Today’s blog is an interview from Mrs. Simone Ellis-Dixon. She is the Acting Director of the Sector Support Services Department at the Early Childhood Commission.
ECC: Thank you for taking part in this interview and sharing your perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on the ECD sector and the support that your department/unit has been providing.
ECC: Could you kindly provide us with an overview of your Department’s work and how it directly impacts the ECD sector?
SED: The department of Sector Support Services gives support to the physical, psychological, cognitive and social development of children during the period 0-5 years old. We monitor curriculum development, manage and support all early childhood institutions (ECIs). We also deliver in-service seminars and facilitate participation in professional development. The Department consists of a Director for Sector Support Services, Senior Secretary, ECD Supervisors (6) and Early Childhood Development Officers (43).
ECC: How has COVID-19 affected your work in the ECD sector?
SED: COVID-19 has impacted the sector, in that, we are unable to visit and support our ECIs as we would have in the past. Eighty percent of our ECIs are closed so we have to do a lot of virtual visits and meetings.
ECC: What has your Department been doing to support the ECD sector during the pandemic?
SED: With our ECIs closed, they are operating at a loss financially, therefore, we are placing as much practitioners as possible on the salary subsidy payroll so they can receive some financial assistance. We also facilitate curriculum sessions, including, training on how to use the laptop, tablet, phones to execute lessons/ activities. We have been writing weekly activity plans for our parents and have printed copies for some who have internet connectivity challenges. In addition, the ECD Supervisors have bought and prepared care packages for some needy parents.
ECC: What are your hopes for the ECD sector in a post-COVID-19 world?
SED: It is hoped that we continue to work with our practitioners, parents and children and to assist with the transition of children and practitioners returning to face-to-face schooling by providing sanitation items from donor support.