Early child­hood cur­ricu­lum rel­e­vant

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir:

THE EARLY Child­hood Com­mis­sion (ECC) notes Eugenia Robin­son’s con­cerns, pub­lished in a guest col­umn in The Sun­day Gleaner of Septem­ber 25, 2016, about Ja­maica’s early child­hood cur­ricu­lum. We share Mrs Robin­son’s pas­sion for early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and her be­lief in the care that must be taken to nur­ture the in­nate po­ten­tial for learn­ing with which young chil­dren are blessed.

Like all cur­ric­ula, Ja­maica’s is meant as a guide­line. Teach­ers use them to plan the daily ac­tiv­i­ties in their class­rooms. The cur­ricu­lum does not call for rote learn­ing, nor does the ECC re­quire rig­or­ous weekly les­son plans. The cur­ricu­lum is, in fact, filled with sug­ges­tions for the kinds of in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties that Mrs Robin­son ad­vo­cates.

Schools strengthen chil­dren’s cre­ativ­ity when teach­ers have the know-how and train­ing to do so. The more than 2,700 early child­hood in­sti­tu­tions (ECIs) the ECC reg­u­lates vary widely – day-care cen­tres, ba­sic schools, infant de­part­ments, and kin­der­gartens – and that land­scape is pop­u­lated by more than 10,000 teach­ers with vary­ing de­grees of train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence in early child­hood de­vel­op­ment. Cre­at­ing a stan­dard cur­ricu­lum, mak­ing sure all ECIs have them, and train­ing teach­ers in their use, is part of the ECC’s ef­fort to en­sure that all Ja­maican chil­dren have ac­cess to a high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion.

The cur­ricu­lum gives ECIs a frame­work to help chil­dren achieve devel­op­men­tal goals based on the de­sir­able learn­ing out­comes – well­ness, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, valu­ing cul­ture, in­tel­lec­tual em­pow­er­ment, re­spect for self, oth­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment, and re­silience.

REL­E­VANT MILE­STONES

It gives prac­ti­tion­ers in­for­ma­tion on the devel­op­men­tal mile­stones rel­e­vant to the age of the chil­dren in their care, con­cepts, con­tent, sug­gested learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, and strate­gies, how to record chil­dren’s progress, and how to in­volve parents. The cur­ricu­lum also recog­nises the im­por­tant role of play, sched­ules, rou­tines and rit­u­als in young chil­dren’s learn­ing.

The cur­ricu­lum falls un­der one of 12 stan­dards on which the ECI mon­i­tors early child­hood in­sti­tu­tions. It also mon­i­tors their phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment, en­sur­ing that each is child-cen­tred and safe, as well as en­sur­ing that chil­dren have ac­cess to toys and re­sources that pro­mote learn­ing and dis­cov­ery.

We en­cour­age all parents of chil­dren up to age six and ad­vo­cates of early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion to be­come fa­mil­iar with the 12 stan­dards re­quired for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of all early child­hood in­sti­tu­tions and to read the early child­hood cur­ricu­lum and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing re­source book. The lat­ter has ac­tiv­i­ties that parents can use at home. All ma­te­ri­als are avail­able on the ECC’s web­site at ecc.gov.jm. MICHELLE CAMP­BELL Di­rec­tor, ECC

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