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Fresh start for 67-year-old school

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Fresh start for 67-year-old school

Thursday, November 05, 2020

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BRIDGEVIEW Early Childhood Development Centre, now in its 67th year, is looking to do major upgrades to its facility and move a step closer towards long-awaited certification.

With help from the Rotary Club of East Kingston and Port Royal, the school has tapped into funding through Digicel Foundation’s Build Jamaica grant programme, a release said earlier this week. The project was officially launched on October 22, at the school.

Bridgeview has served the community of Eight Miles in Bull Bay, St Andrew, since 1953. However, like many early childhood institutions across the island, the goal of being certified with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) has been out of reach. The funding acquired will help in the completion of renovation works to meet the ECC’s 12 Standards for Early Childhood Institutions.

“It’s an old building,” said Marion Smith, who currently serves as principal for the institution. Among the renovations she will focus on are the extermination of termites, replacement of damaged wood structures, renovation of the playground, fixing the leaking roof, and refurbishing the bathroom and classroom facilities.

Complying with the ECC’s protocols is a top priority, especially with the current pandemic. Smith and her team have undergone ECC training and have benefited from the distribution of cleaning materials and sanitisers to make the school safe. The Rotary Club reached out to the Digicel Foundation to help the school in beefing up its safety efforts and getting certificated.

“We are big on education, and early childhood education is a critical part of our mandate,” explained president of the Rotary Club of East Kingston and Port Royal Carey Crooks.

These early years are an important step towards primary school and beyond, he noted, pointing out that the club is currently assisting two basic schools and two primary schools in the East Kingston/Port Royal area. He added that the club has more plans to support the surrounding community as its work at the school continues.

“The Rotary has a good outreach history in the community of Bull Bay, and we know that they will support the school beyond our investment,” said Miguel “Steppa” Williams, community development manager at Digicel Foundation.

The foundation’s grant programme is primarily focused on sustainable investment and partners with community groups to ensure that the projects selected can be maintained over the medium and long term.

“Digicel Foundation is always willing to do anything for education, so this is a good fit for us to partner with a group that is invested and willing to go the distance for the Bridgeview Early Childhood Centre,” Williams added.

The Digicel Foundation has renovated six other early childhood institutions over the last four years, in partnership with the ECC, through their education portfolio. In addition, the grant portfolio continues to support schools and other community-led organisations through their Build Jamaica and Mek A Muckle grants.

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