering on every little accomplishment will increase productivity and incorporate a belief that everything is achievable. Keep in mind that with unity comes success, and with success comes positivity. This is what we are witnessing here today with our team of like-minded people at IECD. We will maintain what we have achieved; continue striving even harder and even on the regional and international front, as we chart our new frontier as a Category 2 Institute for ECCE, under the auspices of UNESCO.
Join me to applaud the RA Staff and other staff members for their collective efforts and commitment.
Once again, warmest congratulations to the participants on your remarkable accomplishments and everyone here today, and all in absentia – who have helped to make the PRESET training programme a success!
It remains for me to thank you for your esteemed presence and attention.
Have a wonderful evening!