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Out of a personal struggle, Pearl Goodridge has touched the lives of hundreds of Barbadians with her Partners In Parenting (PIP) Nursery and Pre-School, located at Cheapside, The City. It was while she was living in England, faced with five children to raise, this mother saw the necessity to get professional training to aid her in that process. “I realized that I needed to know more than just the ordinary way to look after my children, I wanted professional training. I went and studied early childhood development. It was so interesting I went and did the advanced course which taught me how to deal with children from birth to age 11. “I learnt how play can stimulate children, psychological development in children. I was able to have my own day nursery with my children. Not only did I enjoy the course, but I saw a difference between my children in their development and training,” Goodridge told the MIDWEEK NATION. Today’s Wednesday Woman returned to Barbados in 1988 and took up the post of human resources manager with Caribbean Data Services (CDS) on the Harbour Road. And it was there that PIP was conceptualized. “The young ladies working at CDS had to come to me because of absences, performance or general problems. I found that a lot of them had young children and lived away from Bridgetown and one of the main reasons they were absent was because the child was sick and they had no one to babysit or the nursery in their area was not open.” After much contemplation, she resigned from CDS and went to America and Canada to do research on child care, development and early childhood education. In 1991, she returned to Barbados and contacted the relevant authorities at the Child Care Board seeking permission to open the centre. PIP was born, a birth which became a blessing to many of those young women Goodridge dealt with and many more. “My first intake of ten babies and young children under three came from the girls at CDS. Then the word spread, and I started to get babies from persons working in The City. “People coming from the north, going to the north and other areas, dropped off their children. The centre was like an intransit point because it was easily accessible,” said the delighted St James resident. Once a child enters her doors, the managing director said they were exposed to basic learning, standard principles in behaviour, freedom to express themselves in a positive light and the will to play in a friendly environment. And as the name states, partnering with parents was paramount. “I feel very good because I can go anywhere in Barbados and see parents or children who came to my day care. I went over and above the open hours, keeping children because their parents couldn’t come for them on time. For a period of time, I even used to keep children at my home on weekends and bank holidays.” PIP celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and although some of the children who would have attended PIP are currently attending primary, secondary and tertiary institutions or are in the world of work, they make time to drop in at PIP and look up their “Auntie Pearl”. That gives Goodridge a satisfactory feeling and sense of honour. “To celebrate this achievement, PIP will be having a reunion fair on Saturday on the nursery grounds for past and present students and their parents. “I want my babies who are now grown up to come back and see their handprints and photographs of them during different activities on display.” She is now 72, semi-retired and getting ready to hand over the management of the nursery to her two daughters. But not fully. Goodridge will still have her say. “PIP will always be in my heart and I will still have a say in how it is run, ensuring that it maintains its initial objectives,” Goodridge declared.