By: Precious Mills
BASSETERRE, St.Kitts– Acting Director of the Early Childhood Development Unit (ECDU), June Wallace, has shared her thoughts on a well-known saying which claims ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’
“I still feel that there is hope and that is what we are trying to do in our early childhood centres. That is why we are encouraging parenting and community involvement. For this child month celebration and for others, what we normally do is collaborate with the community so they’ll help us to advocate on behalf of children.”
Wallace, at the time, was responding to a question posed by this reporter during a chit-chat with other media workers at the Independence Square following the annual Child Month March held on Friday 30th June, observed under the month-long theme ‘For Every Child, Early Moments Matter’.
Scores of children from preschools and nursery centres and day care centres, from around the island participated in the yearly march accompanied by teachers and parents; many wearing this year’s blue themed t-shirt.
Some of the youngsters also wore career outfits such as police officer, nurse, doctor and dentist, fire fighter, teacher and construction worker.
They also carried placard sporting this year’s theme. ‘Expose Infants Early To the World Of Literacy’, ‘I Need You’ and ‘Read To Me’ were some of the other messages portrayed by the young ones.
Inclement weather experienced the day before with the passage of the tropical wave delayed an early morning start of the procession. As a result, it kicked off about close to 12 noon or just shortly after taking a shorter route.
In regard to the attendance for the march, Wallace said “The turnout was very good.”
Speaking more on the topic of community involvement in the upbringing of children, she continued: “We have persons who partner with us. We still believe when it comes to these very young ones, people of the Federation, they are concerned about young children, and we don’t want it to stay just here; we want them to do it all through their lives. For every child, early moment matters but we need to continue follow them through.”
As understood, members of the corporate community such as TDC and FLOW usually make contributions.
Asked to comment on this year’s Child Month theme, she said: “The theme, what it is promoting is early brain development and early stimulation and it also focuses on early nutrition and early nurturing of children.”
Touching on the importance of such she remarked: “Early nurturing it means you want the best type of child you can have. If you have early nurturing, you will be able to prevent certain types of illness that could happen if you don’t have the early stimulation.”
This reporter also asked Wallace to highlight the operations of the Early Childhood Unit in St.Kitts-Nevis.
“Our early childhood Unit, we have our day care centres, we have nursery-both public and private and preschools and what we do is train and we advocate on behalf of children. We are advocates for the nation’s children. That is why is we will have this march annually. Every year, we have a different theme and the theme is encouraging teachers, parents and the community to stand with us in instilling certain values, basic things that we think are very important so that our children can grow up in the way that they should.”
“We hope that through this theme, the community, the nation would respect this theme for every child: early moment matters. We must all be ambitious for all children regardless of where they come from,” she added.
Wallace indicated that going forward, the route for the annual march might be remain shorter as used this year.
“We had a very successful month. As a matter of fact, the route was shorter this time and it was exciting and so I think we may change the long route that we normally have from Greenlands (and so) we may go from the (Warner) Park and come down.”
This year’s march kicked off from the Park on Victoria Road then took a right onto Cayon Street then left onto Church Street, left onto Liverpool Rowe turning onto Fort Street then to Cayon Street before going right along West Independence Square Street.
Other activities for 2017 Child Month included a sports day at Kim Collins Stadium and St.Kitts-Nevis Football Association Festival at Warner Park. The month- long celebration ended with a boat ride on Saturday 1st July.
Acting Director of the Early Childhood Development Unit (ECDU), June Wallace while speaking to the media (Spokesman Snap)
A section of the Child Month March showing some of the participants dressed in career outfits (Spokesman Snap)