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Early childhood education, a key strategy towards development

The first five years of a child’s life is of fundamental importance to their development.

According to the Early Childhood Education Officer Dr. Sharon Burns speaking recently to ZJB Radio News, emphasis must be placed on maximizing the potential of young ones.

According to her, the term early childhood education is at times misunderstood. It must feature playing and fun as a means getting messages out. Some parents are of the view that their children are allowed too much recreational activities. However, this strategy is used to promote and allow for more interactive and physical engagement with the young ones. To this end resource personnel were trained, “…encouraging them to use more interactive engaging experiences with the children,” she said.

Dr. Burns was commenting, following the introduction of the Ministry of Education’s new approach to early child hood education system in 2009, after a quality assessment was conducted a report by UNICEF. The report found that teachers were not providing children with concrete educational experiences since then new strategies were developed to educate children including more field trips and encouraging playing in stimulating environment.

This plan of action which entails more play and field trips was not readily accepted by both parents and other stakeholders. Dr. Burns opined that the test of success comes from listening to the children and seeing them in action. “…you would realize that they were developing their vocabulary and they were learning to get along more with other children and even the environment they were learning to respect the things and the people round them,” she said.

Further, she added that the children are to communicate in a fluent manner. She said: “We are seeing progress…they are answering a lot more questions and it’s not just about a yes and no, or one word question. I’m sure if you meet most children under five right now, they’ll be willing to speak to you when you ask then a question they can engage in a conversation.”

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The first five years of a child’s life is of fundamental importance to their development.

According to the Early Childhood Education Officer Dr. Sharon Burns speaking recently to ZJB Radio News, emphasis must be placed on maximizing the potential of young ones.

According to her, the term early childhood education is at times misunderstood. It must feature playing and fun as a means getting messages out. Some parents are of the view that their children are allowed too much recreational activities. However, this strategy is used to promote and allow for more interactive and physical engagement with the young ones. To this end resource personnel were trained, “…encouraging them to use more interactive engaging experiences with the children,” she said.

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Dr. Burns was commenting, following the introduction of the Ministry of Education’s new approach to early child hood education system in 2009, after a quality assessment was conducted a report by UNICEF. The report found that teachers were not providing children with concrete educational experiences since then new strategies were developed to educate children including more field trips and encouraging playing in stimulating environment.

This plan of action which entails more play and field trips was not readily accepted by both parents and other stakeholders. Dr. Burns opined that the test of success comes from listening to the children and seeing them in action. “…you would realize that they were developing their vocabulary and they were learning to get along more with other children and even the environment they were learning to respect the things and the people round them,” she said.

Further, she added that the children are to communicate in a fluent manner. She said: “We are seeing progress…they are answering a lot more questions and it’s not just about a yes and no, or one word question. I’m sure if you meet most children under five right now, they’ll be willing to speak to you when you ask then a question they can engage in a conversation.”