CHASE Funds New Building for May Pen Infant School

07 Jun, 2022

Educators and students at the May Pen Infant School now have access to a comfortable learning environment, after moving out of an old, termite invested building into a new modern facility.

The changeover follows a generous donation by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund totalling $130 million. The grant covered building and renovation costs for a two-storey building between November 2019 and March 2022.

Principal of the Clarendon based institution, Mrs. Kim-Cay Brown, said in addition to improving students’ attitude towards learning, the school is now better positioned to becoming certified by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).

With the improved physical environment, the school has met building, health, and safety stipulations for children, as well as provide ample space to facilitate student and staff development.

As a result, the school will now be compliant with standard four of the 12 operating standards specified by the ECC.

“I am feeling overjoyed and elated having received this tremendous support from the CHASE Fund for the reconstructions and renovations. Our students are excited about learning in their new environment, and we are looking towards seeing improvements in the end of term assessments coming in December,” Mrs. Brown disclosed.

By the same token, the early childhood intuition has been furnished with safe and child-friendly indoor and outdoor equipment. These, including infrastructure that enable access to students with disability and promote growth among the 240 pupils enrolled at the school.

Together with boosting a safe environment for children, staff and visitors, the infant school has been set in motion to clear operational standards five and eight.

Along with that, the infant school has been enclosed by a new and sturdy perimeter fence that prevents vandalism and unauthorised access. There are now restrooms for students on every block with wheelchair access and a modernised canteen area, which includes a furnished kitchen, pantry, and lunchroom for students and staff.

Additionally, the school now boasts fully furnished and ventilated classrooms and offices equipped with bathroom facilities for the principal, vice principal, and guidance counsellor.

A records room and waiting area have also constructed, while the administrative building has been relocated to the second floor.

“I am also feeling blessed to be the principal. More persons are calling [about] registration and want their children to attend as early as three years old but [they]will have to wait until the child gets to four years old,” the educator said.

Moreover, the school has become a prized possession in the Church Street, May Pen community.

“We have received positive responses from not only students and parents but also teachers and community members. They love the appearance and layout of the facility. They are in awe each time they step foot onto the compound,” Mrs. Brown said.

“The tranquil experience they receive when they walk along the corridors and enter the green space between the two blocks never grows old. The sight is one to behold and visitors do not want to leave when they come to the facility,” she added.

Mrs. Brown is also thankful that the building now conforms to the National Building Code and Jamaica Fire Brigade specifications. She added that the improvements have stirred an increased sense of pride among the school community and resulted in greater parental support.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, W. Billy Heaven, said advancing the infant school is a significant step in the efforts to develop rural Jamaica.

Caption: Chief Executive Officer of the Culture, Heath, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, W. Billy Heaven

The CHASE Fund’s aim is not simply to upgrade existing schools. Through our early childhood programmes, we are hoping to promote improvement in the health, education, and environment of children at the early childhood stage,” he said.

The organisation places emphasis on projects at the critical stages of the early childhood education level.

Projects are focused on building infant schools and resource centres; equipping and upgrading early childhood institutions; [conducting] health screening and providing scholarships for specialist training in Early Childhood Education.