Basseterre, St. Kitts – Just as the case in many years prior, hundreds of children and parents took to the streets of Basseterre Friday to participate in the annual Child Month march staged as the culminating activity for the month-long celebration.

The theme for 2017’s Child Month was “For Every Child, Early Moments Matter” and placed focus on the importance of early childhood education.

This time, however, the marchers followed a brand new, shorter route than the traditional, starting at Warner Park before heading west on Cayon Street, then down Church Street, east along Liverpool Row, up Fort Street, east along Cayon Street, down West Independence Square and ending at Independence Square.

Sporting aqua blue T-shirts, the young marchers made their way through the streets, some decked in unique accessories matching their parents and school mates as they ensured their presence was felt in the whole of Basseterre. The police junior drum corps and two hi-fi systems provided lively entertainment for the thousands of participants. The hi-fi systems belted out nursery rhymes to soca beats, while some popular gospel selections to up-tempo rhythms had many of the participating adults dancing and waving as they wound through the streets. There was also a float depicting the importance of early childhood development present.

Following the march, the children spent the remainder of the day with their friends and teachers at Independence Square.

Speaking after the march, the acting director of early childhood, June Wallace, said, “We had representatives from all the early childhood centres in St. Kitts and  Nevis. The turnout was very good. The theme is promoting early brain development and early stimulation and also focuses on early nutrition and early nurturing of children. Early nurturing means that you want the best child you can have. With early nurturing, you will be able to prevent certain woes if you don’t have early stimulation.”

She then explained the main aim of the early childhood unit was to advocate for children.

”In our early childhood unit, we have day-care centres, nurseries and in the early childhood unit what we do is we train and we advocate on behalf of children,” she said. “That is why we will have this march. Every year we have a different theme and the theme is encouraging teacher’s parents and the community to stand with us and instil certain values, basic things that we think that are very important so that a child can grow in a way that they should.”

The month of activates also saw a concert, a sports day, a football festival and a boat ride.