Voices April - September 2023

Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Daycare Centre Marks 30th Anniversary 10 43 April- September 2023 | VOICES Bi- Monthly Magazine of the University of Technology, Jamaica L-R: Miss Michelle Silvera, Supervisor, Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Daycare Centre, Mrs. Cynthia Shako, Professor Colin Gyles, CD, Acting President, University of Technology, Jamaica and Professor Sonia Richards-Malcolm, Acting Dean, College of Health Sciences, participate in the cutting of the Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Daycare Centre’s 30th Anniversary cake at a ceremony held June 9, 2023, Shared Facilities Building, Papine Campus. University of Technology, Jamaica’s Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Daycare Centre marked its 30th anniversary with an afternoon of celebrations and reflections at a special ceremony held June 9, 2023, at the Shared Facilities Building, Papine Campus. Current and past members of staff who served as caregivers over the life of the institution, including pioneer Mrs. Cynthia Shako, after whom the Daycare is named, as well as present and former students, parents, and members of the University community, turned out for the celebratory occasion. Acting President, UTech, Jamaica, Professor Colin Gyles, CD in his greetings, heartily congratulated current and former leadership, and staff on reaching the significant milestone, noting that many individuals have contributed to the growth and development of the Daycare Centre over three decades. Paying tribute to Mrs. Cynthia Shako, who served as Head of Health Services at the former College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), Prof. Gyles stated that “the name Cynthia Shako at UTech, Jamaica is synonymous with a tradition of caring and nurturing,” adding that “through her pioneering work and lobby efforts with then President, Dr. Alfred Sangster, the Centre was established on June 9, 1993 with the mission of operating as a non-profit unit providing full day and aftercare for infants of students and staff.” Affirming that the progress on the Daycare’s mission has been remarkable, Prof. Gyles noted that the Centre was also established as an important practical training ground for students in the Child Care and associated courses of study in the College of Health Sciences. The Acting President also highlighted the historical significance of the current location of the Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Daycare Centre, noting that the building was once the home of the Farm Manager at the Hope Farm School formerly located on the campus and which was a part of the Hope Estate. The Daycare was relocated from its original location next to the Facilities Management Department (FMD), on the campus, in 2012 to its current location in the vicinity of the northern end of the Campus, and was constructed as part of the UTech, Jamaica Enhancement Project. At that time, the name was changed from Cynthia Shako Daycare to Cynthia Shako Early Childhood Education and Daycare Centre, underscoring the Centre’s evolution in keeping with national standards for early childhood education. Mrs. Cynthia Shako in her remarks noted that “Today, I am pleased to say that 30 years after the establishment of this Centre, it is functioning so successfully. It has expanded to serve the needs of the University and it sets an example of what can be done when there is a will.” Guest speaker, Mrs. Heather White, Health Services Manager, UTech, Jamaica Medical Centre, pointed to the Daycare Centre’s continuous journey of excellence, asserting that “The Daycare Centre has thrived because they have never settled for mediocrity. They have always pushed themselves to go above and beyond, seeking new ways to inspire, educate, and nurture the young minds entrusted to their care.”