President Rafael Correa inaugurated the state’s first Childhood Buen Vivir (Good Living) Centre in Stella Maris, near Guasmo Sur in Guayaquil
The building conforms to a new concept of childcare that the government is rolling out. It will provide comprehensive care, including a nursing station, motor skills development, rest areas and recreation development. The centre has space for 60 kids ages 1 to 4.
The centre, named Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, will be staffed by a coordinator, a doctor, six early childhood educators and security guards.
Helen Paredes attended the opening. She said that five years ago, she and her husband were looking for childcare in Guasmo Sur because they both worked. “I didn’t want them just to watch my child, I wanted them to be treated right, given healthy food, and education. But people would tell us that at all the local nurseries children were mistreated.”
She got involved at the old Stella Maris childhood development centre (before the government redesign) and was pleased with its treatment of her children. She says they were taught how to dress themselves, eat and be tidy.
But the new centre will be even more professionalized, she says. The instruction will include early education and healthy eating. There will be spaces for children to do music, dance, theatre, language skills, arts and crafts.
“It’s a new model in childhood development,” said the president at the opening. He said that the era of nurseries run by volunteer mothers, operating without much funding needs to end, and that it put the young ones at risk.
“Here, every child will learn motor skills, expand intellectually, count with nutrition programs and get four meals a day,” he said. Parenting courses will also be offered.
The centre cost $400,000 to build. Over the next four years, the government expects to open 250 similar early childhood education centres around the country.