Two pre-schools falling short but parents unaware

| 24/10/2018 | 44 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Two private pre-schools, the first early education centres to be inspected under the new inspection regime, have been graded as weak by the inspection teams but evidence from surveys seems to show that the parents are unaware that the centres are failing to meet the early learning needs of their young children. Two very different pre-schools were inspected recently and the reports published last week show that Bright Start Early Learning Centre and Tiffany’s Pre-School were falling far short in most areas under assessment, from the levels of learning to a lack of resources.

While inspectors found numerous issues at the early learning centres that resulted in both being graded as weak, parents who took part in the surveys believed that their children were doing well at the centres. At Bright Start 88% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the overall quality of education provided, while just 12% said they were not sure. At Tiffany’s 100% of parents said they were satisfied with the level of education provided by the centre.

Although government provides early years education support for some families, most parents are paying for their children to attend pre-schools.

Inspectors said that Bright Start Early Learning Centre, which is located in the Seven Mile Shops plaza, has suffered from significant staff turnover. It promotes itself as following the American National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) curriculum and is still in the process of aligning itself with the Cayman Island Early Years Curriculum. 64% of families are non-Caymanian and most of the children go on to local private schools.

The majority of Tiffany’s children are Caymanian and the pre-school operates in a converted house. It follows the Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum Framework. But inspectors observed a more religious aspect to the nursery, noting that the children had regular opportunities to participate in religious observance and were enthusiastic about their Christian heritage, with several who could recite the Bible verse of the week.

Despite the difference in the schools, inspectors found that the children were safe, well looked after, happy and well nurtured but were not being well served from a learning aspect. At Bright Start the inspection team found that the leaders had not taken steps to check on the quality of teaching and learning in the centre.

The report stated that improvement plans were not based on rigorous self-evaluation and not focused on the impact they would make on children’s learning.

“There had been a high turnover of staff and the expertise of existing staff was not sufficient to deliver the Cayman Islands Early Years Curriculum effectively. Resources provided were ineffective in developing children’s exploration and investigation in many areas of the curriculum,” the inspectors said.

Meanwhile, Tiffany’s was said to lack the capacity to improve without considerable support, with all quality indicators judged to be weak.

“Achievement in the majority of learning outcomes including exploration, respect, communication and well-being was judged to be weak,” the inspectors wrote, adding that teachers did not challenge children as tasks were too easy and not matched to children’s needs.

“Children did not have enough opportunities to satisfy their curiosity. Consequently, they did not learn as well as they should,” the inspectors found. “Leadership was weak because leaders did not evaluate the work of the pre-school in any systematic or rigorous way. They did not have coherent plans to improve the pre-school. They did not hold staff sufficiently to account for their performance.”

The new Office of Education Standards will be continuing its inspections of all schools across Cayman, from early years to high school in both the public and private sectors. All education establishments will be re-inspected within six months if they received a weak grade. Those achieving a satisfactory grade or better will be inspected within two to four years, as required by the current standard timetable.

See both inspection reports and surveys in the CNS Library

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We need to sign a petition for a referendum to stop another unsatisfactory high school. We need a technical and vocational high school. We don’t need another Clifton hunter high school.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Finish all the reviews before you post results. Until you can compare the schools against each other the bit by bit results are meaningless. Regardless of the individual results I don’t think it’s fair to highlight 2 schools when there are countless others remaining to be reviewed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How are the parents unaware? Dont they ask what have they learned today at school or what did they do?

    • Anon says:

      Do you have kids in pre-school? Even now with a 6 & 4 year old, I ask them what did they learn at school today and the response is almost always “nothing” or “nothing much”

      I understand where your comment is coming from, but for kids of that age, you are not going to get much out of them. As long as they are happy and enjoying it, I don’t really mind at that age

      • Anonymous says:

        Touché!

      • Anonymous says:

        I have a 4 year old that goes to St George Pre School and im getting my moneys worth my friend. Everyday he comes home and tells me something new. Im impressed with his teachers. It is also upto to the parents to be involved with the school and know whats happening. Before I signed him up I checked on the Department of Educations website and you can clearly see which schools are not up to par.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like youre one of them lazy “unaware” parents. You would be suprised what a 4 year old and up can learn if taught correctly while having fun. Dont just leave things to teachers, work with them at home to refresh their memory or put something in their head if the school isnt doing it. The primary years are like wet cement, what you let them learn and think now is what will be stuck in their heads for a long time. Yes you may be tired from work and just want to relax some days and make them watch youtube videos but learning is very important and children come first. They are the future.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Educational places must act like families. They can’t tell all their dirty laundry or else no students would want to enroll.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Inspections Unit!! You are making history and a real difference with these excellent inspections and reports. This what we expect from a world class civil service.

  5. Anonymous says:

    But this is the private sector. How could this happen?

  6. Anonymous says:

    A lot of these preschools are just glorified babysitting centers. I don’t know how they get licenses to operate as schools. Its a shame because many people who don’t have options because they have to work and cannot afford better are relying on these institutions to prepare kids for primary. Now I would urge parent to research early learning. The reality is even if a child doesn’t have good preschool tuition, the primary level of education reinforces and uses methods that allow all kids to reach the necessary milestones. If your child doesn’t get good tuition at preschool it does not automatically mean the will fall behind educationally. What it does mean is you are paying for crap and that is sad.

  7. Anonymous says:

    While I can understand that these inspections must take considerable time and planning I don’t see why a grade of satisfactory would warrant inspections again after such a long period. I would think all schools should be given a set of criteria to bring their standards up to and I would hope that satisfactory is not the goal. Lawd help us if it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      ” I don’t see why a grade of satisfactory would warrant inspections again after such a long period.” To ensure they maintain the quality of the education given. Truthfully it should be every year because a lot can happen in 2 – 4 years and then you’d have 2 or 3 generations of children with sub-standard education. Satisfactory should be the minimum and if a school fails this two years in a row then the Ministry of education needs to step in and ask wtf is going on but alas none of that will pass because no one in authority gives af about our children else this would never have been an issue.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Inspectors versus Parents

    Who you believe?

    Parents

    • Anonymous says:

      Please I’m a parent and it makes me laugh when I see children misbehaving ALL the time and their parents will say they are little angels who would never do anything wrong. Byatch please, you’re little hellion acts nice when in eyesight of you.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are pre schools for goodness sake. Let them be…if parents find them satisfactory, so be it. Way too much pressure. When kids stayed home instead of going to pre school (either because mother’s didn’t work, grannie’s helped out, or parents weren’t pressured into socializing their kids), no one inspected. We are spending too much money on inspectors.

      • Anonymous says:

        That comment right there is why John gray and Clifton hunter struggle. Parents say who cares when it comes to their children’s education. If these places just want to provide childcare then don’t call them preschool. Duh.

        • Anon says:

          I would have to differ opinion from you there. In Sweden (i think it is there) children don’t even start going to school until they are 6/7 years old, they don’t even go to preschool and they have some of the most well educated students in the world.

          I believe the poster above is not saying that they don’t care about kids education, what they are saying is, these are kids up to a maximum age of 4, therefore, as long as they are enjoying themselves and are safe, who cares.

          • Anonymous says:

            And then I refer back to my original point of don’t call yourself a preSCHOOL. I agree with not forcing kids to learn structured school stuff that early but if you mislead the parents who want that for their children then good thing these inspectors were there. False advertising.

            Is there an option for just a childcare centre on island or did government already make the rules that every place must have teachers?

          • Anonymous says:

            Correct, that is what I was trying to get across. My daughters didn’t go to pre school and went on to become university educated professionals.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My gosh, the entire education set up of the Cayman Islands is an undeniable failure.

  10. Anonymous says:

    These are not pre-schools. These are baby sitting services for working people with no other choice.

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