'Best Practices' for early childhood

Published: Saturday | January 24, 2009


Teachers in early childhood institutions across Jamaica will now employ industry best practices in the care and development of preschoolers.

This is made possible by the instructions provided by the Best Practices for Early Childhood Development book and supporting CD, which were launched by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) at its downtown Kingston offices on Thursday.

The book is to be distributed to all 3,225 early childhood institutions throughout the country and will serve as a guide to practitioners to improve service delivery by transforming knowledge into action.

self-reflection tool

Designed for practitioners who work with children up to five years old, it can be used as a self-reflection tool as well as for discussions between family members and teachers to ensure high-quality experiences for children.

Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, chairman of the ECC, said the development of the best-practices literature was the first phase of a three-part programme aimed at improving the early childhood education sector.

"This phase sees us addressing three separate aspects of early-childhood development, which are all very critical," said Samms-Vaughan. "It is impossible to address just one aspect of early-childhood development and expect dramatic changes in our children; we had to tackle a number of things," she said.

training for practitioners

The ECC chairman said the next phase would involve the training of early childhood practitioners in the best practices documented in the book.

"Teacher practice and teacher training are critical to the development of the nation's children," she said.

She said further that the other aspects of the project would include special-needs training and improving the utilisation of outdoor play spaces for developmental learning.

The book was developed through the efforts of the Canadian institution, George Brown College, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Commission and a steering committee comprising representatives from several other private and public organisations. Funding was provided by the Canadian International Development Agency.