GET ON BOARD: Free bus rides for kids!

Get onboard the Early Childhood train with their most recent initiative just in time for Universal Children’s Day on Sunday, November 20. Of the activities planned children of preschool to primary school age in uniform will get special treatment on Monday, when organizers say they will all ride public transportation free of charge from 7am to 6pm on November 21!
Ruth Phillip from the Early Childhood Services Unit says it’s nothing short of a miracle at how ready and willing all five mini bus associations were, including the National, Gros Islet, Dennery Valley, Dennery Village and Morne Du Don Associations, and how quickly they warmed up to the idea. This is the first time the Unit is embarking on such an initiative and Phillip says it was a process of first contacting the associations via telephone, selling the idea after
which a letter was sent from the head of the Early Childhood unit Margaret Gustave for confirmation.
“The theme for this year was given to them: “Educating Every Child, Promoting Early Literacy, Advancing Humanity” and this is basically asking to bring about the awareness of the United Nations’ convention on the rights of children. By doing so we want partners to come on board, to bring about an awareness that will really bring to light,
that we as a nation will do all that we can to ensure children have a better quality of life.”
“There are a number of children in this country some days they may not even make it to school,” Phillip continued. “Parents may not be able to pay transport. Some may say what is one day but everything comes in small doses. Good things come in small doses. The fact that the bus drivers agreed to do this speaks wonders. We wanted to share with St Lucia that this is happening so other corporate sponsors, all individuals, each of us, can do our part to ensure we do the very best we can to give every child in St Lucia a better quality of life and give parents a ray of hope. We want to make sure this is being done with a purpose. Once again, thank you on behalf of children of St Lucia.”
Various early childhood centres will embark on a range of activities to mark the occasion and according to the Early Childhood representative, churches of all denominations are expected to focus on children this weekend within their respective programs.
“There are a lot of issues affecting children,” she went on. “ The Early Childhood Unit is responsible for establishing early childhood centres, monitoring those
centres, providing training and other technical support for persons operating early childhood centres and maintaining standards.”
In a meeting with LIME representative Terry Finisterre recently, he stated plans for LIME in commemoration of Universal Children’s day: On Wednesday, November 23, over 300 staff will be visiting as many early childhood (preschool and daycare) centres as possible to read to children and donate books to them.
November 20 is also the anniversary of the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the [Declaration of the Rights of the Child] in 1959. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was then signed on the same day in 1989, which has since been ratified by 191 states.
The Early Childhood Services Unit will be hosting its annual Professional Development Day seminar under the theme: Early Literacy—Establishing a Foundation for Future Success on Friday, November 25 from 8:30am to 4pm at the Bay Gardens Hotel.
The goal of the seminar is to provide practitioners with supplementary training to facilitate the development of early literacy skills and attitudes in children in an effort to enhance their language and literacy performance.

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