Early Childhood Development Participatory Policy Planning Conference

On Wednesday, April 13, the launch of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Participatory Policy Planning Conference at the NIPA. This two day conference is intended to discuss the topics needed to form St. Maarten ECD Policy  and the benefits of expanding investments of ECD on St. Maarten. Welcome statements and introductions were given by Honorable Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sport Silveria Jacobs.

The Department of Youth Affairs within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport is the entity responsible for monitoring the Rights of the Child and had therefore assumed the responsibility for the role of ensuring that laws and policies for early childhood development are established.

In order to draft the preliminary Vision and Mission Statements of the ECD Policy, identifying the important activities and services to be developed under each Strategic Priority and considering the responsible entities and budgets for each type of activity or service must be established.

The effects of early intervention for especially disadvantaged children lead to improvements in children’s survival, health, growth, and cognitive and social development. Children who receive assistance in their early years achieve more success at school. As adults, they have higher employment and earnings, better health and lower levels of welfare dependences and crime rates than those who do not receive there early opportunities.

Therefore having policies in place to regulate ECD in order to positively influence the socio-economic development of the people of St. Maarten.  Participants as stakeholders in ECD were various policy makers from the Departments of Youth, Education, the Division of Public Education, Emiliy Vargas-Baron; Internation Policy Consultant, SECDA, early childhood educator schools, Stichting Justitiële Instellingen St. Maarten (SJIS) and the Inspectorate representatives for the Ministry Public Health, Social Development and Labor.

At the conclusion of the conference, a presentation of the final draft Work Plan for the ECD policy will be presented to Minister Jacobs.