June 16, 1993.
New school on creche site
by Martin Glynn
A new pre-school
will soon open in the extensively remodeled premises of the former Civic
Childcare Centre in the Cranmer Centre.
Little but the shell of the old centre remains as renovations continue to
prepare for the opening of Portobelo
Pre-school on July 1.
The former Civic Childcare Centre was at the centre of the long-running
child-abuse trial that resulted in the conviction 10 days ago of a creche
worker on 16 charges.
The new pre-school will cater for up to 30 children aged between one and
five. The children will be supervised by one part-time and three full-time
Measures have been introduced to protect the safety of the children attending
"There's nowhere (in the preschool) that anybody can go without being
seen," said the coordinator, Miss Tessa Grigg. Where possible, doors had
been removed. In the children's bathroom there were no doors on the toilet
Where doors were essential, clear glass was to be fitted to a low level. The
only exception was in the staff bathroom where the toilet doors would be cut
off at the top and bottom.
"All potential staff are being thoroughly checked as to their
suitability and safety with children," she said.
"There will also be a very clear policy as to how children are to be
handled in all situations," Miss Grigg said. For example, staff would
not be able to take children out on their own.
The pre-school had strong management that would ensure staff adhered to
policies, she said.
Parents would have significant input into important decisions made at the
pre-school. They were free to participate in any of its activities, and could
drop in at any time they wished.
Educational Kinesiology or 'brain gym’ would be a major part of the
pre-school's education programme.
It attempts a balance between logical processes that use the left side of the
brain, and creative activities that involve the right side of the brain, Miss
Portobelo Pre-school would also concentrate on
developing children's physical co-ordination.
Miss Grigg believed children with a diverse range of motor skills found
intellectual activities easier to accomplish.
Children would be engaged in structured activities about 30 per cent of the time
and free play for the remainder.
Interest in the school was high and several children had already been
enrolled, she said.