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Director/Principal, National College for Educational Leadership’s (NCEL), Dr. Taneisha Ingleton.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • Persons interested in being a part of the third cohort of participants in the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) Jamaica leadership online training course, are being invited to submit their applications between April 1 and 15.
  • The application form is available online at the College’s website, www.ncel.gov.jm. The institution will provide the password and requisite credentials to enable applicants to do the course online.
  • Child-Friendly Schools promote inclusive access and equal rights of every child; provide healthy, clean, secure and enabling environments; and produce literate, confident and critical thinkers who are more aware of healthy lifestyle choices and more resilient in the face of emergencies.

Persons interested in being a part of the third cohort of participants in the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL) Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) Jamaica leadership online training course, are being invited to submit their applications between April 1 and 15.

The application form is available online at the College’s website, www.ncel.gov.jm. The institution will provide the password and requisite credentials to enable applicants to do the course online.

Child-Friendly Schools promote inclusive access and equal rights of every child; provide healthy, clean, secure and enabling environments; and produce literate, confident and critical thinkers who are more aware of healthy lifestyle choices and more resilient in the face of emergencies.

The CFS programme supports the NCEL’s drive to strengthen school leadership and management for the creation of more child-friendly spaces.

The programme targets school leaders from infant, primary and secondary public schools in the Education, Youth and Information Ministry’s six regions.

Director/Principal of NCEL, Dr. Taneisha Ingleton, tells JIS News that the initiative was successfully piloted between December 2019 and January 2020, during which 27 participants completed the programme.

She says their feedback was positive, with many of them indicating that the modules exposed the school leaders to innovative educational resources and reinforced traditional principles of the teaching-learning process.

Dr. Ingleton notes that there have been many expressions of interest by school leaders desirous of implementing this model at their institutions.

“Principals are central to the efficient operations of schools and the performance of students. Anything NCEL does is to ensure that our Principals are equipped with the requisite skills and competencies to lead high performing schools,” she points out.

The NCEL Director adds that “this particular course will help educators to transform their physical school environment and classrooms to encourage engagement”.

“The modules in this course will help them to [facilitate] gender-based engagement and democratic participation. It will also help them to make intentional attempts to inculcate in the pre-service teachers and the in-service teachers the disposition that they need to promote highly effective child-friendly schools,” she further states.

Dr. Ingleton says the online nature of the programme aims to encourage school leaders to embrace the digital education landscape, while ensuring universal access to this important resource.

“We are in a digitally driven environment. Leadership is important, but we have to see how much we can move the developmental process out of the closed spaces. We have to try to find ways to reach them anywhere they are at any time, because leadership is ongoing,” she explains.

Dr. Ingleton argues that developing a course that is digital in nature which the participants can access at any time and in any space, “will create more buy-in for us in terms of where the world is going”, adding that “that is important in terms of access”.

She tells JIS News that several school leaders from the pilot group are actively implementing the programme’s strategies at their CFS-certified schools and have already reported positive outcomes.

Principal of Upper Rock Spring All-Age and Infant School, Faithlyn Walters-Meylor, says the course was very informative and insightful.

Among the initiatives she has, so far, implemented is beatification of the school’s premises with the establishment of a peace garden and a wellness centre for students and staff.

“It was hands on and practical and I could relate to the content. There are a lot of things I plan to implement as a result of my involvement in the CFS. We have counselling sessions with the children; when we do these sessions, we take them to the peace garden. It has improved the children’s behaviour,” she says.

Mrs. Meylor says the programme has improved her leadership style and empowered her to be a better principal as it relates to creating a safe and friendly environment for children and staff.

“What you gain from it is, it gives me a sense of pride and achievement. The reaction to these initiatives that are being implemented in the school is positive. Everyone is excited about it and [it] gives a positive spirit in the community,” she shares.

For his part, Principal of Seaside Primary School, Adli Lewis, says the course was enlightening and brought back some essential details that are key in ensuring children maximise their fullest potential in their educational development.

“We know these things. They are not generally new things, but the course helps to place them into perspective. They are categorized and the body of knowledge is presented in such a way that we recall these important training material and implement them,” he points out.

Among the CFS strategies being implemented at the school is a review of the teaching- learning methodologies to ensure that these are student-centred lessons that promote inclusivity of all children, regardless of their learning abilities.

“We have staff development sessions to delve deeper into how we can make our lessons more student-centred. We are coming from an age where we have a lot of teacher-centred lesson styles where we lecture. We have to move away from that,” M. Lewis points out.

Other improvements include the installation of a gate as part of the enhanced safety and security mechanisms, which will see a perimeter fence being erected.

Mr. Lewis encourages other school leaders to participate in the online training programme, which incorporates several assessments that must be completed prior to a course certificate being issued.

The modules include: Responding to Emergency and Conflict Situations, Learning and Teaching II, the Learning Environment – Health Issues and Controls, the Learning Environment – Managing Students’ Behaviours, Inclusivity and Gender Sensitivity, School Community Links II, CFS Design and Construction, Education Policy and Scaling Up.

Course resources include videos, local and international policy documents, sample lesson plans, manuals and photographs. The material is available to school leaders free of cost.

The content was crafted in collaboration with the Curriculum and Support Services Unit and the Media Services Unit in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

The CFS Jamaica programme is the local component of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) CFS Global initiative which supports the development of an online course for the principals to learn about CFS and best practices for making schools child-friendly.

It trains school leaders in the application of CFS principles to guide school design and construction; the principles of child-friendly schools; key characteristics of child-centred pedagogy; positive behaviours and a safe school environment; and leadership in child-friendly schools.

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