JIS News

The start of the new academic year should see early childhood practitioners working from a new curriculum in an effort to improve the quality of education in these institutions.
The curriculum, which will be piloted by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), is part of the new requirements of the Early Childhood Act and its Regulations, which will come into effect later this year.
To this end, Resource Education Centre Managers participated in a three-day sensitization workshop, which was organized by the Dudley Grant Memorial Trust in an effort to introduce practitioners to the new curriculum and equip them with new ideas for effective teaching and learning in basic schools across the island.
The three-day workshop, which was recently held at the Starfish Trelawny Resort, saw the participants sharing information through displays from their respective resource centres as well as accessing new information from various presenters.
Consultant for the project, Dr. Rose Davies, told JIS News that the new curriculum was a unique one in that it was designed for children from birth through to five years old and that, for the very first time, there was going to be a curriculum designed for children from zero to three years old.
“It is well known from research that the more stimulating the environment and the experiences that children have and are exposed to, the more likely they are to develop greater brain capacity.
“But also, we know that the quality of our curriculum that is offered in any early childhood programme is a major factor in determining how children develop,” Dr. Davies said, adding that the resource centre officers had an important task in preparing the practitioners and providing them with the training that they need to implement the new curriculum.
She noted that the curriculum, in its new design, would be based on contemporary principles and knowledge about early childhood so as to achieve the desired outcomes in the teaching and learning processes.
“We have certain goals for the children, which we are relating to as the developmental outcomes and we are using the ones that were developed by 19 Caribbean countries, which are called the Caribbean learning outcomes for early childhood,” Dr. Davies added.
The expected outcomes, she said, should see the children developing physically, conveying and receiving information effectively, valuing their culture, excelling academically, showing resilience and learning to respect themselves, others and their environment.
Meanwhile, Manager for the Manchester Resource Centre, Sandra Buchanan-Murray told JIS News that she had benefited greatly from the three-day workshop.
“The new curriculum that will come on stream in September is a very exciting one. For the first time we are seeing where there is a curriculum from birth to three years old. Formerly it was from three to five years old and we see now where caregivers will be guided as to how to stimulate the children because the first years of the child’s life are the most important ones where skills are built, competencies are gained, self esteem is developed and all that the child will need to make him/her a more rounded individual,” she said.
Mrs. Buchanan-Murray added that she was looking forward to working with the practitioners in taking the necessary steps to embrace the positive move for early childhood education. In addition, Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Evadne Vennor told JIS News that the workshop was a success and that the impact of the presentations would help the participants to implement other activities in their centres.
“They come out of this workshop understanding their core functions and how they will relate to the children who are vital in this process and as we move in the transformation, they have learnt from the consultants how the early childhood curriculum is progressing and they are now equipping themselves as to how they will assist in the piloting of this curriculum come September,” Ms. Vennor said.

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