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Day Care Centre Preps for Opening

In anticipation of its first intake of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, the staff of the Margaret Rose Arthur Day Care Centre is working to ensure that the facility is safe and the environment conducive to meeting the needs of every child.

The facility will provide comprehensive care for soldiers’ children, and, according to Administrator, Ms. Shauntel Maloney, the intention is to have both staff and parents share in the responsibility of ensuring each child’s achievements and development are at their highest. The centre will soon be officially opened.

The building can accommodate up to 30 children but the initial intake will be 25. Already, application forms have been distributed for interested soldiers across the Force. However, admission will be based on a set of criteria. Ms. Maloney explained that, foremost, is the fact that at least one parent of the child must be a soldier and, only one child per family will be accepted into the centre. The stipulated age range for the children is between the ages of three months and three years nine months.

Once the application forms are submitted, parents who satisfy the criteria will be contacted. The child must undergo a medical check-up by the Force Medical Officer. The Administrator also indicated that, initially, parents will be expected to provide meals for their children.  

Looking ahead, she explained that there are plans for the centre to eventually look into the provision of healthy meals for the children. “We want to push the

whole notion of only nutritional meals for children and so this is a long term plan,” she said.

Caregiver Vashti Wilkinson is actively engaged in designing various Learning Aids and creating various activity corners for the children. Lesson plans  have also been designed to be used in      preparing the pre-schoolers for onward learning.

“We want to ensure that this centre is one where the children do not only come to play, but one where we ensure that their activities are meaningful, so that we see the developmental aspects coming out of everything that we do with them,” Maloney said. She further emphasised that parents will be expected to play an active role in observing what goes on at the centre ensuring that the appropriate facilities are available. They shall also be expected to work with the staff  to ensure that their children get the best of care. She acknowledged that many soldiers have been     enquiring about a night service, saying that some consideration may be given to that enquiry in the future. When it becomes operational, the Centre will be open on Mondays to Fridays from 0715 hours to 1700 hours. It will be closed during weekends, on all public holidays, during the Christmas week and the first week in September. The monthly cost to parents with children registered at the Centre will be $2,000.

The Force’s provision of Day Care services is the realisation of the dream of many of its former and serving members. The Centre was constructed in 2010 and was commissioned during the Force’s 45thAnniversary celebrations in 2011.