SOS For More Day Nurseries

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The increased demand for day care places across the island for children has not gone unnoticed by Government.

That is the word from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who reiterated Government’s commitment to expanding existing nurseries and developing new ones to provide more spaces to address the shortage. However, he admitted that partnering with the private sector was critical if they were to meet these needs.??

Mr. Lashley made the comments today at the reopening of the new Ellerton Day Nursery in St. George, which was rebuilt late last year by the Barbados Children’s Trust.

He told the gathering that Government was committed to the holistic development of the island’s children, and this was evident by the fact that young ones, including those with disabilities, were accepted in the Day Care Programme. "This has assisted in curbing disintegration of families and has, indeed, given parents a helping hand, especially in cases where they are unsure as to how to deal with a specific disability or concern," he stated.

According to him, the extension and renovation of the nursery were also indicative of Government’s unswerving obligation to good day care facilities. "Our nurseries are not only child-minding centres, but represent ???a home away from home’ for our children, whose parents and relatives cannot care for them during the day. Trained, professional and competent staff provides the care and stimulation necessary to promote the maximum total development of our children from three months to five years," he assured.

Chairman of the Child Care Board, Maureen Graham, agreed that steps had to be taken to expand the network of day care facilities across the island. "Although the re-opening of the Ellerton Day Nursery, with its increased capacity fills such a need, there must be further development of these integral services within the Barbados programme for social and economic development…

"There is still a clear need for more affordable child-centred day care facilities across the island. When parents and children are happy, employers benefit and also our country reaps significant benefits. Thus, creating a win-win situation," Ms. Graham suggested.

She urged the private sector and charitable organisations to join Government, not only to enhance the physical landscape of Barbados, but also to assist in positively developing and shaping children.

Government operates 15 Day Care Centres across the island.????saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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