The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce the publication of Bermuda’s first Child Care Standards. The Standards are a working document developed to provide support to our island’s parents, day care providers (persons caring for children in the home) and our day care centres.
Critical brain development occurs in children from 0 to 3 years of age that impacts all their future behaviours and learning abilities. Therefore it is crucial to our next generation to ensure the care they are provided in these early years gives them the best start to the rest of their lives.
Since 1999, Regulations have existed for day care centres. The Children’s Act 1998 speaks to requirements for day care providers, but Standards had not been developed for either in home or centre based setting.
The requirements in these Regulations and Act will remain unchanged, but the Standards will support and expand on the legislation through these best practices standards.
The Standards are one step towards ensuring our infants and toddlers are given a good start to life.
Once the parents return to work, the provider or centre represent the majority of their day and therefore a critical space for their development.
The Standards were developed by a Committee of experts in child care from the Child Development Programme (CDP), Child and Family Services (CFS), SCARS (Saving Children and Revealing Secrets) and the Bermuda Private Nursery Association (BPNA) and were based on best practices from three jurisdictions. The jurisdictions reviewed and incorporated were CARICOM’s Regional Guidelines for Developing Policy, Regulation and Standards in Early Childhood Development Services, the US National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYAC) and US Caring for our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards.
The Standards focus on the key areas of child care. These include: the Provider’s skill sets, professional development, learning and development activities, community, child development observation, supervision and discipline, prohibited behaviours (by providers), children of different needs or abilities, child protection, health and safety, policies and procedures and community relationships. With one document, all agencies involved in the development of our children, from the Government agencies to parents and child care providers, will be clear on what should be expected from them and the best way forward.
The Director of Health, David Kendell said: “The introduction of the child care standards is a crucial event for Bermuda. Raising children is such an important responsibility, yet often we have diverse opinions and approaches. The choir now have the same hymn sheets; these standards codify what are considered “best child care practices”. The Ministry of Health has facilitated the amalgamation of several international standards and has Bermudianized them in consultation with providers and local experts. The next step is for providers, parents and other child care professionals to put the standards into action. It is anticipated that the standards will facilitate the strengthening of the child care community of practice, fortify relationships for training, dialogue, support and learning; all for the benefit of our children. The child care standards are a living document that will be regularly reviewed and updated by the community of practice. I encourage everyone to get a copy, and start using the standards today. I hope that you will agree that the standards have been formatted in a way that makes them easy to read and utilize, and will allow them to function as a handy reference guide.”
The Bermuda Private Nursery Association said: “As an association it is our intention to negotiate on behalf of its members with authorities and other parties in an effort to improve and establish acceptable and workable standards.”
The Director of CDP, Dr. Llewellyn Simmons shared that he believes that if Bermuda is to genuinely treat its children as first class citizens, then it is imperative that Government and citizens of Bermuda will invest in childcare and early childhood education as a central importance to our children’s future development. He said, “These Standards support providers in delivering high quality child care to Bermuda’s children. This is a significant milestone in the Government’s goal to ensuring a strong foundation for all children and their future development.”
Founder and Executive Director of SCARS, Debi Ray-Rivers said: “Every child deserves to be loved and protected, which is why SCARS was involved and supports the development of these critical Standards for Bermuda. It is the hope of SCARS that every individual and organization that is entrusted with the care of children will become certified in sexual abuse protection, will conduct a background check on their employees/volunteers, will do a reference check on each individual and implement a code of conduct that can be shared with their parents”. All of these steps helps in keeping children safe and protected”
The Standards, as well as other resources for providers can be found on our website here: https://www.gov.bm/child-care-information-providers and resources for parents can be found here: https://www.gov.bm/child-care-information-parents
Any questions about the Standards, please contact the Ministry of Health on firstname.lastname@example.org