(CMR) Discovery Kids has had to close its infant program in the middle of the academic year after the Education Council's 2021 inspection report indicated that the facility did not meet the minimum space to child ratio. The daycare has been operating at its current location with the infant program for the past 11 years but now has to close with little notice to parents.
At least 10 infants and their parents will be adversely impacted by the closure.
The Early Years Inspection Report was published in June and gave the preschool a satisfactory overall mark. However, the staffing and the learning environment were judged as weak. It noted that:
“The premises, although clean and tidy, were too small for the number of children enrolled. This at times, created timetabling and congestion issues. Additionally, timetabling was not always efficient to support learning.”
It noted that Preschool 2 and 3 shared the same room and at times the learning environment became too noisy creating a distraction for learners and this restricted their progress. In this area of the report, it concluded that “the space per child ratios as per the Education Council’s guidelines were not adhered to and this restricted the children’s curriculum options.”
Parents attempted unsuccessfully to intervene by sending around a petition promising to “ensure the space per child ratios are adhered to going forward.” It was unclear how they proposed doing that but the suggestion was that the owners of the facility might be able to find a second location and offer a 7-day program option. It further went on to suggest that the school could have reduced the number of students by the end of the year in the infant program.
However, the management at Discovery Kids has confirmed to CMR that “due to space requirements we made the painstaking decision to close our infant programme.”
They went on to note that infants require the most space and staff because of their “delicate needs” and noted that the number of centers on the island that offer an infant program is dwindling.
“We have offered an infant programme for the past 11 years and this is most tragic for us and our families that depend on us.”
Discover Kids is located in the Sigma Building at the Hospital Road and Smith Road four-way junction. The facility had 111 students enrolled at the time of the inspection and takes infants starting at 4 months.