The James A. Pinder Primary Pre-school in Sandy Point was commissioned on March 12. The opening ceremony began with an opening prayer followed by an outstanding recitation of Proverbs 22:6 by Brenasia Strachan, a pre-schooler.
After a hearty welcome by the pre-schoolers, Former Deputy Director of Education Dr. Cecil Thompson was called on by District Superintendent of Education Dr. Lenora Black to make brief remarks.
In his remarks, Dr. Thompson referred to a quote that suggested that the best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago, and the second best time was that day. He outlined the strides made in education over the years in establishing pre-schools.
The first of the pre-schools was established in 1989 under the Hon. Paul Adderley followed by the Hon. Alfred Sears where Dr. Thompson indicated that more preschools were established under his leadership than all of the ministers of the Department of Education between 1989 to 2002.
Special recognition was also given to Agatha Archer, former Assistant Director of Education as well as Carnetta Ferguson. Dr. Thompson ended by commending the ministry on what it is doing in preschool and special education.
The school choir entertained the audience with a rendition of “I Know Who I Am.”
The next speaker was MP for North Abaco Renardo Curry, who spoke about the government fulfilling its mandate to ensure that students have an advantage and become productive citizens.
As the keynote speaker, the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, offered his observations regarding the establishment of pre-schools throughout country. His plan is to introduce a new Education Act before he leaves office. Additionally Minister Fitzgerald said he wants to lower the age of entry for students to the age of 4.
Through the recent commissioning of four new pre-schools in The Bahamas, 200-300 seats are expected to open up by Sept 2016 to accommodate the pre-school students. At the time consideration was given to opening the pre-school at Sandy Point, Minister Fitzgerald said he was told that the school could manage to obtain eight or nine students.
The J.A. Pinder pre-school opened with 19 students.
“The whole school has a population of 48; half of the school is the pre-school,” he observed. “I’m elated about the priority to education in all levels and Early Childhood Education.
“The pre-schools are being developed to become the backbone of education in our country with cutting edge and best practices, and South Abaco is deserving of a pre-school unit.”
He commended parents and teachers for their role in education noting that their roles are critical to the success of students.
Dr. Black acknowledged past educators of J.A. Pinder who sat in the audience as well and they were applauded as they stood to be recognized. The ceremony ended with the unveiling of the J.A. Pinder Pre-School Plaque and a tour of the pre-school facilities.