Today the Government of Belize in collaboration with the European Union opened three preschools in northern Belize. New buildings were built at Trial Farm and San Jose Villages in the Orange Walk District and one in San Pedro Village in the Corozal District. This enables 150 more children to access early childhood education says Chief Education Officer Dr. Carol Babb.
DR CAROL BABB
“It’s over a million dollars, $1,140,000 Belize dollars and it’s a grant from the European Union so that is a good thing that we don’t have to worry about paying it back and we are very thankful to the European Union because you know early childhood education is extremely important and we in the Ministry of Education Value that parents we want every child to have access to early childhood education. We believe in starting strong. These are the foundation years so we are extremely thankful and we want to ensure that these children get the best quality education at this level.”
The projects fall under the Accompanying measures for Sugar 2012 program’s objective of providing quality education opportunities. Political Councilor at the EU delegation covering Belize, Gavin Tech says the new installments are in line with achieving this objective.
DR CAROL BABB
“Part of that program is looking at a holistic approach to that support it’s not just about cane farmers it’s not just about roads it also includes schools as you can see and that is why we are here today to open this fantastic new school but it’s also about helping the whole industry adjust to the future when price structures change and we realize that the sugar industry is a community within itself and that the families are just affected as those who work in the fields, drive the tractors or work in the factories so it’s about offering a level of support for everybody involved including the very youngest as we see here today.”
The inauguration of all three schools was held at the Trial Farm Government school compound, where the new building was erected. Nazira Romero, Principal of Trial Farm Government School and Omar Cabrera, Principal of the San Jose Primary School both say the new space has been long awaited.
“The preschool has two classrooms there are two large classrooms. It has four bathrooms two for staff and for the babies it has bathrooms at their size and it also have areas where they can clean up after their arts and crafts. We have new stoves and refrigerators and places there for the children to get their healthy snacks. The value for Trial Farm is great. This here is for generations to come and we really appreciate that this was given to trial farm government school by the European Union.”
“How many preschoolers are currently enrolled?”
“We have right now 58 preschoolers.”
“How many can this building easily accommodate?”
“Well seeing the ratio we have two preschool teachers right now and for the 58 children so probably if we get more preschool teachers then we could accommodate more students but it can easily hold 60 or 70 children.””
“This is the first for a large school we are one of the largest government schools in that area 500 plus students and this is the first time that we are getting a preschool so the social skills will definitely develop before these children go into Infant 1.”
“Is there a demand from the community for this ?”
“Definitely there is as a matter of fact the preschool they gave us is one classroom and we needed two but it is still good.”
The schools are equipped with ramps for wheelchair access, restroom facilities catering to children with special needs, defined multiple interest learning centers, playground and furniture.