Today, in line with its early childhood development campaign, the Government of Belize in collaboration with the European Union officially inaugurated three preschools in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, namely San Jose, San Pedro and Trial Farm villages. A ceremony was held at the facility at the Trial Farm Government School in Orange Walk. News Five’s Duane Moody was there and files this report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
More than one hundred and fifty students will now have access to an early childhood education, the foundation for basic literacy and social skills. That’s after three preschools in three villages in the north were the recipients of spanking new facilities to house the children, ages three and four. The preschools were constructed with financing from the European Union under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar 2012 programme.
Gavin Tench, Political Counselor, European Delegation/Belize
“Part of that program is looking at a holistic approach to that support; it’s just not about cane farmers; it’s just not about roads, it also includes schools as you can see and that’s why we are here to open this fantastic new school. But it is about helping the whole industry adjust to the whole future when price structure changes.”
According to Gavin Tench, over a decade, the E.U. has spent in excess of fifteen million Euros or close to thirty-three million Belize dollars in projects in the country. This grant for the three schools is valued one point one-four million dollars.
Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer
“We are very thankful 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. These are the foundation years and we are very thankful and we want to ensure that these children get the best quality education at this level.”
The facilities, according to the principals, come fully equipped and meet the demands of the preschoolers. Principal Nazira Romero says the donation is invaluable to the community.
Nazira Romero, Principal, Trial Farm Government School
“This building houses two classrooms and it is really beautiful and well-equipped and it is an ideal class that any teacher would long for.”
“We understand that a move was made because there was need for a bigger space to accommodate the volume of students that were coming to the institution.”
“Yes several years ago, I was visited by Doctor Gillett and she saw the overcrowded classroom that housed our then preschool. She encouraged me to write in a letter asking for new classrooms and I am glad that I got more than I asked for. The preschool has two classrooms; they are two large classrooms. It has four bathrooms—two for staff and for the babies, it has bathrooms at their level, at their size and it also has areas in which they can clean up after art. They have new stove and refrigerator and place there for the children to get their healthy snacks.”