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BES(t)4 kids program gets off to a good start

The BES(t) 4 kids program’s ambition is to offer all children in the Caribbean Netherlands good quality, safe and accessible childcare and after-school care by the year 2022. Since the program’s launch in January 2019, great efforts have been made to realize the objectives.

The number of classrooms in Saba has been increased and a number of additional employees were recruited so more children in Saba can use childcare and after-school care facilities. As a result, the waiting list for childcare decreased. All staff members have attended the introductory session of the pedagogical High Scope program. This educational method focuses on the comprehensive development of children aged between 0 and 6. On June 24th and 25th, 2019 all staff members of the childcare facility will also be trained in the Conscious Discipline program. This program aims to strengthen children’s social-emotional skills. In September 2019 the first group of 14 employees of the Saba Comprehensive School will start the CVQ 2 Early Childhood Development training.

In February 2019, St. Eustatius launched the CVQ 2 Early Childhood Development training at the Gwendoline van Putten School. Eight staff members of the childcare facility and twelve students of the school follow this two-year training course. They learn how young children develop themselves and how they can support children in this process. July 2019 two staff members of the childcare and after-school care unit will start a course to become a trainer in the pedagogical High Scope program. Additionally, training will be provided for management teams of childcare organizations and a platform has been established in which the childcare organizations can discuss and coordinate organizational matters with each other. Furthermore, the kindergarten is working on expanding the nursery. The remodeling will be completed in September 2019. Then there will be room for more babies and the facilities for their care will have improved.

Different groups of employees in Bonaire have been trained in the pedagogical Kaleidoscoop program. A train-the-trainer course for new students and the recertification of staff members who obtained the Kaleidoscoop certificate in the past will start in August 2019. On June 6th, 2019 a meeting was held for childcare organizations and the education sector. They discussed the opportunities which working with Kaleidoscoop offers children and what the program could mean for a strong start in primary school. In Bonaire, the number of subsidized places for children has been increased and the income threshold has been raised. As a result, more parents will be able to use childcare and after-school care facilities.

In order to realize this all, the Public Entities appointed BES(t) 4 kids project managers. For Bonaire this is Tamara Nicolaas, Angela Dekker was appointed in St. Eustatius and Rosalyn Johnson in Saba. Fleur Lagcher holds the position of the overall program manager. The Public Entities and the Central Government (the Ministries of SZW, OCW, VWS, and BZK) work in close collaboration with each other in the BES(t) 4 kids program. Civil service representatives will meet in a work conference in St. Eustatius in the period June 19th to 21th, 2019 to discuss follow-up actions.

RCN

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