The Junior Centres officially opened in 1940. The idea for the inception of the Centre came from the great minds of Robert Godwin Beresford Verity, M.B.E., C.D (1912— 1985) and The Honourable Sir Phillip Manderson Sherlock, O.M. (1902 – 2000).
The Centre began with a Library service (the first public lending library for children in Downtown) and formed the nucleus of the Visual and Performing Arts Programmes established at the time. These activities included Dance, Music and Art and Craft. Many years later, another Centre was opened in half Way Tree (now temporarily closed) and a few years later the Greater Portmore Junior Centre.
Operating from these two branches (East Street and Greater Portmore) Visual and Performing Arts Programmes are offered in Dance, Speech and Drama, Papermaking, Art and Craft, Drumming, Sign Language, Music, Needle craft, Guidance and Counselling and Reading. These Programmes form the AfterSchool and Saturday Programmes and are accessible to students ages 6-18 years of age.
Dance item, choreographed by Verman Thomas, Tutor - East Street Junior Centre
In addition to the Programmes offered to the 6-18 years age category; the Advanced Training Opportunities Programme (ATOP) was newly introduced to further encourage artistic creativity and stability in young Jamaicans and as such this Programme is accessible to advanced learners in the arts and students who have passed the age of 18 years. Only drumming and dance are currently available with the ATOP Programme.