Participants in the BES(t) 4 Kids work meeting pose for a photo at Queen’s Gardens Resort.

The BES(t) 4 Kids delegation visited Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) on Wednesday, November 6. SCS facilitates the CVQ Early Childhood Education programme.


SABA--Representatives of the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, and of the Ministries of Social Affairs and Labour SZW, Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS, Education, Culture and Science OCW and Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK had a three-day meeting in Saba from Monday, November 4, to Wednesday, November 6, to discuss the BES(t) 4 Kids child care programme.

This was the sixth working meeting of BES(t) 4 Kids, an integral programme to strengthen day care for 0- to 4-year-old children and afterschool care for children ages four to 12+ in the Caribbean Netherlands. The project leaders of the public entities and the four ministries and the manager of the BES(t) 4 Kids programme continue to work together on this important project that will benefit the children and their parents in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Quality of childcare is the main principle in the BES(t) 4 Kids programme. Its focus is on creating a safe and caring environment for children which is accessible to all parents, it was stated in a press release. During the three-day work session in Saba, participants discussed what steps have to be taken next and how to prepare all stakeholders to improve their organisations and to provide higher-quality childcare.

An important step in this respect is the establishing of the island childcare ordinances on each island. The Island Ordinance Child Care provides for a set of quality criteria that each childcare organisation will have to meet within a certain period. Childcare organisations will be required to have a permit to operate. The future Child Care Inspectorate will monitor whether the organisations comply with the criteria.

The Executive Councils of the three public entities will be establishing their childcare ordinances before the end of this year and will send them to their Island Councils for approval, after which the laws will come into effect.

During the gathering in Saba this week, the BES(t) 4 Kids partners also discussed what kind of support the partners in this programme can and will provide to the childcare organisations so the latter can be ready, now or in the near future, to meet the quality criteria.

Possibilities for support include training programmes for the childcare staff, providing for additional staff and expertise, improving labour conditions and offering subsidies to lower cost. The BES(t) 4 Kids partners discussed what organisations might be eligible for this type of support and under what conditions, and how the support will be provided.

The participants paid a working visit to Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) on Wednesday morning, November 6, where they received an update on the Caribbean Vocation Qualification (CVQ) Early Childhood Education training that a group of six day-care teachers, two afterschool care teachers, a few Sacred Heart Primary School teacher assistants and a few other persons recently started.

SCS Director Anton Hermans welcomed the BES(t) 4 Kids delegation. He said the school was very thankful for the support from the BES(t) 4 Kids programme. He said SCS was pleased to facilitate the CVQ 2 education programme, which he noted would greatly contribute to the quality of childcare on the island. CVQ 2 teacher Floyd Pryce showed the delegation the classroom which has all features of a day-care centre.

Commissioner Rolando Wilson joined the BES(t) 4 Kids delegation in their meeting on Wednesday. He said BES(t) 4 Kids was a good example of how the various ministries and the Caribbean Netherlands islands are working together to raise the quality of childcare.

This was the second time Saba hosted a BES(t) 4 Kids work meeting.